8 of the Top Reads for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

By: Keith Krach

The digital age is an exciting era for aspiring entrepreneurs, with businesses taking shape in emerging and evolving markets at an unprecedented rate. In fact, an editor at Inc.com referred to 2015 as the “year of the entrepreneur,” and this trend appears to be continuing. As such, future startup leaders might be wondering how they can best prepare to launch their company during this unusual time. One suggestion is simply to stay informed by reading as much as possible.

Reading is the tried-and-true method for investing in self-improvement. No matter what industry a person is interested in, there are at least a dozen titles out there to give readers an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Other books offer more general — though equally valuable — insight on what it takes to make a stake on the market.

The following is a brief list of helpful books for first-time startup owners and seasoned entrepreneurs alike:

1. Rework — Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Business experts and entrepreneurs as diverse as Seth Godin and Mark Cuban have given Rework their stamp of approval. Through a series of short and pointed chapters, the book gives readers insights that challenge traditional practices, such as multi-tasking and holding meetings. The authors argue instead for focusing on a single task at a time and not rushing through any task that’s worth doing.

2. The Lean Startup — Eric Ries

As the subtitle states, this book sets out to show “How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.” Ries presents a set of guidelines on topics ranging from accelerated scientific experimenting to stepwise structural modifications, all of which are designed to enable companies to keep up with the pace of the market. The Lean Startup also gives advice on how to leverage the time-tested principles of lean manufacturing to make dreams become reality.

3. Disrupt You! — Jay Samit

Jay Samit, an author revered by many, focuses on the entrepreneur as an individual in this book. He drives home the importance of introspection in finding a voice that will stand out in the competition. In effect, Samit proposes that disruption must start with the business leader and his or her self-perception so that she or he can, in turn, disrupt the market. While Disrupt You! emphasizes online business ventures, the book’s principles can easily apply to a broader range of companies.

4. The Founder’s Dilemmas — Noam Wasserman

Clayton Christensen first talked about dilemmas faced by innovators, and Noam Wasserman directs his attention to those faced specifically by founders. He bases his observations on research completed at Princeton University, where he studied how startups go wrong. Through a variety of examples, Wasserman gives readers advice on how to anticipate and avoid unnecessary obstacles in their business pursuits.

5. Big Bang Disruption — Larry Downes and Paul Nunes

This 2014 title is yet another nod to the work of Clayton Christensen, but it differs in that it questions the relevance of previous conceptions of disruption. Against the backdrop of the current digital landscape, Downes and Nunes discuss the head-spinning speed with which any given product, service, or market can become obsolete.

Consumers drive this change as they demand better value for their money. The authors give a comprehensive analysis of this reality coupled with various suggestions on how to strategize “in the Age of Devastating Innovation.”

6. The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster — Darren Hardy

Subtitled “Why Now Is the Time to #JoinTheRide,” The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster by Darren Hardy looks into the importance of balancing emotions during the up-and-down journey of starting a new company. In the book, Hardy makes the case for emotion being a leading hindrance to an entrepreneur’s success. He also provides a few techniques for keeping fear and doubt at bay, as well as ideas for how to move past rejection.

7. Bold — Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Entrepreneurs wanting to “Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World” should pick up a copy of Bold. In this tome, Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis explore the nuances that are unique to the age of connection and what those mean for starting a new company that will take off. In this book, described by some as a manifesto, startup leaders will gain insight into maximizing the resources that are so obviously available that many people miss them. Drawing on historical comparisons, Kotler and Diamandis paint a picture of opportunity for anyone willing to chase after it.

8. The School of Greatness — Lewis Howes

Business writer Lewis Howes aims to help his readers achieve lasting greatness through a coherent series of anecdotes. His curriculum in The School of Greatness, which he compiled from interviews he conducted with successful business professionals, zeroes in on the essential pairing of dreams and goals, which he views as two important but separate elements. Howes also discusses how the dream-goal combination can serve as an invaluable resource to those going through any form of adversity.