Top 10 books recommended by successful entrepreneurs that everyone should read in 2020
If you aim to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs, reading is an invaluable skill. Books lead us into new ways of thinking, help us push through the tough times, and teach us how to become successful.
Charlie Munger said, “Go to bed every night a little wiser than you were when you got up.” and the best way for this is to read. According to research, one must daily read for 30 minutes. Experience is the best lesson in life and books are considered second best. Therefore, if you are looking for the top 10 books for entrepreneurs here’s the list:
- Purple Cow, by Seth Godin
You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. What do Starbucks and JetBlue and KrispyKreme and Apple and DutchBoy and Kensington and Zespri and Hard Candy have that you don't? How do they continue to confound critics and achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last? An exceptionally important "P" has to be added in the list of “Pricing, Promotion, Publicity” it's Purple Cow.
- The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Investors and Managers, by Warren Buffett
The book is a collection of excerpts from selected letters. It is a MUST read for anybody interested in investment, management or business in general. It not only provides, the soundest investment strategies and advice but also provides guidelines on how to run businesses with moral integrity and focus on providing value. It heavily criticizes various self-serving practises of "modern" CEOs, while at the same time not saying CEOs should not be well compensated. In other words, Buffet and by extension Berkshire demonstrate how you can actually create value and be wealthy by being honest and hardworking and not doing so on the expense of your shareholders (or customers). He also analyses several economically important historic events (e.g. the 2008 sub-prime loans situation) and explains what went wrong in those instances. The author has chosen these broad topics on which Warren Buffett have talked about to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders through the company's annual report.
- Corporate Governance
- Merger & Acquisitions
- Accounting Principles
- Business ownership
- Connect the Dots, by Rashmi Bansal
Being successful is often about being able to find the way, about being able to connect the dots between a problem and a solution. Connect the Dots is a great read about 20 entrepreneurs passionate about their ideas and motivated enough to see them through successfully from scratch, with no formal training or expertise in the field of choice, a lot of out of the box thinking and learning on field, literally connecting the dots to achieve the desired outcomes. Written in conversational form, the book is divided into three sections - Jugaad, Junoon and Zubaan. The author speaks to people from different parts of the country who have carved a niche for themselves in different areas of business.
- The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Startups that Win, by Steve Blank
Steve Blank is famous worldwide for his theory on Customer development. Whereas we all know that the high-tech world is not about technology (no it’s not; ideas and technologies are far from sufficient to explain this world), we tend to focus on products (much more important than technologies) and markets (business vs. technology). But Steve Blank explains how products can be an illusion (if never sold to customers) and how markets can be extremely dangerous if not well understood; whereas what counts are the users of products, the people which make markets, i.e. the customers. He explains how important it is to interact with potential customers iteratively even before designing and developing the product, then while developing them and be careful about a top-bottom-only analysis of the markets. You should absolutely read this if you are in a start-up mode. This may help you avoid many mistakes.
Personally would recommend it to everyone starting a startup or working on getting his or her product out in the market. It proposes a customer-centred rather than a product-centred approach, one I truly believe is the X factor in startup success.
- The Innovator’s Dilemma, by Clayton M. Christensen
This is one of the best books on innovation in the last 20 years. How startups and entrepreneurs ought to fashion their company to go against entrenched incumbents. The gist of the book is an interesting trend the author found when analyzing the industry. He found that certain innovations were "disruptive" -- meaning they changed the way a market worked, and some were "sustaining" -- meaning they were really just improvements on existing products. Christensen’s core insight/argument is that businesses fight shy of developing innovations that will
1: produce limited profits initially
2: cannibalize core, high cash flow lines
But that what look like niche technologies – Winchester drives, hydraulic backhoes, etc – improve in capability, reliability and reduce in price to the point that they entirely cannibalize the existing market, leaving the established players high and dry, with no new product lines. (In a way, he is reposing the falling rate of profit thesis.)
- How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
A well-written book about communication skills and leadership with a lot of examples, including many good folks from history. The examples are written so that the message goes across well. This was really the world's first self-help book and undoubtedly helped many people build their self-esteem. It’s an interesting guide about the interpersonal relationship, written in simple words and built on a few pillars. By implementing them, you might succeed in your daily life and career. So, if you want to influence people and be a leader this book is essential.
- To Sell Is Human, by Daniel Pink
To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it's no longer "Always Be Closing"), explains why extraverts don't make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an "off-ramp" for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds. To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink is interesting, thoughtful, analytical, well written, and, most importantly, helpful.
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't is a Management by Jim Collins
The book was published on October 16, 2001. "Greatness" is defined as financial performance several multiples had better than the market average over a sustained period. It describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition. Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck. Collins finds the main reason certain companies become great is they narrowly focus the company’s resources on their field of key competence.
- Vyapar Shastra, by Vishal Shivhare
From barter systems to global start-ups, it utterly describes both the ancient and modern business practices employed throughout the Indian trade history. Its plot is woven around the lives of local merchants and urban businessmen of India. In a distinctive section of the text, Vyapar and Parivar - one can engage oneself from the context of family businesses, mostly popular in Indian social markets. Further, it personifies the dilemmatic and constant interplay of a Vyapari between his family and business, which may lead to further conflicts or growth and thus deducts that one should know how to make Vyapar and Pariwar go hand in hand. Also, the book reveals about the persisting inheritance of the business legacies, persevered and passed from generations to generations as a tradition.
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport
In Deep Work, the author tells the story of a young consultant who automates his work responsibilities using Excel macros. He then studied computer programming to increase his worth in the workforce. The thesis is that deep work is both rare and valuable in today’s world. The rest of the book is practical advice on how to pursue deep work.