Top 10 Books for Startup Entrepreneurs

Top 10 Books for Startup Entrepreneurs

In Books, Insights, Startup Stories by Adam

Are 10 classic books more valuable than 100 normal books? Here we summarize ten of the best books for Startup Entrepreneurs.

Part 1: Books on Why Become an Entrepreneur

#1. The 4-Hour Workweek

What it’s about: Despite its gimmicky title, The 4-Hour Work Week is perhaps the best book ever written for first-time entrepreneurs. It deals with everything from improving your efficiency, to outsourcing tasks and finding products to sell for profit.

Best Lesson: The 80/20 Principle (Pareto’s Law) states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. For example:

  • 20% of your customers = 80% of your profits
  • 20% of your products = 80% of your problems

Very often, the 80/20 rule is more extreme, becoming a 90/10 rule or 99/1 rule. This allows one to focus more time on what matters, and less time on what doesn’t. 

#2. Think & Grow Rich

What it’s about: Published in 1937, Think and Grow Rich is one of the best-selling books of all time. Its author, Napoleon Hill, interviewed hundreds of the most successful people from his era, to know the common traits of their success.

Best Lesson: It is often said that “A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step” and this book emphasises the power of the first step in many ways. Make action plans for today, rather than for this year.

Part 2: Books on How to Find your Business Idea

#3. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

What it’s about: If you can’t be first in your market, then create a new market!

Best Lesson: In general, market leaders are dominant by a wide margin so it’s better to make a new category for your company, than to compete in an existing one.

  • Charles Lindbergh is known as the first person to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo, while Amelia Earhart is known as the first woman to do so.
  • Miller Lite was the first light beer in the United States. So, Amstel light became marketed as the first imported light beer.
  • IBM was first for computers. DEC was first in minicomputers.

#4. Zero to One

What it’s about:  Be first in your market. Monopoly is better than competition.

Best Lesson: In 2012, the average American airline company made a profit of only 37 cents per passenger, because of a pricing war with competitors. Google, meanwhile, made more profit than all of these companies combined because of its lack of competitors in the search engine market.

#5. Influence

What it’s about: Influence is about the six principles of marketing: Reciprocation, Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, Scarcity. Its intention is to educate consumers, as well as ethical marketers.

Best Lesson: I love this book because it demonstrates its marketing principles with often hilarious stories. For example:

  • Bartenders put money in their tip jars, to make it seem like everyone else is giving them money. So, we feel guilty if we don’t tip them.
  • Hare Krishna society members often give you a ‘gift’ of a free flower, before asking you for a donation. As we feel bad taking a free gift, we are more likely to donate in return.
  • Often, nightclubs leave a long queue outside on purpose, so the club looks busier than it actually is. This makes people want to enter even more.
  • Real estate companies intentionally bring their clients to terrible houses, before showing them what they really want to sell. This way, the last house looks much more appealing.

Part 3: Books on How to Sell

#6. Fanatical Prospecting

What it’s about: Fanatical Prospecting is the ultimate guide for Starting Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, and Cold Calling.

Best Lessons: Two:

  1. The telephone is, has always been, and will continue to be the most powerful sales prospecting tool.
  2. Work in blocks: An hour for calls with no distractions, an hour for emails with no distractions, etc. This is incredible for one’s productivity.

#7. The Way of the Wolf

What it’s about: Sell me this pen!

Best Lessons: As a salesperson, you must be:

  1. Sharp as a tack
  2. Enthusiastic as hell
  3. An authority or force to be reckoned with.

You should also ensure that:

  1. The prospect must love your product.
  2. The prospect must trust and connect with you.
  3. The prospect must trust and connect with your company.

Part 4: Books on Self Improvement

#8. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

What it’s about: This is a life changing book, which lists seven habits including proactiveness, planning and positive thinking as the keys to success.

Best Lesson: Self-responsibility is the main key to success. While there are many things in life we can’t control, there are much more things we can can take action on and responsibility for. We have to focus on improving ourselves first, before complaining about external factors that we can’t control.

#9. How to Win Friends & Influence People

What it’s about: Considered to be one of the most influential books of all time, Dale Carnegie’s 1936 classic has transformed the lives of millions of people, in very positive ways.

Best Lesson: No matter how bad you may feel at times… If you start a conversation with positive comments, it is far more likely to go well.

#10. The Four Hour Body

What it’s about: The 4-Hour Body shows you how to hack your health: to gain or lose weight, in terms that anyone can understand. 

Best Lesson: When you are at your best physically,  you will be happier and you will be more productive. A successful entrepreneur should strive to have three things – health, wealth and happiness.

When I first got this book, I did not expect it to change my life in the way it did. In fact, I wasn’t looking forward to reading it at all, as it had a massive 592 pages which I expected to be full of scientific jargon and impossible-to-follow diet instructions.

However, it’s not like that all all. From its very beginning, The Four Hour Body instructed me to read only 70 pages based on the weight loss I wanted to achieve. Then, I lost 10 kilograms in a matter of weeks, by going to the gym and following these very simple and broad guidelines from Tim’s Slow-Carb Diet:

  • Avoid eating anything that is white, or can be white, such as Bread, Rice, Cereal, Potatoes, Pasta and Spaghetti (important exceptions are eggs and cauliflower). Also avoid eating fruit.
  • Do eat the same meals again and again. They should consist of Proteins, Legumes and Supplementary Vegetables:
    • Proteins: Eggs, Chicken Breast, Beef, Fish, Pork, etc
    • Legumes: Lentils, Black Beans, Borlotti Beans, Red Beans, Soya Beans, etc
    • Supplementary Vegetables: Spinach, Mixed Vegetables, Sauerkraut, Peas, Green Beans, Asparagus, Broccoli, etc
  • Drink water, tea and coffee (without milk or sugar) and have a cheat day once a week.