Entrepreneur Book List: 15 Books That Can Help You Be a Better Business Owner

When you look at a list of successful entrepreneur traits, one thing that should stand out to you is that many entrepreneurs are lifelong learners.

It’s common to find out that a successful business leader enjoys learning. Many of these entrepreneurs make it a point to read, or to listen to audio books and relevant podcasts. Being a successful entrepreneur requires that you acknowledge that you need to improve. Then, you get out there and learn how to do it.

If you are looking for a good place to start learning about business and life, this entrepreneur book list can help:

1. Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips

We often think of Abraham Lincoln as our greatest president. And why was that? Because he was a great leader. But it wasn’t always easy.

This book takes a look at the way Lincoln worked to create alliances, put together and managed a diverse team, and how he used persuasion to achieve his ends.

If you want a case study in how to be a leader, especially during difficult times, Lincoln on Leadership is a great choice for your entrepreneur book list.

2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

When you start looking around for good books on business, this one comes up on several lists.

That’s because The Lean Startup is all about finding products that are minimally viable. It’s also a book about using experimentation to push yourself to grow.

It provides a roadmap that can help you evaluate your business, and pivot when needed. It’s a great book that can provide you with insight into how to get moving with minimal cost.

3. The $100 Startup by Chris Gillebeau

Are you a solopreneur? Even if you’re not, you can learn a lot from The $100 startup.

This belongs on any entrepreneur book list because it offers insight into how you can get something started for a small amount of money. If you are struggling to find a business to start, or if you hope to get a side gig going and grow it into a business, this book can help set your feet on the right path.

4. The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

I just finished reading this book a couple months ago and enjoyed it. This book focuses a lot on the principles of Greek Stoicism and how you can recognize the things you can control.

If you are looking for a book to help you figure out how to overcome obstacles in your business, this is a good read. It looks at examples from successful leaders to help you see how you can turn obstacles into opportunities.

5. The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker is the name when it comes to management. If you hope to become an effective business executive, this belongs on your entrepreneur book list.

In The Effective Executive, Drucker looks at decision-making habits and time management skills that make one productive. It also looks into how you can create value for your organization and be more effective in what you do.

As an entrepreneur, this book can help you pinpoint actions more likely to help you build an effective and efficient organization, with you playing the role you should be.

6. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

This is still one of my favorite books about time management and figuring out systems. In this book, Ferriss takes you though exercises that help you figure out how to get what you want by compartmentalizing and by breaking things down.

It’s also a book about helping you figure out where you are most effective and creating systems and hiring others to do the mundane tasks that keep you from focusing on the big picture and build your business.

7. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

Mindset is one of those important things that can help you excel as a business owner. That’s why As a Man Thinketh is on this entrepreneur book list.

This book is all about understanding your thoughts and getting to know yourself. When you get a handle on your thought process and you really do know how to shape yourself for success, you are more likely to be a better entrepreneur.

8. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel is another person that we think about a lot when it comes to management and entrepreneurship inspiration.

Zero to One is a great book that can help tech entrepreneurs (and anyone, really) learn important lessons for building a business.

This book takes a look at the importance of understanding what you’re doing, and having some knowledge before you jump into a startup. It’s a book about the importance of laying the foundation before you move forward.

Zero to One also has some great insight into how you can use technology to your advantage as a starting business owner.

9. Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Dig into your psychology and figure out why it’s so difficult to move forward with changes that last. This book also helps you figure out how to tell what’s working and what’s not with your business.

When you can identify the things that aren’t working, you can get rid of them and make more time to focus on the things that do work for you and your business.

10. The E-Myth (and The E-Myth Revisited) by Michael Gerber

These books from Michael Gerber are great for helping you learn how to build systems as an entrepreneur.

One of the issues you end up with as a business owner is that so often you get bogged down in mundane tasks. In many cases, these are tasks that you do repeatedly, and that have little influence on your long-term success.

With this book, you learn about how to set up systems that can help you scale your business, and that result in you handing off some of your mundane tasks to other people so you can focus on the things that will make your business better.

11. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Zappos founder Tony Hsieh talks about creating a culture of purpose and happiness in the workplace.

Taking care of your workers and your customers, and focusing on the realities of happiness, can make a big difference in how you succeed. If you want to read about how to make your business more meaningful, and how to get more out of talented employees, this belongs on your entrepreneur book list.

12. The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank

Steve Blank took information from his courses at Berkeley’s Haas Business School and Standford University and turned it into a book.

This book is a great how-to on bringing products to market. If you want insider information on how to write a business plan or how to set up an effective marketing plan, this is a nuts and bolts book that provides great direction.

13. The ONE Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get side-tracked and try to go in all directions. The ONE Thing is all about focus. It’s about figuring out the most important task in any project and focusing on that.

It’s also a book about finding your overriding purpose and keeping that in mind. That way, you don’t get bogged down by the irrelevant.

14. Built to Sell by John Warrillow

Are you planning on creating a business you can sell later?

No matter your plans for your business, this step-by-step guide can help you create something that others will value — and maybe even pay you for.

If selling your business is part of your exit plan, this belongs on your entrepreneur book list.

15. Lucky or Smart? by Bo Peabody

Are you smart enough to know when you’re about to get lucky?

This interesting book by Bo Peabody looks at how you can create innovative solutions and have a moral heart, and use that to your advantage. This book is about being smart about how you do things, and also keeping your eyes open so you can grab opportunities as they come.