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It’s a whole new decade.
A lot has changed in the past years, from company branding to how to found a startup.
But, a lot of the advice that got us here is still relevant and effective.
Whether you made yourself some new year’s resolutions to read more books about business or you just want some entrepreneurial motivation, we’ve got just the picks for you.
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Here are our top picks for the best business books to read:
1. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
I love this guy. Simon Sinek describes himself simply as an optimist, and it shows, from his YouTube videos to his writing.
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action is an awesome read for young business professionals and entrepreneurs, particularly for its simplicity—in this book, he compares two polar-opposite methods to influence behavior: manipulation and inspiration.
Whether you’re starting a small business or becoming a new parent, Sinek discusses how to become a great leader through inspiration. He introduces us to his concept of the Golden Circle, a bullseye-shaped diagram with the question “Why?” at the center, more important than the common questions of “How?” and “What?”.
An inspiring read from an inspiring, inspired mind.
2. Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World by Rand Fishkin
As a writer for the internet, Rand Fishkin has been one of my best mentors. His weekly Whiteboard Friday SEO advice instructed me on best practices in his signature, friendly-and-helpful tone. As Julie Zhou, VP of Product Design at Facebook, puts it: “Rand Fishkin is like the industry friend we all wish we had – funny, warm, and refreshingly honest about the rollercoaster ride that is founding your own company.”
Lost and Founder is a great read for those of you waking up one day to find you’re a startup owner or those of you dreaming of starting your own business in 2021 and beyond.
Related Read: 10 Niche Social Media Networks to Join in 2022
3. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Before you dismiss this ancient tome with an “OK, Boomer,” hear me out. (Actually, Carnegie was a member of the Lost Generation, so you might say “OK, Loster,” but I digress.)
Written in 1937, this book remains one of the most important books for aspiring entrepreneurs and startup founders. It’s packed with advice that is still just as relevant today, such as:
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.
Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
And much more like that. Oh, and if you’re looking for some other inspiring passages, check out our list of motivational entrepreneurship quotes.
4. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Forbes labels it a “Must-Read Business Book for 2016” and WaPo calls it the “Leadership Book to Watch for in 2016.”
Though it’s a new decade, Grit remains just as pertinent and powerful.
In Grit, Duckworth acknowledges the strength of innate talent, but shows how passion and perseverance are the cocktail for true business success.
Related read: 50+ Best First Jobs for Students
5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
In the book Influence, an influential book if ever there was one, Dr. Cialdini explains his “6 principles of influence,” as well as how to use them in business, relationships, and everyday life.
Influence lists the “6 principles of influence” as reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. You’ll get an in-depth look at each principle, along with true-story examples and guidelines for using these principles to your business advantage.
Influence was added to the “New York Times Business Best Seller List,” Fortune Magazine’s “75 Smartest Business Books,” and CEO Read’s “100 Best Business Books of All Time.”
6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Though written in 1990, when AOL was popular and The Simpsons’ first season aired, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People remains highly effective itself in this age of artificial intelligence, machine learning, tech unicorns (and The Simpsons season 31!).
As Kozminski University Master of Business Management student Mariia Kislitsyna explains, “The book has a religious undertone that may put some people, especially in the 2020s, off. Even so, it includes timeless lessons, teaches us how to treat other people, and instructs us on how to change the world around you by first changing yourself.”
Related read: 10+ Best Job Boards
7. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is THE marketing guru of our time, and Purple Cow is his modern-day classic instructing us that the easiest products and companies to market are those that are remarkable to begin with.
As Tom Kelley, author of The Art of Innovation, puts it: “Part wake-up call, part action plan, Purple Cow shows organizations how to add distinction—and avoid extinction.”
8. You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero
The New York Times says that in this book, Sincero “guides readers through thought exercises and mantras to change how readers talk to themselves about money and unleash their ability to attain it.”
New York Magazine says You Are a Badass at Making Money is “a cheerful manifesto on removing obstacles between yourself and the income of your dreams.”
Jen Sincero is one of those success stories you hear about, going from broke to international traveler and bestselling author. In this book, she describes her story, instructs us on how to unlock our full potential, and sprinkles it all with her signature sassy writing style.
It’s a great business book that’s a pleasure to read. Great for prospective interns, as well!
Related read: 15+ Entrepreneurship Terms to Know
9. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
I know many of you may discount Malcolm Gladwell, thinking that he’s become too mainstream or his 10,000-hour rule has been disproven.
However, Outliers, where Gladwell promotes his 10,000-hour rule, is still a remarkably potent read. It offers optimism and hope for people looking to start their own business, stating that putting in the time and effort will bring about the skills and success sought.
10. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington is no stranger to success. In her book Thrive, she asks us to reconsider the modern-day, money-centric definition of the word “success.”
With a personal account of her professional life, as well as her retelling of how she tested her personal limits of exhaustion, Thrive teaches us to do just that through meditation, disconnecting from the internet, and giving to others.
11. Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life by Gary John Bishop
In Unfu*k Yourself, Gary John Bishop becomes your personal drill instructor for expanding the boundaries of your self-imposed limits.
This book aims to get rid of the toxic self-doubt, lack of motivation, and negativity keeping you down so you can “get out of your head and into your life.”
Well, that’s all our best business books for entrepreneurs to read! Got any feedback, questions, or other great books for aspiring entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!