25 All-time must-read books for an entrepreneur

25 All-time must-read books for an entrepreneur

In this article, I will be sharing a list of my 25 all-time favourite books that are must-read if someone wants to be successful as an entrepreneur.

You must be thinking, how reading books can make someone a successful entrepreneur?

Consider the reading habits of these billionaire entrepreneurs:

  • Oprah Winfrey credits books with much of her success according to her- Books were her pass to personal freedom.

Trying to be an entrepreneur is tough; you’ll realize pretty quickly that you’re actually not as experienced as others. Your knowledge might not be at the same level as those who’ve been in the business for twenty years and that will probably scare you.

If you read these book and analyze you’ll gain all the wisdom you need and will live the writers experience through their words, you’ll learn what to do what not to do in certain situations you’ll be a better decision-maker and problem solver.

“It’s important to learn from your mistakes, but it is better to learn from other people’s mistakes, and it is best to learn from other people’s successes. It accelerates your own success.

Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

~ Jim Rohn

I remember the first time I read a self-improvement book (it was Think and Grow Rich). I was perplexed. At that moment, I realized my fate or my destiny is in my hands. I could become whatever I want, I am my own master and coach.

I’m a self- learner who has read plenty of self-improvement books over the years. Some of them were good and have given me incredible insights while others have been not so good.

So, I’m narrowing my list of books that I think are must-read books for an entrepreneur. Each of the books on this list has had a huge impact on my life, and I am sure that they will have a huge impact on yours too.

1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

“You are the master of your destiny, you can influence, direct and control your own environment, you can make your life what you want it to be.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill - Must read books for an Entrepreneur

First published in 1937, It is known as “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.”

Don’t let this book’s title fool you, it’s not only written for people who want to become rich it clearly states in the beginningRiches can’t always be measured in money!’

Its principles will help you succeed in any line of work, and help you become anything you can imagine.

For twenty years, author Napoleon Hill studied the most successful people of his time, including Henry Ford and Alexander Graham Bell and chronicled those findings and formulated hundreds and thousands of answers into concise principles. Which makes it one of the must-read books for an Entrepreneur

2. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later. ~ Og Mandino

The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

Taking lots of inspiration from Christian spirituality, the book helps you adopt ten valuable habits in ten “ancient scrolls.”

This book tells the story of Hadid, a poor boy who achieves a life of prosperity after one incident that happened to him, Now old and dying Hadid wants to share his secret of wealth with the chosen one whom he is searching.

This book isn’t really a narrative so much as it is a loose philosophy of life as it relates to salesmanship and success.

Although it’s a thin book it is only 128 pages long, if you follow author Og Mandino’s reading plan it will take 10 months to finish.

Most of that time must be spent on reaffirming simple truths like “persist until you succeed” and “live each day as if it were your last” until they’re ingrained in your psyche.

That might not sound very exciting, but millions have sworn including me that this powerful book has changed their lives forever.

3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.” ~ Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

This book is the #1 Personal Finance book of all the time. The book has been translated into many languages and sold around all over the world.

Robert Kiyosaki’s book breaks down everything you need to know about financial education in today’s world.

The book focuses on the 9-5 job and the rat race that keeps you in that job you hate in order to pay the debts you have.

He teaches you how to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true by giving you the cold and hard truth about wealth and explains why you won’t become rich by going to school, getting good grades, graduating with a diploma, and working for job security.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” ~ Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie - Must read books for an Entrepreneur

This book is guaranteed to change your life forever. It will teach you all the dos and don’ts of social life, and it also teaches you how to be a better entrepreneur.

In the digital age, it’s hard to be influential outside of the Internet, which is just as important as an online influence,

But Dale Carnegie breaks down all the steps you need to keep in mind in order to be friends with everyone you meet.

It teaches you how to overcome competition or how to win over people who are close-minded or simply not interested in your pitch. Which makes it one of the must-read books for an Entrepreneur

5. Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert T. Kiyosaki

“The only differences between a rich person and a poor person is what they do in their spare time.” ~ Robert T. Kiyosaki

Must read books for an Entrepreneur - Cash Flow Quadrant

Another masterpiece by Robert T. Kiyosaki, this book explains the various career paths and clearly explains our tax system structure. 

It also explains why many high paid salaried employees get screwed in the tax system. It also explains why big corporations pay much less tax then salaried employees.

As Kiyosaki discusses in the book peoples work is divided into four areas. E and S quadrants are on the left side, and B and I quadrants on the right side. The diagram below better explains it. You can be in all quadrants, or on one or two quadrants. The goal is to progress through the arrows and become more on the right side of the table.

Cash Flow Quadrant
  • Employee (E) –  People who work on a job
  • Self-Employed (S) Small business owners such as shopkeepers or self-employed professionals (Teachers, doctors, and lawyers)
  • Business Owner (B) – Big businesses (500+ employees) or. Businesses that are selling products or services or both.
  • Investor (I) – People like Warren Buffett and In India Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

6. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

“The first element of change is awareness. You can’t change something unless you know it exists.” ~ T. Harv Eker

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

This book is about so much more than just wealth. It’s changing your mindset and how you perceive money – and this book has changed my life. The book reveals the missing link between wanting success and achieving it.

This book has two sections, The first section explains how your money blueprint works.

In the second section, you will read seventeen “Wealth Files” which explains why some people get rich quickly and easily while other people struggle their whole life and how rich people think and act differently than most of the poor and middle-class people.

7. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

“Proper preparation is the key to our success. Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.” ~ George S. Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon- must read books for an entrepreneur

This book reveals the secret of success of the ancient Babylonians. The book gives the financial principles that hold the key secret to personal wealth.

If you want to create personal wealth and learn about financial planning, you should read this book. This will help you understand what is meant to be financially independent.

The book says one should save at least 10% of everything you earn and must not confuse necessary expenses with your desires.

Work hard to improve your skills because your skill ensure a future income and If you are in debt, live on 70% of what you make save 10% for yourself. Use the remaining 20% to repay your debts.

Read – High-Income skills in India that can help you make a fortune

8. Acres of Diamonds by R. H. Conwell

“Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard if you but dig for them.” ~ R. H. Conwell

Acres of Diamonds- must read books for an entrepreneur

Based on a speech originally given as a lecture to raise money for what would become Temple University, this parable about seeing the riches around you can help give you a new perspective.

Short and powerful this book shows us how one can find a fortune-if you know where to look.

Acres of Diamonds core belief is that each of us is placed here on earth for the primary purpose of helping others.

The book will force you to take a new look at your own backyard when looking for opportunity. It’s for the people who believe the grass is greener on the other side. Which makes it one of the must read books for an Entrepreneur

9. 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn

“If there is one critical ingredient for your successful quest for both wealth and happiness, it is discipline.” Jim Rohn

7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn

This book is a masterpiece in personal development/self-help. It is well written and represents Jim Rohn’s philosophy on wealth building.

Jim Rohn breaks down the seven values and principles he believes are the foundation for true and lasting success in all of life’s realms. The book focuses on these 7 strategies :

  1. Unleash the power of goals
  2. Seek knowledge
  3. Learn how to change
  4. Control your finances
  5. Master Time
  6. Surround yourself with winners
  7. Learn the art of living well

10. Rework by Jason Fried & David Hansson

“What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.” ~ Jason Fried

Most business books give you the same old advice: Write goals, study the competition, and seek investors. If you’re looking for a book like that, this book is not for you.

Rework by Jason Fried

Rework shows you a faster, easier and a better way to succeed in business.

Read it and you’ll learn why plans can be harmful, why you don’t need to seek for outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition.

The book says you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic, you don’t need a big staff, You don’t need to waste time on formalities. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses. You just need to get to work.

It’s very different from other self- help and business books and has its own philosophy, which makes it a must-read book for an Entrepreneur

Mark Cuban says about Rework “If given a choice between investing in someone who has read Rework or has an MBA, I’m investing in Rework every time.  This is a must-read for every entrepreneur.”

11. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~ Darren Hardy

If you don’t know the magic of compounding this book is for you

The Compound Effect

Albert Einstein famously said that the law of compounding is the 8th wonder of the world and the most powerful force in the universe.

No gimmicks, No Hyperbole, No Magic Bullet.

How compounding effect create success? You will find the following strategies in this book:

  • The first strategy is to achieve goal and success over any competitor, even if they are smarter, talented or more experienced.
  • Eliminate your bad habits.
  • Do things you don’t like.
  • Know the acceleration secrets of super-achievers.

12. The Millionaire Next Door by Dr Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

“Good health, longevity, happiness, a loving family, self-reliance, fine friends … if you [have] five, you’re a rich man….” ~ Thomas J. Stanley

The Millionaire Next Door - must read books for an entrepreneur

This book has spotted the seven common traits among those who have accumulated wealth. They are:

  1. Wealthy people live well below their means 
  2. The parents of wealthy people did not provide economic outpatient care
  3. Wealthy people believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status 
  4. The adult children of wealthy people are economically self-sufficient
  5. The Wealthy people allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth  
  6. Wealthy people are proficient in targeting market opportunities 
  7. The Wealthy people chose the right occupation

Though these lessons and ideas may seem repetitive, but it’s very important to understand these lessons and ideas deeply.

One other thing in this book is about the difference between realized income and unrealized income, and the tax we pay on them. Must read for an Entrepreneur!

13. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” ~ Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss - must read books for an entrepreneur

Who doesn’t know of Timothy Ferriss? He’s everywhere since he launched in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek.

The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint of more than 50 practical tips and case studies from the readers who have doubled their income.

The book also reveals how Tim went from $40,000/year with 80 hours/week to $40,000/month with 4 hours/week.

Also, the book suggests that one should take ‘mini-retirements’ throughout your life instead of planning to retire at the end of your life and one should be a business owner – not a business runner.

Also, read- High-Income skills in India that can help you make a fortune

The density of high-quality ideas in this book is incredible, and which makes it one of the must read books for an Entrepreneur

How can you completely outsource your business and live life on your terms…and much more!

14. How Rich People Think by Steve Siebold

“You’re either growing or dying. Stagnation does not exist in the universe.” ~ Steve Siebold

How Rich People Think by Steve Siebold

This book will give you an idea of how rich people think differently than poor people.

When it comes to wealth creation, you will see the comparison of thoughts, habits and philosophies between the middle class and world-class people and this makes these kinds of books a must-read for an Entrepreneur.

The book suggests 3 steps strategy

 1) Learn how rich people think.

2) Copy them

3) Take action and get rich.

I would suggest you read a chapter a day and change the way you think!

15. The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr David J. Schwartz.

“Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to a solution.” ~ David J. Schwartz

must read books for an entrepreneur
The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr David J. Schwartz.

Think of the people who earn ten times as much as you. 

Are they ten times smarter?

Do they work ten times harder?

If the answer is no,

Then the question “What do they have that I don’t?” may occur to you.

We can become more than what we realize, we are the product of the thinking which surrounds us, and most of this thinking is little, not big. This book will teach an entrepreneur the importance of thinking big, a must-read.

You’ll learn in this book:

  1. Plenty of room at the top
  2. The quiet route to success
  3. Why belief is everything
  4. How to stay big

16. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr Joseph Murphy.

“Busy your mind with the concepts of harmony, health, peace, and goodwill, and wonders will happen in your life.” ~ Joseph Murphy

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

You’ll learn the tools to unlock the awesome powers of your subconscious mind. By the power of your subconscious mind, you can improve your relationships, your finances, your physical well-being.

The techniques are simple and results come quickly.

Once you learn how to use this unbelievably powerful force, there is nothing in this world that you cannot accomplish.

Once you apply the techniques outlined therein the power of your ‘Subconscious Mind’ will open a world of success, happiness, prosperity, and peace for you.

17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.”Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey - must read books for an entrepreneur

This is truly a life-changing book and the best habit-forming book. The title The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People doesn’t capture it all.

This is, probably one of the best and most powerful books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s not written for an entrepreneur per se but is one of the must read books for every entrepreneur.

Stephen Covey shares with us seven habits one should adapt to become truly effective in whatever you would like to achieve but this requires what he paradigm shift – a fundamental change in how we perceive the world and ourselves.

But beware It requires patience and concentration to read this book and to understand it completely.

The 7 habits are as follows:

1: Be Proactive
2: Begin with the End in Mind
3: Put First Things First
4: Think Win/Win
5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
6: Synergize
7: Sharpen the Saw” 

18. The One Thing by Gary Keller

“Extraordinary results happen only when you give the best you have to become the best you can be at your most important work.” ~ Gary Keller

The One Thing by Gary Keller

The One Thing explains the success habits to overcome the six lies that block our success,

To beat the seven thieves that steal time, and

to leverage the laws of purpose, priority, and productivity.

This book is really deep. While the title seems simple the insights in this book is really profound.

It’s one of those books you’ll definitely need to reference throughout your entrepreneurial journey.

19. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

“Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way. And if you can’t monopolize a unique solution for a small market, you’ll be stuck with vicious competition.” ~ Peter Thiel

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

This book is about how to build companies that create new things and moving from 0 to 1 for every new creation. It gives a lot of insights which is directly pulled out of Peter Thiel’s learnings and experiences.

The book gives us insights on what a master businessman like Peter Thiel looks into before investing in a business.

This book includes topics about the right way to build a team, to choose a good timing on how to deliver your product how to have your own monopoly to sum it up

20. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

“As you begin to think like an entrepreneur, you’ll notice that business ideas can come from anywhere.” Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup -must read books for an entrepreneur

This book is for people who feel unmotivated because they lack funds. It’s one of the must-read books for an Entrepreneur for the same reason.

In his book, the author talks about 50 of the most amazing success stories of entrepreneurs who are making more than $50,000 and who started with very little money in their bank accounts.

This is the perfect book to motivate you to move forward without focusing on the HOW.

The book is based on the belief that if you have an idea, and you have the passion, and the money will follow.

With traditional career shutting down, it’s easy to panic, but the author sees opportunities everywhere.

Also, read – 25+ Killer future business ideas for a super successful startup by 2020 in India

Making a career out of your passion might sound you like a dream, but in this straight-forward, engaging book he shows you how to get it done, one simple step at a time.

21. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

“When it comes to professional opportunities, this is the best time to be alive in the history of humankind.” ~ Gary Vaynerchuk

Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

Garyvee one of the influential personalities on the internet takes a very motivating and persuasive voice in his book Crush It! and motivating you to move on your passions.

The author is one of those entrepreneurs who have discovered the secret of combining passion with business.

The book focuses on  why you should keep your family first, live your passion, work hard and be authentic, the author also emphasizes the need to build your personal brand

22. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

“A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” Eric Ries

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

This book will teach you how to build a company that’s more efficient and better at leveraging its employees’ creativity, so you’ll always be ahead of your competition.

The author also shares various techniques an entrepreneur can use in order to create a business that will go against the odds and succeed.

The author says Start-ups should focus on management, process, and discipline and Start-ups should develop Build-Measure-Feedback loop.

23. The Millionaire Fast Lane by MJ Demarco

“There’s a profound difference between interest and commitment. Interest reads a book; commitment applies the book 50 times.” ~ M.J. DeMarco

The Millionaire Fast Lane by MJ Demarco

This book rewires your mind on the truth of life and it’s an ultimate entrepreneurial guide. Which makes it one of the must-read books for an Entrepreneur

Its one of the few books on entrepreneurship that really tells the truth about what it takes to build a multi-million dollar company and become wealthy.

The book differentiates between two distinct paths of life- the Fastlane and the Slowlane.

The slow lane is getting a job, saving up for 60 years and then retiring.

The fast lane is approximately 8-10 years of very hard work and seeking an exit strategy at the end.

If you’ve ever thought about running a business but didn’t know where to start this book is for you.

24. Click Millionaires by Scott Fox

“Money is not the destination on your life’s road trip; it’s just the gas to help you enjoy the journey.” ~ Scott Fox

Click Millionaires by Scott Fox

Online businesses are taking over the world Amazon nears $1 Trillion market valuation and with more e-commerce businesses opening than ever before.

Scott Fox shares his secrets on how to combine outsourcing and automated online marketing to build monthly cash-flow online.

In this book, the author teaches you how to build an online business by going over all the tools that are available to you. He also breaks down many different ways to make money online. It’s a very straightforward and no-nonsense book.

25. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

“The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is living fully and just existing.” ~ Michael E. Gerber

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

This book is one of the must-read books for an entrepreneur because it throws lights on the myths related to business and entrepreneurship.

There are many misconceptions out there about starting your own business and being successful as an entrepreneur,

It also gives insight into what transition is required in a person in handling the things in a start-up.

Michael E. Gerber breaks down each myth and helps you by walking you through the steps of having a business and becoming successful as an entrepreneur in today’s era.

The author shows the difference between working on your business and working in your business.

Final Word

In this article, I’ve mentioned the book The Compound Effect. If you read one hour daily, you will be surprised with the results you have in your life after a year.

Start reading at-least 20 to 30 pages/ day and once you are comfortable with it Increase the pages to 50 then 100 then 150, eventually you’ll be able to comfortably read 200+ pages /day.

If you don’t like to read then you can listen to the audiobooks on Amazon Audible. Another great way to improve your business skills is to learn from the experts. Turn your attention to your Apple Podcast app, or your Android Stitcher app, and listen to the given – best business podcasts on your commute to work.

What’s your favorite self-help book?

Did I miss any book? Let me know in the comments below.

Don’t Forget Your Free Guide Before You Go

101 tips for Financial Success that aims to teach the readers how to manage their money and avoid risks especially when they are thinking of investing.

101 tips for Financial Success



Founder and CEO of MarkBuzz LLP, Digital Marketer, Investor, Youtuber, Podcaster and Author.