A lot of successful people sit down at some point and write a book about their success. Many of us don’t give it a lot of thought, but we probably should, because it’s kind of a gift. Just because someone is one of the smartest, busiest, most successful people on the planet, doesn’t mean we can’t pick their brains, every day. Often for ten bucks or less. Sometimes for free.You may be able to pick a lock with a credit card, but with a library card, you can pick brains. Click To Tweet
You can spend your evenings soaking up the wisdom of anyone from Richard Branson or Anita Roddick to Oprah Winfrey or Arianna Huffington. So why wouldn’t you?
If someone super smart has distilled their wisdom into a book, don’t waste a priceless opportunity.
Disclosure: Links in this post (and anywhere on The Savvy Solopreneur) may be affiliate links. Find out what that means here.
Best books for entrepreneurs – The ultimate reading list
Work your way through my reading list, or start with what seems most relevant to you right now. Remember, if you buy books through these links I may earn a commission. Find out what that means here. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a country with a decent public library system, a lot of this wisdom is yours for exactly $0. (Don’t forget to ask about interlibrary loans if you live in a small town with limited stock.)
All the links here lead to the book’s Amazon page so you can check out more details and reviews. Most books on Amazon have a ‘look inside’ feature so you can read a sample of the book (usually the first chapter or so) before committing. Links should open in a new window.
If you’re lucky enough to own a device you can read books on, many of these books will be cheapest in the Kindle version, which means you have the added bonus that you can be reading them less than a minute from now. No Kindle? You can read Kindle books using the FREE Kindle Reading App on most devices (just click that link to download).
If you’re reading on Kindle a lot, you might also want to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (there’s a 30-Day Free Trial right now) as you’ll then get access to over a million books (and thousands of audio books) for a low monthly flat fee. So here we go. Here’s your reading list.
Five great books for new online entrepreneurs
These are on my bookshelf and getting dog-eared. They get a lot of use. I like them so much I gave them their own separate post Five Books That Will Fuel Your Online Business Success (that link will open in a new window, so you won’t lose this list if you check it out).
Crush It! Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath
Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.g by Scott Stratten
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
Delivering Happiness:A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
More books to get your brand new business off the ground
The start-up phase is never an easy one. Use these books in the planning stages to help you get it right from the very beginning
The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups From Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder
True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George and Peter Sims
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
Born For This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris Guillebeau
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
Learning from the super successful
It’s easy to assume that mere mortals don’t get to spend time with Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey, but you can. It’s as easy as cracking open a book. Get deep inside the minds of successful people with these books.
Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson
What You See Is What You Get: My Autobiography by Alan Sugar
What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey
Great books for social entrepreneurs
Want to start a business that also makes the world a better place? Start with these. Anita Roddick’s story of how (and why) she started The Body Shop is an old one (I think it’s one of the first business books I ever read) but still relevant.
Body and Soul: Profits with Principles – The Amazing Success Story of Anita Roddick & The Body Shop by Anita Roddick
Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Great books for female entrepreneurs
Sometimes being a girlpreneur (or should that be womanpreneur?) comes with it’s own specific challenges. It’s certainly interesting to get a successful woman’s perspective on things sometimes.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr
#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Great books about productivity
Productivity is, in many ways, the cornerstone of success. It doesn’t matter what you’re creating. If it takes you forever to bring it to market, no-one is ever going to know about it. These are my very favourite books on productivity.
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran
The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less by Greg McKeown
The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch
The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life by Leo Babauta
Books that aren’t just about business but will fuel your success in every area
Sometimes being successful at your business is linked to being successful at life. These books will help you do so much more than run a thriving business.
The Greatness Guide: 101 Lessons for Making What’s Good at Work and in Life Even Better by Robin Sharma
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
The best of the rest
So. Many. Books. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be adding to this list over time (so feel free to bookmark this page or Pin it to return to later). Every month I read at least one more book that will help me live a better life and/or run a better business. These are just a few more that I couldn’t leave off the list.
Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do by Matthew Syed
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future by Seth Godin
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
The Revenue Growth Habit: The Simple Art of Growing Your Business by 15% in 15 Minutes Per Day by Alex Goldfayn
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy
Outliers:The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything: The Why of Why Your Business Isn’t Making More Money by Suzanne Evans
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
The Power of Habit:Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
What Would Google Do? Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World by Jeff Jarvis
What are you waiting for? These are people worth having a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) with. Pour yourself one, start reading and pick some of the best business brains around.
Like to learn while you drive, run or work out? Me too. Right now you can get a free trial of Amazon’s Audible and get two free audiobooks.
One last thing about reading. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time. The folks over at Mentor Box have a solution for that. Their subscription service selects amazing books, on the topics of business, career, wealth, networking, leadership, influence, and more. Then supplies you with speed-reading cheat sheets, audio summaries, video lectures, and college-style classes by the authors summarizing their own books for you. Oh and a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t love their service. Check them out here.
Want to grab a FREE printable workbook and other goodies for solopreneurs? Just let us know where to send it. You’ll also get my monthly newsletter with tips, freebies, special offers and links to free tools and resources.