Top 10 books that should be on every start-up entrepreneur’s bookshelf!

Top 10 books that should be on every start-up entrepreneur’s bookshelf!

Did you know that that only 9 per cent of entrepreneurs have a degree in business?  Most skills that businessmen and entrepreneurs acquire are through experiences and of course, from the best books for start-up entrepreneurs. If you are a self-taught entrepreneur, you know what we are talking about! So if you are someone new with a lot of passion but no or very less knowledge about the technicalities of doing business, Don’t worry. We at BookArt101 have got you covered! This list of the best books for start-up entrepreneurs also come in handy for people who may not be entrepreneurs but wish to learn the necessary skills without a lot of investment. 

1.The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

If you are one of those who need a little nudge and push to act on their business idea, the $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is for you. The $100 Startup acts as a Self-help book for transforming ideas into something that makes money. Chris Guillebeau not only provides accounts of people who started with meagre incomes and made successful businesses but also includes practical advice for customer satisfaction and personal growth, making it one of the best books for start-up entrepreneurs.

Published in 2012, with short but inspirational anecdotes, reality checklists and tidbits of knowledge regarding startups, it instils in you the desire to act now. But, if you are someone who has already initiated a startup and is looking forward to something about practical solutions to new obstacles, you might want to continue reading. 

One of the most famous concepts of the book include the concept of selling the fish. Teaching someone to fish might be a good philosophical idea but it surely doesn’t help build the business. Sometimes you just need to sell the fish and be selfish!   

2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup is a realistic book dealing with different problems and their innovative solutions. Though the book drives examples heavily from software and technology startups, this book holds knowledge true to all startups and even established companies looking to expand. 

Published in 2011, the book is divided into three parts: Vision, Steer, Accelerate and deals with a scientific approach to create and manage startups. Because Ries often speaks from his personal experience, his approach has the authenticity that feels relatable and his words are simple yet enriching to the reader. This one is a must-read for the entrepreneurs.

Validated Learning, Innovation Accounting and Minimal Viable Product are among some of the most famous concepts of ‘Lean Startup’, making it one of the best books for start-up entrepreneurs.  

3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Much like the typography on the cover of the book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is rough. It deconstructs the image of a CEO in your head. Horowitz humanises them as people with family and insecurities facing the burden of responsibilities. 

Published in 2014, The initial chapters deal with tips for startups and Ben’s background whereas the later chapters deal with specific industry-related stories and how to tackle difficult situations when you are a CEO.  A greater chunk of the book deals with problems related to established businesses but having said that one has to accept that startup entrepreneurs reading it are likely to get a good heads up on the problems that they may face. Needless to say, they are followed by solutions in a humorous and conversational tone. 

One thing that makes this book different from the other best books for start-up entrepreneurs is a dash of empathy that gets quoted which usually doesn’t make it to the business books. 

4. Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

‘Who’ by Geoff Smart and Randy Street is a good read for people who are just starting their companies and are very likely to hire other people. These could be your core team or other workers. Reading ‘Who’ will give you a fair idea of the importance of hiring and how to do it right. 

Published in 2008, the book is laced with examples and pointers on how to hire the right people. Some of the tips in the book ‘Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street’ come in handy while screening and interviewing and saves you a lot of negative energy and wastage of resources that otherwise may have followed. If you are looking to build a team, this one is for you!

One of the most famous concepts of the book include hiring A level players.  You will need to read the book to find out more!

5. The E myth revisited by Michael E. Gerber

Standing true to its name, The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber deals with misconceptions regarding entrepreneurs. This one among the other best books for start-up entrepreneurs aims, particularly at small business owners and startups. Gerber beautifully differentiates between self-employed jobs and businesses, giving startup Entrepreneurs good tips on how to build successful businesses.

Published in 1985, The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber is sprinkled with fictitious tales to hammer in the author’s main point. If you are someone who enjoys reading the mixing up of principles with great anecdotes, Give it a read. It is very likely to change a lot of your perceptions.  

One of the concepts in the book that stood out for me was to remember that business was meant to serve your life. It should not overtake your life. Learn to build a business that can work without you when you are living your life.  

6. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Peter Theil in his thought-provoking and encouraging book, Zero to One, covers some aspects of the most common problems that startups have to deal with. Some of the ideas and philosophies are practical and some, for the lack of a better word, let’s say… madness. But here is the thing, You may agree or disagree with him but he will make your mind stop and think. The added bonus is if you don’t like his idea or solution, you will be forced to think one for your own. 

Published in 2014, Peter Thiel in his book manages to touch upon the hiring process, monopoly and the importance of new thinking. This book is highly recommended for people who enjoy to put on their thinking hats more than usual. But even if you are someone who just needs to understand the basics of a startup, you might not want to skip this. 

Zero to One seems to be a concrete version of different books on different specializations, making it one of the best books for start-up entrepreneurs.

7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Strange that a book about war tactics makes its way in this list for the best books for start-up entrepreneurs, right? 

No, Not so much. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is a book about Chinese warfare and military tactics. If Peter Thiel’s Zero to One talks about Monopoly and how not to compete, this one will equip you with the knowledge on how to compete, when you have to.

Published in 5th century BC, The Art of War is about fighting to win. Adapt these warfare techniques to your regular corporate environment and it works wonders. More so, for startups that struggle to strive in the ever so competitive markets. 

If you plan to obliterate your competition, this book by Sun Tzu will definitely be useful for you. You only need to apply the philosophy to your unique situation.  

8. Made to Stick By Chip and Dan Heath

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath is about how to convey ideas in a way that makes them stick. A brilliant blend of concise language and acronymised ideas, Made to Stick is a step by step help book on how to achieve success for your ideas.

Published in 2006, ‘Made to Stick’ is ripe with interesting examples that make the reader stick to the book and keep reading. Traditionally recommended only to entrepreneurs who need to sell their ideas to customers or clients, this is actually for anyone who wishes to learn effective communication. 

One of the most important realisations while reading ‘Made to stick’ came right at the beginning of the book when Chip and Dan Heath talk about ‘The Curse of Knowledge’. Read the book to find out more about this interesting concept!

9. Hooked by Nir Eyal

Hooked by Nir Eyal talks about the four steps of building habit-forming products. It is written after years of research and is perfect for startup entrepreneurs who want their product to be ingrained in the market. Nir Eyal seems to have combined the best pointers on the subject from Advertising, Communication, Psychology and Behavioural Sciences with his expertise.

Published in 2014, Nir Eyal talks you through the Phases of hooking a product via Trigger, Action, Variable Reward and Investment. If you are someone who has launched a product or is looking forward to launching a product, you might want to make this one your Bible. 

One of the most innovative things that stood out for me was Eyal’s on-point observations which embrace the reader as an interesting mix of the psychology of habit and the business of making money.  

10. Tough times never last, but Tough People do by Robert H. Schuller

Tough times never last by Robert H. Schuller will teach you nothing about business, startups, sales or hiring and yet this book is a must-read for every startup entrepreneur.

Even though the book gives you no standard knowledge on how to build a business, the one thing that the book will do is imbibe in you a spirit that helps you build one. 

Published in 1984, Schuller’s book is the secret that will help you fight for and save what you truly believe in. Startup Entrepreneurs who find themselves without any support will find stories of courage, resilience, human grit and not giving up.  Before you embark on your journey to go try and win the word, keep a copy of this book with you. It will come on handy when it seems like you are losing everything else. 

The story of a potato farmer who takes a rough road is what stands out for me in this book!

Some books mentioned are generic to all businesses whereas some are very specific. I am sure by now you have a fair idea about which books you want to read and have already added them to the cart. I hope they will give you the information you require at the moment. 

Remember Success comes only to those who fight for it! You can also check out our list of the best self-help books to keep your motivation high. 

We wish you success in your future endeavours and hope we helped ease some of the stress that you had. 

Please let us know in the comments below if you want a detailed review of any of the books mentioned here or other best books for start-up entrepreneurs you might have come across. We look forward to hearing from you.