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5 Books Every Startup Entrepreneur Should Read


If you’re thinking about ditching a stable, corporate job to make a go at the exciting world of startups, you’re not alone. With new, useful businesses sprouting up every day, it’s no wonder more people are saying goodbye to the status quo in order to follow their passions. But, before embarking on your new journey, you must educate yourself before making the leap. There are an astounding number of books on startups and entrepreneurship available, but rest assured that you can get by with reading just a handful so you can start in on starting up.

stack of books
(Photo Credit: horiavarlan /Flickr)  

These five books alone will give you enough entrepreneurship know-how to kickstart your budding career in the startup biz. And even if you aren’t looking to strike out on your own, these books will make you a better worker and employee.

1.) The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

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Want to live a more luxurious life with more freedom than you could ever imagine? Then pick up this step-by-step guide to living that dream. The newest edition of this groundbreaking book on tearing yourself away from normal office hours in order to be more productive in your newfound role as an entrepreneur, now has added content that will help you create and automate an income-generating business that leaves you with ample time to pursue your other passions; traveling, playing guitar in your band or whatever it is you’re into. That said, make sure the concept of your startup is also a passion, because there’s evidence out there that says you’ll likely fail if it’s not something you know and love.

2.) Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Are you a planner when it comes to, well, everything? If you are, then reading this book may make you more than a little uncomfortable. But, suck it up, because the world of startup entrepreneurship is one crazy ride where you’ll have to scrap and change plans at the last minute with fearless abandon. This book will show you why planning too much is actually more harmful than helpful, how bootstrapping your business is smarter than seeking investors and why you shouldn’t really care about competitors. The authors (who, by the way, are both founders of awesome web-based collaboration software brand, 37signals), say that less is more. Less meetings. Less staff. Less planning. Heck, they say your new company doesn’t even need an office. The whole idea is that you simply need to start working on your startup — without a myriad of excuses as to why you “can’t.”

3.) Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

Drawn from his experience at Apple in the early 80s, and years of experience as a successful venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Kawasaki will provide you with lessons that are more than qualified to teach you how to change the minds and lives of others through mastering the art of enchantment. This book will show you why your business goal shouldn’t be to simply sell a product, but to bring about change in others that is lasting — not fleeting. The real goal is to develop life-long advocates of your brand. Kawasaki says,”Want to change the world? Change caterpillars into butterflies? This takes more than run-of-the-mill relationships. You need to convince people to dream the same dream that you do.” And this book will explain how you can develop and launch a real enchantment campaign that will successfully propel your dream by turning consumers, your staff and investors into your biggest fans.

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

Every new entrepreneur needs some help when it comes to being effective on not just a professional level, but a personal one, too. And, really, today’s business world could stand to have more leaders who are focused on behaviors such as honesty, integrity, dignity, fairness and service. Remember: You’re not just trying to sell a new product, but gain the respect of staff and customers alike. Covey’s book will give you an insightful look into how living your best life is the key to real, sustainable success.

5.) The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Fact: Most startups fail. But did you know that a lot of these failures could be prevented? Ries’ book shows you how the “lean” approach can help your startup begin and stay on a successful path. And startups of all sizes can benefit. By utilizing rapid experimentation, continuously testing your company’s vision, being adaptable and changing plans in small but effective ways, your innovative idea can become a sustainable, profitable business for a long time. Upon reading this book, you’ll want to scrap that in-depth business plan before you begin. And you know what? According to Ries and other startup experts, that’s more than okay.

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We want to hear from you! Are there other books you’d add to our list? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments!

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