After reviewing and reading several books, I came across several important books that were repeatedly mentioned by entrepreneurs and marketers. Following are the top 31 books that are recommended, according to their usages.
BOOKS FOR FINDING AND TESTING BUSINESS IDEAS
Building a business from scratch is often the hardest aspect and finding what is your first product/service can be hard. To better understand how to build, test and scale your business model, I highly recommend reading these books.
- Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Eric Ries is the founding father of the “Lean startup” idea and motivating many entrepreneurs to develop the fastest way to build a startup. You have to pivot, fail early and utilize a set of proven process. Learn about the Lean Startup from Eric Ries.
- The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
- The Business Idea Factory: A World-Class System for Creating Successful Business Ideas by Andrii Sedniev
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferris became an international sensation after publishing this book, providing researched documents and interviews of many athletes. This book drives to improve both mental and physical capability of a human, so as to improve your potentials as a future business leader.
- Rework by Jason Fried
STRATEGY BOOKS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
At the core of every startup and entrepreneurs is the ultimate strategy.
- The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Strategies for Continuously Creating Opportunity in an Age of Uncertainty by Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian MacMillan
- The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup by Noam Wasserman (2013 Edition)
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter Drucker
- The Sources of Innovation by Eric von Hippel (1994 Edition)
- Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage by Michael Porter
(Competitive Strategy shows how you can analyze your industry and competitors, while Competitive Advantage focuses on developing competitive product/service strength that differentiates your product from similar competitive products.
- Getting real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application by Jason Fried
For those of us who want to build an IT Startup, this will show what tools can implemented. (Hint: There are five major IT framework system used and more than 500,000 people use them to build amazing IT softwares with increased efficiency.)
- Do More Faster: Techstar lessons to accelerate your startup by David Cohen and Brad Feld (Tech Star is one of the well-known VC funded bootcamps for early entrepreneurs. Tech Star has previously invested in Twilio, UBER and several other IT IPOs companies in their early seed funding stage.)
MARKETING BOOKS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
How do you find a product market fit? Which advertising channels are most efficient? What do customers really want? These are few of the most important questions related to marketing covered in these two books:
- The Marketing Playbook by John Zagula and Richard Tong
- The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki
SALES BOOKS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
If you are becoming an entrepreneur, the first rule is to know how to sell yourself. Without knowing how to create revenue or raising funds, you will have a hard time becoming successful entrepreneurs. Sales can be scary, but you can learn to improve and persuade by understanding few great tips from top sales gurus.
- Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler (I highly recommend reading this book if your company is stuck in between the early adopters and majority follower market cycle.)
- What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story by Michael Bosworth, Ben Zoldan, and Michael T. Bosworth
- Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets by Michael Bosworth
- The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing: A Guide to Growing More Profitably by Thomas Nagle, John Hogan, and Joseph Zale
FINANCE & ACCOUNTING BOOKS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Not everyone is fond of accounting or finance, but both are necessary tools. Without knowing accounting, you will have a hard time knowing when you need more fund and how long you can last with VC funds. Every entrepreneur should at least understand the basic accounting principles. Here are some awesome books on understanding accounting, corporate finance as well as mergers & acquisitions.
- Investment Banking: Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts, and Mergers and Acquisitions by Joshua Rosenbaum and Joshua Pearl
- Accounting Made Simple: Accounting explained in 100 pages or less by Mike Piper
- Term Sheets & Valuations: A Line by Line Look at the Intricacies of Term Sheets & Valuations by Alex Wilmerding
BOOKS ON STARTUP LAW
If you start your company, you will have tons of legal stuff to consider. What type of legal entity should I use? Do I need a patent for that? Should I protect my brand name? These books shall help you find the right solution for your business.
- The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Law by Constance E. Bagley and Craig E. Dauchy
BOOKS ON VENTURE CAPITAL
When running a startup, you might need some external financing for your startup. Venture capitalists provide cash, advice, and contacts. But there are also pitfalls with using a venture capitalist. Learn the most important concepts used in venture capital and the do’s and don’ts so you are prepared for raising money.
- The Entrepreneurial Bible to Venture Capital by Andrew Romans
- Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms by Jeffrey Bussgang
- Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson, and Dick Costolo
BOOKS ON CULTURE AND HUMAN RESOURCES
Many of you start the first company with your friends or family members. But soon, you will realize that you will need some employees as workload and funding increases. At this point, it is important to build your company culture to attract and retain talent. These and more related topics are covered in the following books.
- The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First by Jeffrey Pfeffer
- Strategic Human Resources: Frameworks for General Managers by James N. Baron and David M.Kreps
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
BOOKS ON STARTUP STORIES
If you want to learn how other successful entrepreneurs made it or what mistakes other entrepreneurs did, then these books are a must-read:
- Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School by Richard Branson
- The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau