Entrepreneurship can be an exceedingly difficult path, especially for individuals who have limited experience. In these situations, individuals should do everything they can to learn from the experiences of others. That way, they can avoid repeating mistakes in their own endeavors and implement successful behaviors.
One of the best ways of learning from others is through books. A number of titles have incredibly important lessons for budding entrepreneurs with explanations of how people have previously brought an idea to fruition and then nurtured the young enterprise into a thriving business.
While each entrepreneur will likely find new and unique challenges, understanding what prior business professionals have done in similar situations gives a clear advantage. Some of the top books for the modern entrepreneur include:
1. What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20
Written by Tina Seelig, What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 combines all the lessons the author has learned in an engaging read. Virtually everyone has the experience of wishing they had already learned something, especially entrepreneurs.
In the startup world, this feeling can come multiple times a day. In the book, Seelig lays out a number of important truths that can really give individuals a leg up as they start their own companies.
What makes this title so important is that it offers so many lessons that are missing in other advice books and offers a clear explanation for why they are important. For example, she recommends that entrepreneurs pretend their seed funding doesn’t exist when starting their company. While this may sound odd, she clearly explains how it can turn into a strategic advantage.
2. From Idea to Reality
Jean Paul Paulynice attempts to break down the art of organizational growth in a way that shies away from jargon and complexity in From Idea to Reality: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Meaningful Business Growth. Entrepreneurs will likely appreciate how he offers a concrete action plan for both launching and expanding a business.
All that the book asks for from its readers is some enthusiasm. This book helps individuals become more self-aware so that they can approach everyday situations strategically and start to think more about the bigger picture instead of getting caught up on the smaller details. Even experienced entrepreneurs may find some important gems about self-reflection and intentional action in this title.
3. Zero to One
The cofounder of PayPal, Founders Fund, and Palantir Technologies, author Peter Thiel uses Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future to talk about what has made him successful. The book can serve as an important resource as founders come to key crossroads and situations in which they are unsure of the best action to take.
In general, the book focuses on the importance of creativity and unconventionality. Thiel encourages individuals to break from convention and make their own rules. He also offers some very practical advice on everyday topics like sales and daily leadership.
Many of the topics covered in the book are ones that entrepreneurs tend to ignore. This is why it is such an important read, especially for people who are still early in their careers.
4. Disciplined Entrepreneurship
People who want a more academic text will likely appreciate Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup. Managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and creator of Zero to IPO Bill Aulet lays out a step-by-step guide to building a startup and creating an innovative product with the potential of securing significant market share.
Aulet teaches at the MIT Sloan School of Management, but individuals do not need to get accepted at MIT to benefit from his great lessons. Both novice and serial entrepreneurs will likely appreciate the simple, accessible steps in the book that can help them get over some hurdles that may previously have felt insurmountable.
The book puts a strong emphasis on both sustainability and innovation as the foundation of any successful startup. The author provides illustrative examples of how entrepreneurs can pursue both.
5. What It Takes
In What It Takes: How I Built a $100 Million Business Against the Odds, Raegan Moya-Jones tears down many of the false barriers to success that exist in the minds of entrepreneurs. She draws on her own story to show that grit can help anyone overcome the status quo, even people who do not have degrees from top universities.
The book outlines the importance of thinking big and, more importantly, shows people how to follow up on those ideas. While some people may think that such a book sounds like a case study, Moya-Jones writes in a way that makes people feel energized and inspired.
What It Takes is a prime choice for people who want to think outside of the box and develop the instincts that will lead them to success. Even people who have approached business development from a more traditional route will learn some important lessons about the role of guts in entrepreneurship.