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The 28 Best Entrepreneur Books to Read as a Small Business Owner

October 15, 2021 8 min. read
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As a small business owner, you don’t have a lot of time for reading. But you also want to learn how to grow your business, improve customer service, and lead your team.

We did the research for you and put together a reading list so you don’t have to. If you’re thinking of picking up a book during your few spare minutes each day, make it one of these.

Best entrepreneur books: The Go Giver cover

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

In The Go-Giver, the authors explain how to communicate the value your business offers, get more potential customers faster, and use satisfied clients to earn even more work.

This book kicks off a series that includes Go-Givers Sell MoreThe Go-Giver Leader, and The Go-Giver Influencer.

READ MORE: Learn how to start a customer referral program

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is one of the top entrepreneur books for a reason.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a classic that tells you how to build relationships and use them to improve your personal situation—and in this case, your business!

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

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People teaches you to be proactive, set goals, communicate with others, change your way of thinking, and everything else you need to run a successful small business.

In fact, it’s so inspiring that it’s earned a 30th anniversary edition.

Best entrepreneur books: Grit cover

Grit by Angela Duckworth

What makes a person successful? Get the answer in Grit, a book that explores the reasons and drivers behind success.

It’s full of stories, examples, historical insights, and interviews with successful people from every industry—and ways to uncover your own inner grit.

READ MORE: Find out what makes a business successful

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Every entrepreneur dreams of working less while making more money—and saving time for the things that matter most.

The 4-Hour Work Week outlines Ferriss’s insights from streamlining his own work and tells you how to do the same.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Rework tells you how to stop talking and start working with just the bare essentials.

Learn how to boost productivity, market your business on a budget, and manage it like a pro with this easy-to-read playbook.

Best entrepreneur books: E-myth cover

The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber

The E-Myth is one of the most popular small business books you’ll find anywhere, and it’s been that way for decades.

The book tackles the myths that keep people from starting (and successfully running) their own businesses.

It’s also led to later instalments like The E-Myth Revisited.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point explores what makes an idea spread from one person to many—not just in life, but in business, too.

Gladwell also wrote top entrepreneur books like David and GoliathOutliers, and Blink, which are all equally great reads.

The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

Take a ride on The Energy Bus and get Gordon’s secrets for approaching your business with positivity and forward thinking.

He’s also written bestselling books like Training Camp and The Power of a Positive Team.

Best entrepreneur books: $100 Startup cover

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Learn how to start a business with just a few dollars in The $100 Startup.

Guillebeau shares 50 case studies from entrepreneurs around the world—and the actions, mistakes, and insights that took them from startup to success.

READ MORE: Already started? Learn how to scale your business

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

First published all the way back in 1937, Think and Grow Rich explains what makes a winner and which rules determine if your business will succeed.

(And don’t worry, it was updated this century with modern examples!)

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

It’s hard to run a business, full stop. Horowitz owns that in The Hard Thing About Hard Things, where he shares the lessons he learned on his way to becoming a successful Silicon Valley business owner.

It’s a perfect read for both brand-new and experienced entrepreneurs.

READ MORE: 8 lessons from NASA to help you meet the challenge of entrepreneurship

Best entrepreneur books: Art of the Start cover

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

So you have a great idea for starting a business. But how do you actually get started?

Simple: read The Art of the Start. Kawasaki will tell you exactly how to turn your idea into a real-life money-making company.

READ MORE: How to price your home services

The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan

Think about the one thing that matters most to you. Less work? More time with family? Less stress? More money?

The One Thing tells you how to get it all by keeping your eye on the prize: the one thing that keeps you going.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is the fictional story of a team and the five fatal flaws that cause their company to fail.

Learn how to avoid these pitfalls, empower your employees, and turn their performance into your business’s success.

READ MORE: Get hiring and recruiting tips to attract employees that stick around

Best entrepreneur books: Dream Manager cover

The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly

If you’re struggling to attract and keep employees, read The Dream Manager. You’ll learn how to help your employees reach their dreams so you can reach yours.

Kelly also wrote The Culture Solution, which can help you build a strong company culture.

READ MORE: Try these 5-minute team-building activities

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Learn how to manage your money and teach the next generation to do the same.

Get the 20th anniversary edition of Rich Dad Poor Dad, updated to include everything you need to know about making your money (and your business’s budget) work for you in today’s economy.

READ MORE: 12 entrepreneurs share their best financial advice

Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel

There’s always an opportunity to do something no one has ever done before.

Zero to One shows you how to make your business not only stand out, but become impossible for any other company to compete with.

Best entrepreneur books: Profit First cover

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

In Profit First, you’ll learn the four rules that can help you balance your budget, increase profit, and grow your business.

Michalowicz also wrote fan-favorite small business books like ClockworkThe Pumpkin Plan, and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

READ MORE: Get Mike’s 3 steps to make your marketing stand out

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Pick up a copy of Drive and learn the three elements of motivation—and how to apply them to develop yourself professionally, become your own boss, and get the life you want.

Pink is also the author of top entrepreneur books like When and To Sell is Human.

42 Rules for Superior Field Service by Jim Reily and Rosemary Coates

What happens to your customers after they’ve used your services? Ideally, they keep coming back!

42 Rules for Superior Field Service tells you how to develop a strong service strategy, bring in recurring revenue, and strengthen other important areas of your business.

Best entrepreneur books: Lean Startup cover

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Whenever a new company starts, there’s always a risk of failure.

You can reduce the risk of your own business failing with The Lean Startup, which uses insights from lean manufacturing to help you stay agile and adapt to your customers’ changing needs.

Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz

Getting new customers takes time and money—but it doesn’t have to take much.

Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking shows you how companies are effectively using word-of-mouth marketing and how you can do the same.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Based on Sinek’s successful TED Talk, Start With Why explores the answer to why some businesses succeed more than others.

Learn how to identify the why behind your business—and get your customers and employees on board with it.

FREE TOOL: Make your business more profitable with our profit margin calculator

Best entrepreneur books: Crush It cover

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Crush It! tells you how to turn your hobby into a career and why now is the perfect time to do it.

You can build on that information and even see how other companies applied Gary Vee’s principles in his follow-up book, Crushing It.

The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow

Repeat customers keep your business healthy and your cash flowing.

The Automatic Customer can show you how to create a subscription model to boost sales and transform the way you do business. And yes, it includes examples from home service businesses!

Traction by Gino Wickman

Traction forces you to look beyond serving your customers, pay attention to running your business, and deal with the roadblocks that come with being a business owner.

Wickman has also written bestsellers like The EOS LifeRocket Fuel, and Entrepreneurial Leap.

Best entrepreneur books: Extreme Ownership cover

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Not sure if you’re cut out to be a leader, or want to become a better one?

Learn how to lead better and win more from two SEAL Team Three leaders in Extreme Ownership, a book that applies lessons from the military to any leadership situation.

Originally published May 2016. Last updated on October 15, 2021.

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