23 Books You Should Read As A Business Owner

23 Books You Should Read As A Business Owner

As a business owner, there is need for personal development. One way to achieve this is by going back to school. Other ways include listening to podcast, attending seminars / workshops or even reading a book. Whichever one you choose, your focus should be on adding value to yourself daily. This article will share 23 books you should read as a business owner.

1. Give and Take by Adam Grant

This is on top of my list for books every business owner should read. Give and Take provides a counter-intuitive approach to what it takes to succeed and get ahead in life. According to Adam Grant, helping others is just as important as hard work, luck, and talent in order to achieve greater personal success. Using cutting-edge research and success stories from Hollywood to history, Grant’s book makes a compelling argument for altruism and demonstrates that in the long run, giving is the recipe for success in the corporate world.

2. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Written by founders of Basecamp, Rework contains unconventional business advice that may just be what you are looking for while running your business. The book is a quick read with hundreds of amazingly simple rules to run your business, broken down into bite-sized chapters. So, if you feel you don’t have enough time, you can easily read through this book. Also, if you need some motivation, this is the book you should read.

3. Hooked by Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover

Hooked reveals the secrets that companies use to link their products or services to the users’ daily routines and emotions. If you are looking for a how-to guide for building better products, this book should on your list. In Hooked, Nir Eyal explains the concept with examples of companies using the so-called Hook model. Hooked model is a four-step process followed meticulously by companies to subtly encourage customer behavior.

4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck makes a compelling argument, backed by academic research, for empowering ourselves by embracing our flaws and limitations. It is a humorous book with interesting anecdotes and an important life lesson you can apply daily.

5. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Work Week is filled with personal anecdotes and numerous productivity hacks. If you are not yet a business owner, the book may make you reexamine your lifestyle and motivate you to start your own business. If this is your first Tim Ferriss book, it may take you time to get acquainted to his style of writing. So, you should watch some of his videos on YouTube or subscribe to his podcast.

6. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

In “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, Kahneman explains that our mind has two systems. The first system acts instinctively and requires little effort while the second is more deliberate and requires much more of our attention. According to Kahneman, our thoughts and actions depend on which of the two systems is in control of our brain at the time. Thinking, Fast and Slow is a thought-provoking read which may make you question the major decisions you have taken in your life.


7. Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau

This book, Side Hustle, offers specific guidelines to help you design and launch a profitable side hustle without quitting your day job. If you are looking to learn the basics of starting a side business and get a taste of entrepreneurship while still working, you should read this book.

8. All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors. He is an influential marketing thought leader, and entrepreneur. All Marketers Are Liars explores the concept of storytelling and shows why it is important for marketers to tell authentic stories that resonate with consumers. According to Godin, a consumer always buys the story behind the product.

9. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

In Crushing It, Gary talks about the importance of creating a strong personal brand to achieve personal and professional freedom. The book offers both theoretical and practical advice on how to grow your personal brand on every current major social media platform. It also contains numerous examples of entrepreneurs who have used social media to grow their personal brand.

10. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains how habits are formed and how we can change them, both on an individual and on an organizational level. The book is filled with interesting findings and anecdotes to elaborate the claims. The Power of Habit is a must-read for all entrepreneurs who are looking to cultivate good habits and eliminate bad ones to run successful businesses.

11. Thrive by Arianna Huffington

In Thrive,  Huffington makes a passionate argument for redefining success. Traditionally, most people define success in terms of money and power. But Huffington makes a compelling case for a “third metric” which comprises of well-being, wisdom, and compassion. Huffington shares her own personal wake-up call at a stage in her life when she was overcome by stress and exhaustion. If you want to thrive in your professional and personal life, you need to create some room for well-being and wisdom.

12. The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

The Art of the Start is a guide to launching and making your new product, service or idea a success. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or an experienced one, you will benefit greatly from Kawasaki’s tips and insights.

13. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup is a business book that applies the concepts of lean manufacturing and agile development to the startup process. In this book, Ries explains the purpose of a startup i.e. to find a sustainable business model. Also, he talks about how validated learning is the most effective way startups can achieve sustainability.


14. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

In The Hard Things About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, draws on his own story of starting, running, and investing in technology companies to offer practical advice for navigating the toughest problems you encounter while running your own business. In this book, you will find lots of uncomfortable truths about entrepreneurship and a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in building, growing, or leading a company.

15. Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove

In Only a Paranoid Survives, Andrew shares his business philosophy and strategy that helped him steer Intel through a series of potential major disasters. He introduces the concept of strategic inflection points. This describes the moments in any business when massive change occurs. Only a Paranoid Survives is a must-read for all entrepreneurs who seek to hone their leadership skills.

16. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

In The Tipping Point, Malcolm explains why certain ideas, products, and behaviors spread like epidemics and what we can do to consciously trigger and have control over such epidemics. You will read about the three rules of epidemics and other key concepts with numerous examples to elaborate his theory.

17. Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done offers principles and proven tricks to optimize the way you work and live. David believes that only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized that we achieve remarkable results and achieve our creative potential. This book contains a gold mine of insights into strategies to boost your productivity and mental well-being. If you are looking to beat your procrastination and achieve profound results for your business, you should get a copy of  this book.

18. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

The Innovator’s Dilemma expands on the concept of disruptive technologies. In this book, Christensen demonstrates how successful companies can do everything right and still lose their hold on the market. The book draws lessons from successes and failures of leading companies, If you want to ride the wave of innovative disruption, you should follow the a set of rules that Clayton presents in this book.

19. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

In Founders at Work, Jessica Livingston reveals what went on in the early days of over 30 influential startups. The book comprises interviews of founders of innovative companies such as Apple, PayPal, Flickr, and more. You will read about the challenges these founders faced and the huge obstacles they overcame to make their ideas a reality.


20. Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne

I don’t think there can be any list without this book. It is one of my favorite business books of all time. In Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne coined the terms ‘red ocean’ and ‘blue ocean’ to describe the market universe. Red oceans are all the industries in existence today i.e. the known market space. Blue oceans, on the other hand, denote all the industries not in existence today i.e. the unknown market space, untainted by competition. The authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors, but from creating ‘blue oceans’ where a business can grow and thrive.

21. The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries

In The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, Al Ries and Laura Ries examine branding strategies from the world’s best brands to provide you with the expert insight you need to build a world-class brand. If you are serious about building a strong brand for your business, you should read this book.

22. It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier

In the book, Fried and Hansson reveal a bold strategy for creating the ideal company culture. The book is full of insights and tips for entrepreneurs. If you like to build and sustain a positive work culture where productivity can thrive, this book should be on your list.

23. Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

As you probably know, Traction is growth and the pursuit of traction is what defines a startup. In the book, Weinberg and Mares reveal nineteen different traction channels and present the so-called Bullseye framework that will help you figure out which channels will work best for your business. Traction will help you get a deeper understanding of how these nineteen different traction channels work and the three-step framework will help you choose the best traction channel for your business.

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About Emmanuel Oluwatosin

Co-founder & Publisher of AfricaX. He is interested in: Technology | Media | Startup | Business | Education. Emmanuel currently lives in Calgary, Canada with his family.

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