When you search for the keyword “best business books,” this is what the Google search result looks like
All the top-ranking results give you lists, ranging from 7 to a whopping 101 business books.
The problem with these lists is that they miss the point.
You can’t learn all there is to running a successful business by just reading business books ( & nobody is actually going to read 101 business books. It just doesn’t make sense )
In our digital economy, aspiring/existing entrepreneurs need to learn how to think, how to learn, how to write, how to build good habits, how to be creative and how to maintain composure in turmoil & much more.
No single business book addresses all of these topics.
But this does not mean that business books are useless.
Our point is that aspiring/existing entrepreneurs also need to read books on thinking, writing, stoicism (a practical ancient greek philosophy), productivity, habits, creativity, psychology & more apart from the regular business/startup books.
So what we’ve done is created a list of books that cover both categories — business books and non-business books from which entrepreneurs can indirectly benefit.
We’ve drawn inspiration from the idea that you only need to read three books on any particular topic to build an above-average understanding of that field.
But at times, we will break the three book rule, not because rules are meant to be broken, but because giving ourselves that tad bit of flexibility will make the list more useful.
Let’s dive in. We hope you love our list.
PS: The must-read startup, business & business strategy books are at the end of the list. Don’t miss them.
Note: If you have a strong point of view regarding adding or subtracting books, we’re all ears. Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]
4 Books on Writing
1. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Read my ‘On Writing Well’ Book Summary here.
2.The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., E.B. White
Read my ‘Elements of Style’ Book Summary here.
3. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
4. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life by Anne Lamott
3 books on Physcology
1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
2. Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini
3. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
3 books on Stoicism
1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
2. A Manual for Living by Epictetus
3. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity by Ryan Holiday
3 books on Productivity
1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Read my ‘Deep Work’ Book Summary Here.
2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
3. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
2 books on Habits
1. Atomic Habits by James Clear
2. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
3 books on Creativity
1. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
2. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
3. Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull
2 books that make a case for being a polymath
1. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
2. The Polymath: Unlocking the Power of Human Versatility by Waqas Ahmed
3 Books on Mental Models
1. The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts by Shane Parish
Read my ‘Great Mental Models: Volume 1’ summary here.
2. The Great Mental Models, Volume 2: Physics, Chemistry and Biology by Shane Parish
3. Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg
3 books by Basecamp
1. Rework by Jason Fried
2. It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hanson
3. Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters by Ryan Jinger & Jason Fried
Goodreads Rating: 4.41/5 ( 798 ratings ) as of 7th August 2020
Read my ‘Shape Up’ Book Summary Here.
1. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
3. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
4. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
2 book on Successful Corporations
1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Night
2. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
Read my ‘The Everything Store’ Book Summary here.
2 books on Design
1. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
2. How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (every Once in a While) Change the World by Michael Bierut
4 Startups Books
1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
2. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
3. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
4. Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis
Read my ‘Company of One’ Book Summary Here.
3 Business Books
1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
2. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
3. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Warren Buffet
3 Business Strategy Books
1. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
2. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by James C. Collins
3. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M.Christensen