While not every book on this list falls under the “business book” category, these are the best books for entrepreneurs.
Business isn’t just about numbers, sales, and customers.
The most important parts of building a business have nothing to do with the actual business itself. Good business owners have the right mindset, manage their emotions well, and can delay gratification.
This list of books for entrepreneurs includes a variety of titles. Keep reading for hardcore tactical books, self-improvement staples to keep you motivated, and a few bird’s eye view philosophical titles that will help you see the whole playing field.
Here are the best books every entrepreneur should read
$100m Offers: How to Make An Offer So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No By Alex Hormozi
Alex Hormozi has been taking the internet by storm. He’s known for actionable advice on social media, and “$100m Offers” is his crown jewel. It has 5,000+ reviews without a single one or two-star review. It’s that good.
People love his content because one hundred percent of it comes from experience instead of theory. He started his entrepreneurial journey by opening up his own gym.
He eventually opened six locations and sold them all. Next, he began traveling the country and helping other gym owners launch their gyms. Finally, he created digital coaching and licensing program called Gym Launch that helped him net a cool $100 million.
He currently runs a portfolio of companies doing $85 million per year in revenue.
Some of the biggest lessons I learned from the book are:
- Find every single barrier to your potential customer’s success and create solutions for every single problem. Turn those solutions into the ad copy for your product or service.
- Your job isn’t to get people to buy; it’s to get them to make a decision one way or the other.
- Expect people to say no upfront and have a plan to overcome their objections.
- If your price doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, it’s not high enough.
- You can charge high prices by creating tons of value. Solutions, bonuses, anything that makes your product or service easy to use.
- Give your products, features, and bonuses catchy names.
Instead of reading new business books, I’ll be re-reading “$100m Offers” ten times. Start with this one.
Rich Dad Poor Dad By Robert Kiyosaki
This book is like a gateway drug for entrepreneurs.
I first read it in college. I started reading it in the evening. Next thing you know, it was 2 a.m., and I still hadn’t stopped reading. Above all else, this book taught me one valuable lesson:
If you want to get rich, you need assets.
An asset is something that continues to pay you over and over and over again. Take my books, for example. I write them once, and sales continue to roll in.
He uses his “two dads” to portray people’s contrasting mindsets about money. His poor dad is his actual dad, a professor with an employee mindset. His rich dad was his friend’s father, an entrepreneur.
There are several juxtapositions shown in the book. Rich Dad took Robert in as an intern of sorts but didn’t pay him any money. Poor dad told him to demand a decent wage.
Rich dad taught him one of my favorite lessons from the book, which I’ll use to kick off the list:
- Work to learn, not for money. Too many people seek immediate rewards for their effort and miss out on the long-term payday you get from learning profitable skills for the sake of learning the skills.
- Rich people use money from assets to buy luxuries, e.g., investment profits. Poor people buy luxuries with income and debt.
- Working for yourself doesn’t make you a business owner. Having a business that runs without you needing to be there constantly does.
- Single-family homes are liabilities, not assets. They’re liquid, don’t pay you cash, and take money out of your account monthly.
- Cash flow is king. You want money coming in every month, period.
Relentless: From Good, to Great, to Unstoppable by Tim Grover
I added this book because it will make you feel like you can conquer the world.
Tim Grover trained Michael Jordan. He also trained other uber-successful athletes like Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade. This book talks about the relentless attitude required for athletic success and applies that concept to anyone who wants to achieve anything of consequence.
In short, win for the sake of winning. Once you win, get right back to work to hit the next milestone. Never be satisfied with any of your accomplishments and keep pushing.
Relentlessness is this almost psychopathic attitude of top performers like Michael Jordan or Tom Brady. Most people look at their success and say, “Isn’t that enough winning?”
They don’t get it.
They don’t get it because they’re not cleaners.
In the book, Tim categorizes people as one of these three archetypes:
- Coolers – Bystanders, benchwarmers, role players.
- Closers – They can step up in big moments, but only if the conditions are right. They’re stars, but not superstars.
- Cleaners – They’re the ones at the end of the game who say, give me the ball and get the f*** out of the way. They rise to the challenge every single time and have zero fear of failure.
You can find cleaners everywhere, not just in sports. Often, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to become a cleaner. Most people fail at business not due to a lack of intelligence but because they don’t have a high enough stress tolerance to get the job done.
Here are the 13 Rules to Becoming Relentless:
- You keep pushing yourself harder when everyone else has had enough.
- You get into the Zone, you shut out everything else, and control the uncontrollable.
- You know exactly who you are.
- You have a dark side that refuses to be good.
- You’re not intimidated by pressure; you thrive on it.
- When everyone is hitting the “In case of emergency” button, they’re all looking for you.
- You don’t compete with anyone, you find your opponent’s weakness, and you attack
- You make decisions, not suggestions; you know the answer while everyone else is still asking questions.
- You don’t have to love the work, but you’re addicted to the results.
- You’d rather be feared than liked.
- You trust very few people, and those you trust better never let you down.
- You don’t recognize failure; you know there’s more than one way to get what you want.
- You don’t celebrate your achievement because you always want more.
Zero to One: A Note on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel is just mentally on a different level than pretty much all other human beings. He says things I’ve just never heard another human being say before, and I could listen to him talk all day long. He’s one of the most interesting thinkers I’ve ever come across.
He challenges you to be bold and always tries to look far into the future. Safe to say, he’s been successful as far as future thinking goes. He co-founded PayPal with Elon Musk. He was an early private investor in Facebook. And he’s also helped start other billion-dollar companies like Palantir.
The book targets people who want to start unicorn venture-backed companies, but the lessons still apply to any sort of entrepreneur, and the book has a ton of insights that are just fascinating.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorites:
- Don’t compete, create a (natural) monopoly: Competition isn’t good for business. It eats profits and creates a race to the bottom. Instead, to build a natural monopoly — a product with such a deep moat that others can’t compete. Think Google.
- Definite optimism: Definite optimists have a long-term plan for the future they execute and never waver from. Steve Jobs comes to mind, creating the iPod, iPad, and iPhone over the span of a decade. This goes against the thinking that you should build a minimum viable product and “iterate your way to success.” And the idea that you should listen to customers at all. Make what they don’t yet know they want.
- Optionality is mediocrity: He makes the argument that trying to be well-rounded and keeping every option open kills long-term success. He argues that when it comes to your career and business, you should hyper-focus on one area for a long time.
- Zero to one: Going from zero to one means you create “vertical technological progress”—meaning you create something unique that never existed before. He argues that, outside of information technology, we’ve made little to no tech progress in the past few decades.
- Answer this question: What important truth do you disagree with most people on? His answer is that vertical technological progress is the answer to a better future, not globalism that continues to copy what already works.
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgensen
Naval Ravikant is the godfather of Twitter “fortune cookie” wisdom.
He writes these short and profound snippets of wisdom that go crazy viral on Twitter. Like Alex Hormozi, he truly earned the right to share his insights.
In 1999 Ravikant founded Epinions, a consumer product review site. By 2003, the firm had been taken over by DealTime and eventually evolved into Shopping.com. This website debuted on the market in 2004 and was worth $750 million after the first day of trading. (source)
He’s since become an angel investor.
His philosophy is simple. You can have wealth and happiness at the same time. Win the money game so you no longer have to play the money game. Win the career game so you no longer have to play the career game. Achieve worldly success and scratch the itch so you no longer have to think about it.
You’ll want to get these insights straight from the horse’s mouth.
- “Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.”
- “Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, mathematics, and computers.”
- “Wealth is assets that earn while you sleep.”
- “Pick an industry where you can play long-term games with long-term people.”
- “Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself.”
Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Peter D Kauffman
I suspect the title of the former was swiped from this book because the concept is exactly the same: collect, categorize, and interpret the wisdom of a wise entrepreneur.
Charlie Munger is common sense personified.
He focuses on avoiding ignorance and stupidity instead of trying to be smart. Instead of being good at everything, he mostly avoids fields he doesn’t understand.
He and his business partner, Warren Buffet, spend the vast majority of their time saying no to opportunities and betting heavily when they finally find one with true promise.
They famously held large cash reserves while everyone was frothing at the mouth during the stock market and crypto frenzy of 2020-2021. With equities currently in the toilet, they’ve started buying assets.
Patience, diligence, prudence, impulse control, decision making, delayed gratification, long-term thinking, and knowledge accumulation—these words describe the philosophy of Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet.
My favorite quote from the book:
Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Systematically you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. Nevertheless, you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day—if you live long enough—most people get what they deserve.
The best lessons from the book:
- If you know the incentive, you know the outcome: Incentives, above all else, drive behavior. Understanding incentives is as close as you can get to predicting the future.
- Play games you can win: It’s much easier to be the best plumber in Bemidji than it is to become a tennis pro. Find your competitive edge. Tap into your strengths. Compete with idiots.
- Build a lattice-work of mental models: You can out-compete people who are highly intelligent—but only smart in one field—by knowing a little about a lot. Have a college freshman understanding of many subjects.
- Become a life-longer learner and read tons of books: As Charlie said, “Those who keep learning, will keep rising in life.”
- Wait for the fat pitch: Ted Williams famously batted .400 because he mostly avoided swinging at any pitches that weren’t in his sweet spot for hitting. Be patient enough to wait for monumental opportunities.
Books on their own do nothing
You shouldn’t treat reading like a sport.
Instead of reading the 100 best books for entrepreneurs just to say you’ve read 100 books, read one book. Implement the advice in that book before moving on to the next one.
Books, if used wisely, can change your life.
Take the knowledge and use it to build the business of your dreams.