One mark of all consistently successful entrepreneurs is that they never stop learning. And while short-form articles, white papers, and think pieces can deliver the goods, books on small business are still the most important sources for learning different concepts in depth.
But not all business books are the same. Some management books for example, aren’t exactly written with small business entrepreneurs in mind. Others don’t really deliver something all that different from a lot of other books on the market. Others are not much more than vanity projects that don’t always give you realistic ideas that could be applied in real life
We selected these books on small business on the basis of accessibility, relevance, and appropriateness for the small business entrepreneur. We didn’t arrange them in any particular order. There are thousands of other great titles out there, so make sure to include your own suggestions in the comments below!
11.) The Lean Startup
Eric Ries channeled his extensive experiences as a startup advisor, founder, and employee into a modern classic. If you had to buy only one title in this list, “The Lean Startup” is probably one of the better choices.
9.) Words That Sell
“Words That Sell“ has been constantly updated in the 30-odd years since its release. Richard Bayan’s work is an incredible reference. If you aren’t getting this for yourself, at least get it for a copywriter friend.
8.) Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Elon Musk is the closest we have to a real-life Tony Stark. “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future“takes you from his humble beginnings in South Africa to initial successes in the startup world, to his taking on the biggest names in the automobile and aerospace industry. Elon Musk’s journey offers plenty of lessons on what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.
7.) Motivation. Action. Results: How Network Marketing Leaders Move Their Teams
There are plenty of great leadership books, from “The Art of War” to “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” but “Motivation. Action. Results.” is probably one of the more entertaining ones. You’ve probably seen Tom “Big Al” Schreiter’s books all over the place, but this particular volume is one you really should take a look at.
6.) Think and Grow Rich
This classic has some detractors, which is not surprising given how long ago since it was first published. I was skeptical before I read it myself. “Think and Grow Rich” however, has managed to age pretty well and still contains plenty of solid guidelines that are directly applicable for small business entrepreneurs.
5.) The Art Of The Deal
Say what you will about present-day Donald Trump, but the Donald Trump in “The Art Of The Deal” is almost completely different and incredibly easy to like. If you believe in honing and following your instincts “The Art Of The Deal” is probably for you. If you’re of a more data-driven mindset, you might want to look elsewhere, but we still urge you to give it a chance.
4.) The Entrepreneur Mind
Kevin D. Johnson’s “The Entrepreneur Mind” is a good resource for understanding what sets different success stories apart from each other, and what exactly they have in common. “The Entrepreneur Mind” isn’t just a fun read chock full of small historical and personal details, good for bringing yourself out of a rut.
3.) Choose Yourself
Even if you haven’t read James Altucher’s “Choose Yourself,” you’ve probably read at least one of his think-pieces as a regular contributor to The Financial Times, TheStreet.com, TechCrunch, Seeking Alpha, Thought Catalog, and The Huffington Post. Choose Yourself is an essential examination of what entrepreneurship means in the social media age.
2.) Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Peter Thiel is a giant in the startup world — he knows what he’s talking about. The German-American investor has had a knack for predicting which startups are worth investing in. “Zero to One” gives you an idea of what a great business concept looks like, as well as what investors actually look for.
1.) The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
While Michael E. Gerber’s status as “The World’s #1 Small Business Guru” is arguable, but this latest update on “The E-Myth” sure helps that claim. This no-nonsense examination of starting and running a business gives insights at each step of the cycle. Of special interest is the in-depth look at franchising, an often overlooked avenue for many small businesses.
Should I get books on small business in e-book or hardbound/paperback format?
While e-books are convenient and certainly better than nothing, a recent study has shown that our brains more readily absorb information from printed materials thanks to the tactile aspect. The light emitted by devices such as Kindles and iPads can also mess with your body clock, leading to lower quality sleep.
These advantages are also the reason why business cards, postcards, and other print marketing materials continue to be a very effective marketing tools. Print materials just tend to be easier to absorb and more comfortably read, compared to their electronic counterparts.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with e-books. But if you want to remember more of what you’ve learned, print is definitely the way to go!
Please feel free to recommend other books in the comments below.