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Top 20 Must-Read Books For Small Business Owners And Entrepreneurs

If you're an entrepreneur or small business owner looking to get ahead, then investing in yourself through reading the right books can be hugely beneficial.

The truth is that there are so many fantastic business books on the market, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we've compiled this list of our top 20 must-read business and entrepreneurship books for busy entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Get ready to improve your productivity levels, develop better leadership skills, stay ahead of trends and build a successful enterprise with these essential reads!

small business woman reading a book while travelling in a bus

1. Start With Why: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone

By Simon Sinek

Book Summary: Start with Why by Simon Sinek is an insightful and engaging read, highlighting how successful leaders can inspire others. The book begins by emphasizing that truly effective leaders don't just tell people what to do, but communicate why their mission is important and worth doing.

Sinek shares stirring examples of individuals and organizations who have used motivation based on their 'why' to achieve tremendous success. He also emphasizes the importance of decisive action, leading with trust, and listening attentively so that everyone can find a common goal together.

This transformative guide helps readers learn how to mobilize teams to take innovative paths while keeping the most important aspects of a mission front and center. A must-read for anyone looking to get motivated and inspire others!

2. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets Of Being Productive In Life And Business

By Charles Duhigg

Book Summary: This is an exploration of the science behind productivity and how it can be applied to a variety of pursuits.

Drawing from case studies such as Google and the NFL, Duhigg looks into the strategies that transform normal people into high achievers. Through interviews, research and observations, he explores how motivation, organizational habits, focus, and teamwork are interlinked to increase productivity.

A thought-provoking read that provides invaluable insight into human behavior, Smarter Faster Better is essential reading for anyone looking to get ahead.

3. The Little Red Book Of Selling

By Jeffrey Gitomer

Book Summary: The Little Red Book of Selling, offers readers a comprehensive guide to mastering the art and science of sales. Drawing on years of experience as a top-level salesperson and author, Gitomer provides practical tactics for winning more customers, fostering trust in relationships, engaging prospects through powerful communication strategies, and leveraging personal success for the benefit of companies.

With motivational tips to help readers stay content and committed to their work even during tough times, The Little Red Book of Selling ensures that readers gain confidence in their skillset and have a plan for success no matter the situation.

4. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

By Stephen Covey

Book Summary: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" explores the timeless principles and values required to lead a successful life. Stephen Covey, the author, and internationally recognized leadership authority dives into topics such as personal development, self-discipline, and time management.

He challenges readers to evaluate themselves and their responses to various personal challenges to form habits that will lead them closer to their ultimate goal: becoming highly effective people.

Throughout the book are stories of exploration, self-reflection, and transformation that Covey uses to further illustrate his points.

5. Guerrilla Marketing: Easy And Inexpensive Strategies For Making Big Profits From Your Small Business

By Jay Conrad Levinson

Book Summary: Written by marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson, "Guerrilla Marketing" is the definitive guide to unconventional strategies for thriving small businesses. It provides an inspiring blueprint for entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses without a huge budget.

The book covers creative techniques to break through the noise of today’s competitive marketplace, such as content marketing, leveraging social media, and online tools. It also field-tests these strategies and provides step-by-step plans to use them effectively.

With its arsenal of practical tips and insights gleaned from decades of real-world experience, "Guerrilla Marketing" gives readers the tools they need to develop customized solutions for their unique challenges within any industry.

6. Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance

By Angela Duckworth

Book Summary: "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance" is an insightful work by Angela Duckworth which explores the importance of passion and perseverance in attaining success. By drawing on examples from sports, business, education, and government, she reveals that grit is defined as a combination of mental toughness, resilience in the face of setbacks, ambition, and critical enthusiasm is essential for sustained success.

She highlights the power of nurturing mentorship to bring out one's inner grit so that one can stay motivated and acquire important life skills to maximize their potential. Overall, her book is an inspiring reminder that it is never too late to work hard to achieve your goals.

7. The Power Of Broke

By Daymond John

Book Summary: The Power of Broke explains how financial constraints often spur transformational ideas. He delves into the power of creativity and its importance in today's global economy and encourages readers to leverage obstacle-course living to cultivate innovations and new business opportunities.

Drawing from his own experiences as an entrepreneur, he instructs how having no money can be a benefit when it comes to changing the game - motivating entrepreneurs to take risks and make their way with limited resources.

He provides insight into how dreamers from all walks of life can turn adversity into success with effort, creativity, and focus. An inspirational read for anyone looking for the courage to pursue their dreams without requiring capital.

8. Company Of One: Why Staying Small Is The Next Big Thing For Business

By Paul Jarvis

Book Summary: Author Paul Jarvis delves into an inspiring argument that challenges the conventional notion that growth is always the best path to success.

Drawing upon his own experience as a small business owner, Jarvis cogently argues that aspiring entrepreneurs do not need to expand their businesses to be successful, but rather can stay as a one-person shop and still reap the rewards such as financial stability, freedom from bureaucracy, and enhanced creativity.

He provides countless examples of how individuals have opted for the ‘company of one’ approach and gathered lucrative financial benefits over time. It is an inspiring book for entrepreneurs who want to establish their ventures without having to adopt the traditional frames of big business owners.

9. How To Build A Goddamn Empire

By Ali Kriegsman

Book Summary: In Ali Kriegsman's book “How to Build a Goddamn Empire”, the author combines elements of business strategy, personal branding, and ambition to provide readers with an actionable guide for achieving entrepreneurial success.

She emphasizes building relationships with peers, advocating for yourself, and having an unstoppable drive as hallmarks of effective leadership. Kriegsman encourages entrepreneurs to actively involve their networks, seek out diverse perspectives, and be hungry for knowledge.

Her own experiences form the core of this guidebook on achieving big goals using grit and resilience. Ultimately, Kriegsman provides readers with the steps required to forge a path through complexity and successfully build something that can stand out in the crowd.

10. The Long-Term Capital Gain Tax Cut: How to Accelerate Wealth Creation And Boost Economy

By William G. Gale, Kevin J. Hassett

Book Summary: The book is an eye-opening analysis of the economic effects of a long-term capital gains tax cut. The authors argue that a reduction in the long-term capital gains tax can be beneficial for both individuals and businesses, providing new investment opportunities and creating incentives for increased economic growth overall.

They examine how a lower rate might impact wealth creation, innovation, and job creation, as well as potential changes in income distribution. The book provides a comprehensive assessment of the potential benefits of reducing this type of taxation while pointing out reasonable caveats in case it is unwisely implemented.

11. Edge: Turning Adversity Into Advantage

By Laura Huang

Book Summary: Edge: Turning Adversity Into Advantage is a brilliant work of non-fiction by bestselling author, Laura Huang. In this book, Huang takes the reader on a journey as she discusses how to effectively use adversity and uncertainty as an entrepreneur and leader.

She brings her experience and research to light with each chapter passionately detailing the insight of using all forms of discomfort to your advantage. With helpful exercises, the goal is for readers to recognize the power within their struggles and pivot them into actionable growth opportunities for themselves and their businesses.

12. The 4-Hour Workweek

By Timothy Ferriss

Book Summary: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is an invaluable guide to escaping the 9-5 grind and achieving financial freedom through creative lifestyle design. The book outlines practical strategies for reducing tedious daily tasks and automating systems so we can perfect our craft and enjoy the free time that follows.

Through stories of his successes, Ferriss introduces a method of increasing efficiency and taking control over your life with the 'DEAL' method which stands for Define, Eliminate, Automate, Leverage. The 4-Hour Work Week is a must-read for anyone looking to apply effective time management practices to pursue their dreams with less stress but maximum reward.

13. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide To Getting The Right Things Done

By Peter Drucker

Book Summary: The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker is an important book for business professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs who are striving to increase their productivity and effectiveness in decision-making.

This must-read guide offers practical advice on how to identify what is important, plan and organize effectively and make decisions with certainty.

Drawing from several decades of his pioneering work on management issues, Drucker explains the five essential principles of successful executive leadership: focus on contribution; build on strengths; concentrate on the few major areas where one can make a difference; make effective decisions quickly and make the execution of plans the primary mission.

14. Rework

By Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Book Summary: Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson provides a fresh perspective on the traditional approaches to running a business. The book is sprinkled with actionable advice and counterintuitive wisdom to show entrepreneurs how they can be successful without a large team or expensive equipment.

It dispels long-held beliefs such as the idea that a business must have many employees, costly offices, budgets, and formal plans. Aspiring entrepreneurs are given valuable insight on topics such as learning from mistakes, creating minimum viable products, dominating niche markets, and testing ideas quickly. Ultimately, Rework provides readers with an alternative set of tools to achieve better results with less hustle.

15. The $100 Startup

By Chris Guillebeau

Book Summary: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is an inspiring read, recounting stories of individuals who were able to make their dreams come true by carving out a livelihood mainly through their determination and initiative.

This book helps readers realize that working for yourself doesn't require a lot of money upfront. It reveals the secrets of creative entrepreneurs who make it happen with practical advice on turning ideas into action. This book explains the techniques needed to launch a business from scratch, techniques in product development and pricing, savvy marketing techniques, and much more.

With plenty of case studies drawn from remarkable individual successes in niche markets as well as mainstream businesses, this guide offers aspiring entrepreneurs with invaluable guidance for getting their projects off the ground with potentially minimal resource cost.

16. The Art Of The Start

By Guy Kawasaki

Book Summary: The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki is a comprehensive guide for aspiring entrepreneurs. It provides readers with step-by-step advice for defining their mission, crafting a business plan, and raising capital; as well as developing a team, creating partnerships, and launching the venture.

The book dissects the start-up process into easy-to-follow segments, complete with case studies that demonstrate its usefulness in real-life circumstances. Kawasaki also covers creating successful marketing strategies, engaging customer service, and ensuring groundbreaking innovation to succeed in today’s ever-changing market.

All of this is shown from his veteran perspective from working at some of the world’s biggest companies to being an early Apple employee. The Art of the Start not only offers insightful information but valuable knowledge that prepares readers to make smarter decisions to shape great ideas into impressive businesses.

17. Starting A Business QuickStart Guide

By Ken Colwell

Book Summary: Starting a Business QuickStart Guide provides readers with a comprehensive overview of the process of starting and managing a business. The book is divided into five sections: Planning and Research, Financing, Legal Matters, Operations and Management, and Growth Strategies.

Each of these steps is discussed in detail as it relates to forming a new venture and how to operate it for maximum effectiveness. Along the way, readers will gain insight into developing marketing strategies, setting up accounting systems, raising capital from investors or lenders, legal considerations related to franchising or trademarks, setting up networks with suppliers and customers, and more.

The book also provides concrete examples with interviews from successful entrepreneurs that describe their own experiences even in failure. This helpful guide is an invaluable asset to those who wish to take their idea from concept through to post-launch management.

18. Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap, And Others Don’t

By Jim Collins

Book Summary: "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don’t" is a comprehensive guidebook by Jim Collins that explores the core concepts behind why some companies succeed where others fail. In it, he seeks out evidence-based solutions on how to turn businesses around and makes a case for why some thrive while others just survive.

He takes a deep dive into the culture of ‘Great’ companies and offers insights into what leaders must do to ensure success -translating his research into actionable tactics that managers can implement.

Overall, "Good to Great" provides valuable advice on how policy shifts, decision-making models, and leadership development processes can set your organization on a path of sustainable growth and success.

19. Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead Of Big

By Bo Burlingham

Book Summary: Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big is a unique book that looks at the exciting path organizations can take when they choose to focus on what makes them great instead of expanding for the sake of growth.

By examining a selection of organizations that have resisted the pressure to grow, author Bo Burlingham shows how these companies prioritize qualities like community involvement, excellent customer service, and strong cultures.

He takes an in-depth look at how each business chooses to stay small by design, the management decisions required to do so, and most importantly, how this approach leads to success and satisfaction amongst company owners, employees, and customers alike.

20. Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps To Becoming Financially Whole

By Tiffany Aliche

Book Summary: In her book "Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole" Tiffany Aliche offers a comprehensive approach to financial wellness. Through 10 simple steps drawn from her own experience, she presents readers with the practical tools and mental attitude they need to make informed decisions about their money.

Step by step, she sets up a path designed not only to improve people's financial awareness and goals but also to build positive relationships with money, showing them how to manage it confidently. Along this journey, Aliche shares valuable tips on how to set budget guidelines and start saving for emergency funds and investments.

In addition, she provides advice on how to incur debt properly as well as how to rebuild credit portfolios if needed. Ultimately, this book serves as a guide that can help anyone achieve financial freedom while leading a meaningful life of their design.


As a small business owner, you must educate yourself on all aspects of running a business. The books listed above provide valuable insights and tips that will help you build and grow your small business.

We also help small businesses build and grow their businesses. If you need assistance with your marketing, branding, or website, contact us. We'd love to discuss how we can help you.


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