The 8 Best Books for Starting a Business

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At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Books for Starting a Business:

“The best books about starting a business will teach you more about life than business”

Every day, about 1,000 people in the US will type in “How to start a business” on Google. But how many of them will actually make it? 

See, when I started my freelance writing business a few years ago I quickly realized that the available resources were lacking. I read 100s of blog posts and consumed hours of content on YouTube.

The results were underwhelming.

It wasn’t until I focused on business books written by successful men and women that the needle started to move.

And that brings me to this post. What if I had to start from scratch TODAY?

What are the best books for starting a business everyone should include in the TBR list?

8 Books for Starting a Business Everyone Should Read in 2020

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“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
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“Zero to One” by Peter Thiel
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Weight: 7.4 ounces
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“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces
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“The Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ DeMarco
  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Weight: 1 pounds
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“The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber
  • File Size: 1470 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
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“The Adweek Copywriting Handbook” by Joseph Sugarman
  • File Size: 4346 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
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“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey
  • File Size: 83674 KB
  • Print Length: 537 pages
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“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
  • File Size: 1332 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
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Before you start reading, there are a few rules I’d like to mention:

  • You don’t have to finish every business book you pick up
  • Even if you get one useful idea out of it, it was worth it
  • It’s better to read a handful of great business books than dozens of mediocre ones
  • If it’s not useful to you, discard it

Keep in mind that in this case, you’re not reading for entertainment. What you consume should offer a solution to your specific problem.

Let’s begin!

#1  “Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Best Books for Starting a Business
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Already the title of the book teaches you a very important lesson. Start with your why!

Everyone has a reason they want to start a business. Maybe you’ve spotted a problem out there that needs solving. Maybe you have a vision you want to realize.

Or, you simply want to escape the 9-5 rat race!

Whatever the case may be, Sinek will show you the way using examples of influential organizations and successful businesses.

He makes the case that there’s a roadmap, a blueprint these “Golden Circle” companies have used to reach the top.

Learn how to inspire those around and most importantly, yourself.

#2 “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel

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I bet many of you have heard of this one.

The author holds no punches when it comes to making money. He presents things the way they are, without the idealism often associated with starting a business.

One of the most important ideas inside the book is “monopoly”. 

There are a lot of negative connotations about this term, but Thiel shares a different perspective.

Essentially, every business should strive to have a monopoly in the sense that the value it brings is unique. Strive for innovation!

“The next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network”

#3 “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

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Startup companies have been all the rage during the last decade.

But it’s no secret that the majority of them have failed. Eric Ries believes that reason for that is that their founders don’t account for the massive uncertainty in the market.

The book breaks down a method that allows you to test your vision continuously while mitigating the risk.

No vanity metrics, no hollow social media “success”.

Real metrics that represent real impact.

It’s a great book for everyone looking to take the startup route and do it the right way!

#4  “The Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ DeMarco

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All my life, I was taught that saving is the way towards financial success.

Get a good job, save 10%, and by the time you’re 60 years old, you’ll have enough money to enjoy your life without worries.

DeMarco destroys this persistent narrative. He proposes a new paradigm, the “Fastlane”, where time is your enemy when it comes to getting wealthy.

In this book, you’ll learn about the path of least resistance. It doesn’t involve investing or getting a big bonus at the end of the year.

It’s about ownership and extreme wealth production. 

One of the most innovative books on this list. 

(The author also runs a forum where like-minded individuals get to discuss these ideas)

#5  “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber

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I consider this book a more practical and concise version of the (in)famous “4-Hour Work Week” by Ferris.

The subtitle reads: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

It’s very accurate because it is exactly what you’re gonna learn in this book. 

Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of micromanaging and running themselves to the ground.

Instead, the author believes that each of us has to focus on what moves the needle and that usually has to do with our innate abilities.

That way, we get to be more productive, without worrying about every little thing.

Why are you trying to code your new website? You’re not a website designer. Delegate!

#6 “The Adweek Copywriting Handbook” by Joseph Sugarman

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Have you ever considered what made you choose between two identical products?

In one word, it’s called copy!

See, people often forget that the true purpose of a business is to make sales. Sure, having a vision and striving to change the world is great.

But unless people buy what you create, what’s the point?

This is where different marketing books come into play.

Sugarman focuses on the aspect of direct response copywriting, the nitty-gritty stuff that makes people hit that precious, red “Buy Now” button.

#7 “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
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‘What this psychology book has to do with a business’, you might ask.

It has everything to do with business!

Without the right mindset or the right habits, every little hurdle might throw you off.

In fact, I’d say that your mental resilience might determine the success of your business in the long-term.

Besides, Covey has conducted an informal meta-analysis and has figured out what highly effective people do. From CEOs to athletes to successful artists.

It’s one of the best self-improvement books out there. One that can change your life.

#8  “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz

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OK. You’ve found your great idea, you’ve put in the work, and you’ve made a few sales.

Now you’re experiencing the typical business growing pains. But that’s a good problem to have!

Especially when Ben Horowitz tells you exactly what to do in order to manage your company and develop the “CEO mentality”.

Almost every business book claims that starting a business is super easy. You just have to be passionate and believe in yourself!

Ben punches you in the face from the very first chapter and outright says that starting a successful business is one of the most difficult things you’ll do in your life.

Yet, it’s also one of the most rewarding things. So, buckle up!

BONUS: “J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2020” by Barbara Weltman

Best Books for Starting a Business
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Congratulations, you’ve made your first few dollars from your business. Not bad.

Wait! It’s not all yours. About 50%-60% is for your taxes… if you’re not smart about it.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone will pay taxes. But there’s nothing more infuriating than paying more than what you owe. And that’s what happens with many people who just started their business.

Fortunately, you can mitigate a bit of damage by simply taking advantage of the different laws!

Keep in mind that your situation is unique and depending on where you live, what you read might not apply to you.

Best Books for Starting a Business

Start Today!

Here’s the thing.

Even the best books about starting a business won’t help you unless you take action today.

I’ve purposefully listed the most applicable, step-by-step, books you can find online. That way, you really won’t have any excuses.

My suggestion is to take one major idea from each book and apply it to your life for a few months.

Once you’ve integrated them, go back and pick another batch. Repeat.

Lastly, let me just say that not every business is supposed to make you a millionaire. But even a side-hustle that makes you an extra $1000 per month can be life-changing for many people.

And I’m confident these books provide you the tools you need to hit that goal!

What kind of business are you looking to start? Comment below!

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