Business Book

My Absolutely Must-Read Business Book

Thirteen successful business owners reveal their #1 absolute must-read business books to help fuel your business growth.

What’s Your #1 Favorite Business Book, And Why?

This was the question posed to 13 successful business owners. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.  

1. The Art of the Start

Guy Kawasaki’s “The Art of the Start” is an amazing business book, whether you are just starting your business, or have been in business for a few years. He walks through all of the essentials of building a successful business. I found the most useful “how to” topics to be: how to prep for meetings, set goals, build strong partners and manage cash-flow. There’s plenty more too! —Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

2. E-Myth Revisited

I’m a non-fiction reading nerd, so it’s tough to narrow down. “The E-Myth Revisited” was one of the first books I read on business and really helped to lay a proper foundation for creating a business that can run without you. It takes what are seemingly common sense ideas and lays them out in ways that help guide you to correct your missteps. —Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments

3. The War of Art

Steven Pressfield is a pure genius when it comes to breaking through barriers and overcoming fear. Resistance in business is what holds us back from our life as an artist. This book will teach you how to battle your resistance and master your business. —Erica Dhawan, Erica Dhawan, LLC

4. The Pumpkin Plan

If I had Mike Michalowicz’ book before I started my business, I have a feeling I wouldn’t have as many challenges. Mike breaks down the formula for growing a super giant pumpkin business, and it applies no matter what type of service or product business you start. —Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

5. The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive

Patrick Lencioni’s “Four Obsessions” is a must-read for anyone who leads an organization. Running a growing business gets complicated very quickly, and this book provides a delightfully simple framework — truthfully, only four things! — to help a leader stay laser-focused on the most vital components of building a healthy and successful company. —Josh Allan Dykstra, Strengths Doctors

6. Ready, Fire, Aim

It turns out that we started our business with the “Ready, Fire, Aim” philosophy by accident — we sold a concept to a client, then built a business and technology around it. It’s refreshing to read a book that outlines often overlooked advice about running a successful business by focusing more energy on selling rather than trying to get every last detail of the product perfect first. —Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

7. The Black Swan

Part philosophy, part business, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s New York Times best-selling book “The Black Swan” is one of my favorite business books. I read it at an early age, and it was a formative book for me about risk-taking, entrepreneurship, and success in business and life. It’s a dense read, but I highly recommend it for a thoughtful thesis on what it means to be an entrepreneur. —Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

8. Anything You Want

Derek Sivers is so under-appreciated in the business world. He literally is one of the most perfect entrepreneurs alive today. He’s intuitive, charismatic, and extremely benevolent. His book highlights his journey to his imminent success with CDBaby. Along the way, he provides insight on what worked and what didn’t, which truly makes it one of the more actionable books I’ve ever read. —Logan Lenz, Endagon

9. The Lean Startup

My favorite business book is “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. It offers a refreshing look at how to build a business and have a successful launch. One of its main focuses is to identify the needs of your customer base as you create your product or service, instead of putting an idea together and then looking for customers. It also provides tips on how to reduce how much you need to fund a startup. —Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

10. The 4-Hour Work Week

This book by Timothy Ferris took me from working 70 hour work weeks to 4 hour weeks. I improved my hourly rate to over $7000 per hour and eliminated the 80% of my clients generating 20% of my income and started focusing on the 20% that generate 80% of my income. Supplementary to this, I have enjoyed life to the fullest, and spent my new found time racing my porsche and traveling the world. —Zamil Hudani, Kaiser Silverman Global

11. The Hero with a Thousand Faces

It’s not a business book by any means, but Joseph Campbell’s “Hero with a Thousand Faces” is a philosophical look at life’s journey — which parallels the journey (often an isolating, lonely one) that entrepreneurs must take in building a business. It’s outside the realm of your typical business book, but a much-needed, meaningful departure that can very much be applied to the day to day. —Matt Cheuvront, Proof Branding

12. Fooled by Randomness

People usually point to Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s second book, “The Black Swan,” as the more relevant business book. I think his first book is more pertinent. We all attribute our successes to a variety of factors. This book will help you get past your biases and focus on what’s important. It also helps you recognize that we don’t have as much control over our success as we might think! —Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

13. Start-Up Nation

My favorite book is “Start-Up Nation” written by Saul Singer and Dan Senor. It tells the story of how Israel became the Silicon Valley of the Middle East even with all of the hardships the country faces. It’s an inspiring story with so much to learn from. —Ben Lang, EpicLaunch

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