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Five books every entrepreneur must read

Running a business comes with hiring the right people, polishing the acquired skills and learning new ones at the same time, and most importantly– taking in the good and bad days with the same level of motivation. So where does an entrepreneur go to seek motivation in the bad days? The easiest source is diving into an inspiring book. 

After all, there are so many success stories to learn from, that can uplift you on your bad days, and remind you why you chose this path. 

Today, Entrepreneurship 101 lists books that form helpful guides for days both high and low, and will help you tread the entrepreneurial path better. 

Zero To One

This book by renowned entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, along with Blake Masters, has often been hailed as the first book every entrepreneur must read before embarking on their journey. 

Recommended by the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, Zero To One  presents a new way of thinking about innovation. It makes the reader ask questions and find values in places least expected. 

As the name suggests, the book focuses on creating something new, something that the world has never seen before — it is about being one who does not get into a rat race with their competitors, but one who focuses on creating unique businesses that escape competition. 

The blurb reads: 

“The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry page or Serget Brin won’t make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them…It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new, doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more to something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there.” 


How To Win Friends And Influence People 

Probably one of the first self-help books in history, How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie might have been written in the 1930s but it continues to hold value even today. Ranked as one of the international bestselling books of all time, it has been translated into 31 languages. 

Through this book, Carnegie provides practical advice on dealing with people and understanding them. As the title suggests, reading this book will help readers deal with people better. Carnegie was of the opinion that great leaders are the ones who can express their ideas, assume leadership, and make people enthusiastic about a mission or goal. He, thus, teaches these same skills through this book by dividing it into six parts:

  • Fundamentals techniques in handling people 
  • Six ways to make people like you 
  • How to win people to your way of thinking
  • Be a leader: How to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment 
  • Letters that produced miraculous results 
  • Seven rules for making your home life happier 


Why We Sleep 

We have already established the importance of resting well. Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams is written by Matthew Walker, the Director of UC Berkeley (Centre for Human Sleep Science). The book is focused on explaining how not getting  8-hours of shut-eye can degrade one’s quality of life. Neglecting sleep not only affects one’s creative and decision-making abilities, but also leads to memory loss, degraded heart and mental health, disrupts the immune system, and can even shorten one’s life span. 

This book is the ultimate motivator for entrepreneurs who often up ignoring their rest and sleep cycles. It is a reminder to pause and get a good night’s sleep in order to perform well the following day. 

In fact, entrepreneur Bill Gates shared a note on this book where he writes: 

“It took me a little longer than usual to finish Why We Sleep– ironically, because I kept following Walker’s advice to put down the book I was reading a bit earlier than I used to, so I could get a better night’s sleep. But Walker taught me a lot about this basic activity that every person on Earth needs. I suspect his book will do the same for you.” 


7 Habits Of Highly Effective People 

This self-help book by Stephen R Covey guides business people to effectively attain their goals by aligning themselves with goals based on character and personality ethic-based principles. Covey writes that entrepreneurs can be their effective best if they are able to balance their goals with care, which helps them attain their goals. 

Additionally, this book also talks about the importance and values of timeless principles — courage, fairness, integrity, honesty, human dignity, and sense of justice. As the name suggests, it discusses seven essential habits every individual must adopt to lead a fulfilling life: 

  • Be proactive 
  • Begin with the end in mind 
  • Put first things first 
  • Think win-win 
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood 
  • Synergise 
  • Sharpen the saw   


The Hard Things About Hard Things 

The Hard Things About Hard Things: Building A Business When There Are Easy Answers is written by Ben Horowitz about the challenges he encountered during his journey as the founder and CEO at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the most sought-after venture firms in the world. 

Going back to where we began, many believe that starting up is the most difficult leap. In this book, Holowitz talks about how it is all the more challenging to keep a business going. It is an account of the entrepreneur on selling, buying, managing, and investing in and mentoring tech companies. 

The Hard Things About Hard Things is a first-hand account of Horowitz journey where he shares practical tips on dealing with the most difficult challenges of the entrepreneurial journey. 


Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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