Are you thinking of starting your own business but don’t know how to start?
As a businessman who knows how challenging and overwhelming it can be to start your own business, I relied on a couple of business books to help me get through all of it. I searched high and low for the best business books for beginners to inspire and guide me on my journey.
Now, here’s the best part.
I have no plans of keeping these amazing books to myself, so I decided to share them with you to help you on your business journey.
- #1: Will It Fly by Pat Flynn
- #2: Crushing It! By Gary Vaynerchuk
- #3: The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
- #4: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
- #5: Women Who Launch by Marlene Wagman-Geller
- #6: The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong by Laurence J. Peter & Raymond Hull
- #7: Zero To One by Peter Thiel
- #8: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
- #9: Atomic Habits by James Clear
- #10: Good Luck by Alex Rovira & Fernando Trias de Bes
- #11: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
- #12: What It Takes: How I Built a $100 Million Business Against the Odds by Raegan Moya-Jones
- #13: Choose by Ryan Levesque
- #14: Good to Great by Jim Collins
- How to Choose a Business Book
- Top 3 Business Books of All Time
Let’s get right to it.
#1: Will It Fly by Pat Flynn
Do you have a business idea but are not sure of its potential?
Written by Pat Flynn, an online passive income guru, “Will It Fly?” gives practical, real-world advice on how you can test out and validate your business idea before getting started.
It takes you to five (5) different steps on how you can determine your business idea’s validity.
- Ensure that your business idea is in line with your skills and goals.
- Analyze the details of your idea that you may not have thought of.
- Assess the market for your business idea or know your customer P.L.A.N.
- Test your idea by pre-selling your product for final validation.
- Determine if you’re going to move ahead with the idea or if you’re sending it back to the drawing board.
Knowing and doing these will help you determine if your business ideas are realistic, feasible, and have profit potential.
#2: Crushing It! By Gary Vaynerchuk
One thing you need to start working on before you even launch is brand-building.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “Crushing It!” helps you with that.
A recognizable brand makes all the difference between having a good business and a great one. So, before your business is up and running, you should start connecting with your target market.
In his book, he discusses the importance of having a clearly defined brand and explains the foundation and principles of good branding.
Here are three (3) lessons I got from it:
- There are more ways than one in creating a personal brand.
- When creating your personal brand, it doesn’t have to be all-encompassing.
- Spoken word media, such as podcasts and other forms of audio-only media, in the future.
This book is all about establishing your brand in a way that resonates with your target audience while staying true to who you are.
Also, if you’re thinking of using social media to market your business, his tips for utilizing it to its full potential will undoubtedly be helpful for you.
#3: The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
If you’re looking for a must-read book for business beginners, Eric Ries’s “The Lean Startup” is for you.
Many business ideas today are not good enough to compete against existing enterprises, and many people take foolish risks without much thought to the consequences. Because of this, they end up losing money.
Now, this is how this book can help you.
It will help make your dream or idea become a successful business through an interesting approach. Its target is companies leveraging human ingenuity and focusing on capital-efficient startups.
You might be wondering, “How does it do that?”
In writing this book, Reis was inspired by manufacturing lessons that rely on scientific experimentation, validated learning, and counterintuitive practices to measure progress and shorten product development.
From these lessons, startups are encouraged to change directions, take risks, and modify their general structure step-by-step.
#4: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
Are you trying to figure out the financial aspect of starting and running a business?
You must understand the mechanics of investing for growth and what to do with the money you’re earning once your business starts making money.
This is where Mike Michalowicz’s book, “Profit First,” can help you.
In his book, he helps you increase your business’ profitability and maintain a positive cash flow to avoid the common money challenges that new businesses experience.
And this is how he does it.
In the book, he gives you a simple formula for managing the financial side of running your business that you can easily understand even if you don’t have accounting experience.
If you’re aiming to have a solid foundation for handling your business’s cash flow from day one, then this book is a must-read.
#5: Women Who Launch by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Starting your own business is already filled with a couple of challenges, but women have their own share of unique obstacles and struggles, especially when it comes to getting funding.
Marlene Wagman-Geller’s book, “Women Who Launch,” talks about these challenges that women face.
The book contains stories of women who shared how they successfully overcame the hurdles and established their own businesses.
Here’s some of what you’ll find when reading this book:
- Stories behind the women who launched renowned companies, brands, and organizations and how they built their success
- Empowering quotes from strong women and those who fought for their rights
- Motivation and inspiration to all women who dream of succeeding in their careers, launching companies, and changing the world
Although it’s a book about women and their achievements, this book offers excellent motivation and inspiration to anyone—regardless of gender—to keep chasing after business and entrepreneurial success.
#6: The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong by Laurence J. Peter & Raymond Hull
When establishing your business, you have to understand that there is no business model that’s perfectly safe and that failure can happen when you least expect it.
Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull’s book, “The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong” discusses and helps you understand this.
The book answers the question “Why can’t my business rise to the people’s expectations?” and explore other businesses’ incompetence levels. It lets you know that having support and trustworthy collaborators are fundamental for attaining success.
But that’s not all.
It also focuses on the importance of employees since they’re what keeps your company together. This means that if you aim to set yourself apart from your competitors and get closer to a multimillion profit, you should pay more attention to them.
So before you start your business, take some time to think about what you’re going to do. If you believe that you can achieve and have no doubts about failing, it’s worth taking the risk.
#7: Zero To One by Peter Thiel
Are you thinking of launching a startup?
You must know that it is different compared to launching a small business solo. Peter Thiel, a PayPal co-founder, talks about the qualities you need to have in order to run a thriving startup in his book “Zero To One.”
When running a startup, you usually have employees and investors to manage, and your initial costs upon opening up your doors may be a tad much higher.
Juggling these things can be overwhelming, and if you can’t pull them off successfully, your startup is bound to fail.
Now, this book offers advice on how you can avoid this.
One of the main points he discusses is how you can use creative innovation in establishing your footing in the market without causing disruption that could potentially threaten your business.
So if you’re planning to launch a startup, this book will definitely help you.
#8: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Like any other business, when establishing your own startup, you have first to determine how much you’ll need to get your startup off the ground.
Don’t have a big budget?
Fret not. Chris Guillebeau’s book, “The $100 Startup,” shares his examination of 50 case studies of entrepreneurs who managed to start a business successfully with not much money.
Meaning, that you can still succeed with your startup even if you don’t have that big of capital. But how, you ask.
In his book, he dissects each case study and identifies the most critical factors that helped them to be successful, and it was not the amount of money they invested in their business.
The book is mainly about leveraging your expertise and what you are passionate about to create a profitable business.
I’d say it’s a must-read if you’re planning to start a business, but the lack of funding stops you from pursuing it.
#9: Atomic Habits by James Clear
Are you struggling with productivity?
“Atomic Habits” by James Clear can help you with that.
One of the most valuable resources you have as a business person or entrepreneur when you’re starting or running a business is time. As the saying goes, every second counts.
In his book, he discusses how we form habits and that understanding the process is essential when changing old ones or creating new ones. One of his main points is that you’ll see significant results over time by focusing on making small changes incrementally.
If you’re looking for a self-improvement book that will help you rethink your daily routine and behavior patterns, “Atomic Habits” is for you.
Strategically changing your habits can help you be more productive, making you take the necessary steps to grow your business further.
#10: Good Luck by Alex Rovira & Fernando Trias de Bes
Unlike the other books on this list, “Good Luck” by Alex Rovira and Fernando Trias de Bes is a story that bears a resemblance to Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist.”
It’s a story that explains that luck is not accidental and that we make our own luck. It’s about the story of two people who meet “accidentally” in Central Park.
In the story, they meet again after fifty (50) years and find that only one of them became successful in life. Its similarity with Coelho’s work is that they both emphasize taking a leap of faith and seizing intelligent opportunities.
It’s a book that inspires and motivates you to try harder and believe in your business ideas. Learn from every mistake, and ultimately you’ll be able to build a successful enterprise.
#11: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
Planning of building a team for your business?
If so, a team needs a great leader, and Simon Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last” can help make you into one.
In order to lead your team to success, you need to know and understand the qualities that make for a great leader.
So, what exactly makes a great leader?
According to Sinek’s book, leaders who can instill trust among team members are vital since that drives their motivation and improves their performance.
Here are three (3) insights I got from it:
- Cultivate your “Circle of Safety,” and to build it, you’ll need empathy.
- Know and understand the four (4) “happy” chemicals in your body: endorphin, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.
- Lead for the long-term.
The book has a casual, conversational style and a highly relatable read on the importance of working together. You’ll definitely be able to take away actionable insights on how you can improve and strengthen your leadership skills.
#12: What It Takes: How I Built a $100 Million Business Against the Odds by Raegan Moya-Jones
Are you in need of inspiration to motivate you to work hard for your business?
You’ll get that in Raegan Moya-Jones’s book “What It Takes: How I Built a $100 Million Business Against the Odds”.
She shares the raw grit she used to build her $100 million globally-known business, aden+anais, from the ground up in her book.
She digs into topics that most entrepreneurs avoid talking about, such as mother guilt, butting heads with investors or co-founders, and what you can and must do when you’re running out of money.
But that’s not all.
You’ll get in her book that you don’t need to have an MBA to be your own boss. There’s also no magic formula for building a business.
This book is an empowering story about staying true to who you are, harnessing your unique talent, and trusting your gut.
You’ll definitely get inspired, motivated, and empowered.
#13: Choose by Ryan Levesque
If you dream about success for your business, you have to make the right decisions for your business from the very beginning.
Ryan Levesque’s book, “Choose” helps you with that.
In his book, Ryan believes that choosing the wrong market leads your business to a path that’s destined to fail, and he will show you how to choose the right market.
The book aims to simplify the way entrepreneurs can launch their businesses. The book provides a framework on how to start and build a brand that’s easy to follow.
It also uses case studies to help lessen the margin of error for new startups. It also focuses on how important it is to concentrate on who you serve instead of on the product and service development efforts.
So if you’re having trouble making decisions in starting a business, this book is for you.
#14: Good to Great by Jim Collins
Are you wondering about what makes a great company?
“Good To Great” by Jim Collins answers this question.
The book analyzes 28 companies over 30 years that managed to make the transition from ordinary to great or fell prey to their poor habits. It examined what it takes these ordinary companies to become great and outperform and outshine their competitors.
The analysis result is a set of habits, strategies, and practices that can turn a company from good to great.
Here are three (3) of them, so you have an idea of what it takes to make something great:
- Look for your Hedgehog concept.
- If new technology will help you reach your goal, adopt it and if not, drop it.
- Face and accept negative facts head-on but don’t give up and lose hope.
Now, if you aim not just to be good but also great, this book is a must-read for you.
How to Choose a Business Book
You must be thinking, how do you choose a business book out of all the ones available in the market?
Well, the factors in choosing a good book always differ from one person to another. Some go for the big-name authors or books that talk about well-known figures.
But, these books don’t always have the practical answers that you would need and look for if you’re a business beginner, a startup entrepreneur, or a small business owner.
I suggest that you consider the following when choosing a business book:
- Your Goals: The business book category covers a broad list of topics. Pick the type of book that meets your needs, be it about finance, investing, leadership, or stories about famous entrepreneurs.
- Skill Gaps: No one is an expert at everything, but having general knowledge about marketing, finance, management, leadership, and more will definitely be helpful. Find out in which aspect you lack and fill them.
- Inspiration: Look for a book that will get you fired up, inspire and motivate you.
There are still a few other things that you can choose to consider, such as the author’s name and his credibility, but keeping these three things in mind will surely help you land a gem.
Top 3 Business Books of All Time
Most of the books I’ve shared above are new and modern, but there remain several classics that remain relevant up to this day. Here are three (3) of the classics that I would recommend that you read:
1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
First published in 1989, Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” stays relevant today.
It’s a self-improvement book that teaches both personal and professional effectiveness by changing your view of how the world works. It offers you seven (7) habits that, if you adopt well, will lead you to success.
Here are the seven habits:
- Be Proactive
- Begin with the End in mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
These habits are timeless, and you can apply them to your daily lives regardless of your age.
The book contains more valuable lessons, so I highly recommend reading it and seeing them for yourself.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
A book older than Covey’s 7 Habits is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”—which was first published in 1936—that still manages to stay relevant today.
And there’s a good reason why.
It’s another self-help classic that teaches you many principles to become a likable person, how to handle your relationships well, win others over and how you can help them change their behavior without being intrusive.
Here are three (3) lessons I got from it:
- Smiling helps you make a great first impression.
- People will find you interesting if you talk about their favorite topic: themselves.
- Making people say yes a lot is an effective way to convince people.
The book has a couple more valuable lessons that would prove helpful in today’s day and age. Read it to learn more.
3. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Another old but gold book is Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” Published in 1937—a year after Carnegie’s work—even after more than 80 years, it still remains relevant to business beginners and professionals alike.
Let me tell you why.
It’s one of the all-time self-help classics that examines the power of thought in the process of furthering your career for both personal and monetary satisfaction.
It curates 13 of the most common habits of wealthy and successful people taken from studying more than 500 individuals in 20 years.
Here are three (3) of the 13 habits:
- Autosuggestion can be used to build an unshakeable belief in yourself.
- Even if you come off as stubborn, you must always stick to your decisions.
- Being in a Mastermind group can help you cut the learning curve.
If you want to know about the remaining habits, I suggest reading the book to find out more.
Starting a business comes with struggles and challenges, but there are books that can help you and give you inspiration and motivation to succeed.
The 13+ best books for business beginners that I listed are excellent in their own right, but my favorite among them is Pat Flynn’s “Will It Fly?”.
This is why.
Before going through a business idea, the book will help me determine if it is a viable and profitable one. So as a beginner, this is a great help since this will help me avoid losses in investing in a business idea that’s meant to fail.
This is not to say that the other books did not help me in my business journey. In fact, they did.
The other books on the list all met the considerations I have when choosing a business book. They all aligned with my goals, filled the gaps in my skills, and gave me inspiration and motivation.
Last but not least, the business classics are all a must-read since they are timeless, good reads, and give valuable lessons that every entrepreneur, beginner or not, needs to know.
So, if you’re looking for books that will help you in your business journey, pick and read one on the list.