280 Must Read Books for Entrepreneurs

by / ⠀Startup Advice / October 17, 2011

This is a list of the top business books of all time, in no particular order. At Under30CEO we are firm believers that the secrets to success can be learned from others who have been successful before. Many of these authors have spent a lifetime learning the lessons in these books the hard way. Luckily for us, their wealth of knowledge is presented in the books below. There are no excuses–get reading…and please let us know what you think should have made the list in the comments!


  1. The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Micalowicz
  2. ReWork by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  3. Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
  4. The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick
  5. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  6. The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau
  7. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout
  8. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham
  9. The Parable of the Pipeline: How Anyone Can Build a Pipeline of Ongoing Residual Income in the New Economy by Burke Hedges
  10. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge
  11. Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
  12. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky
  13. The Simplicity Survival Handbook by Bill Jensen
  14. The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield
  15. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  16. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley & William Danko
  17. Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies by Nikos Mourkogiannis
  18. Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
  19. 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn
  20. Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich-And Why Most Don’t by Donald J. Trump and Robert Kiyosaki
  21. Upstarts: How GenY Entrepreneurs are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit from Their Success by Donna Fenn
  22. Today We Are Rich by Tim Sanders
  23. Alpha Dogs: How Your Small Business Can Become a Leader of the Pack by Donna Fenn
  24. Never Get a “Real” Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke by Scott Gerber
  25. Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business by David Siteman Garland
  26. Crush It: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
  27. Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld & David Cohen
  28. Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
  29. Bargaining For Advantage by G. Richard Shell
  30. 3-D Negotiation by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius
  31. The Intelligent Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy
  32. Illusions of Entrepreneurship by Scott A. Shane
  33. Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
  34. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers
  35. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
  36. Your Money or Your Life by Joel Dominguez & Vicki Robin
  37. Fail-Safe Investing by Harry Browne
  38. Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less by Sam Carpenter
  39. Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution by Michael Hammer and James Champy
  40. The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott
  41. Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty
  42. Green to Gold by Daniel Esty & Andrew Winston
  43. Seeing What’s Next by Clayton M. Christensen
  44. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston
  45. SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
  46. The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer
  47. Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age by Paul Graham
  48. It’s Not About The Money by Brent Kessel
  49. Work Less, Live More by Bob Clyatt
  50. iCon: Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business by Jeffery S. Young and William L. Simon
  51. The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowieki
  52. Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  53. Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
  54. Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim
  55. Bankable Business Plans by Edward Rogoff
  56. The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison by Mike Wilson
  57. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner
  58. Indispensable by Joe Calloway
  59. Lean Thinking by James Womack and Daniel Jones
  60. Bringing Nothing To The Party: True Confessions of a New Media Whore by Paul Carr
  61. Organizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar H. Stein
  62. How to Make more Money than Your Parents by Nick Tart and Nick Scheidies
  63. 12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner & James Harter
  64. Growing Great Employees by Erika Andersen
  65. Hiring Smart by Pierre Mornell
  66. Viral Loop From Facebook to Twitter, How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves by Scott Penenberg
  67. Learning from the Future by Liam Fahey & Robert Randall
  68. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Michael E. Porter
  69. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  70. Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson
  71. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
  72. Self-Directed Behavior by David L. Watson & Roland G. Tharp
  73. Lead the Field by Earl Nightingale
  74. The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn
  75. Magic of Thinking BIG by David J Schwartz
  76. Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klein
  77. Smart Choices by John S. Hammond
  78. The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz
  79. Ethics for the Real World by Ronald Howard & Clinton Korver
  80. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  81. UNmarketing by Scott Stratten
  82. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
  83. The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan by George Bradt
  84. The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig
  85. The Perfect Pitch by Jon Steel
  86. The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor
  87. Acres of Diamonds by R.H. Conwell
  88. Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun
  89. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself by John Jantsch
  90. The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence by Tom Peters
  91. The Perfect Pitch by Jon Steel
  92. The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes
  93. The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander
  94. Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun
  95. Results Without Authority by Tom Kendrick
  96. The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking by Roger Martin
  97. The Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Winslow Taylor
  98. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
  99. Accounting Made Simple by Mike Piper
  100. How to Read a Financial Report by John A. Tracy
  101. Radical Leap by Steve Farber
  102. Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
  103. The New Business Road Test by John Mullins
  104. How to Make Millions with Your Ideas by Dan Kennedy
  105. When You’re In A Traffic Jam I’m Playing Golf by Simon Thompson
  106. Pursuit of Happiness by Chris Gardner
  107. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
  108. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
  109. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  110. The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor
  111. The Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgn
  112. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done By Ram Charan
  113. The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham
  114. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
  115. My Start-Up Life by Ben Casnocha
  116. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
  117. The Functions of the Executive by Chester I. Barnard
  118. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  119. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
  120. The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
  121. Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst
  122. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
  123. Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds
  124. Show Me The Numbers by Stephen Few
  125. From The Top 100 Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter and How They Can Help You by Jack Covert and Steve Sattersten…
  126. Flow by Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi
  127. How to Be a Star at Work by Robert E. Kelley
  128. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  129. The Power of Intuition by Gary Klein
  130. What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson
  131. Chasing Daylight by Eugene O’Kelly
  132. On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
  133. The Leadership Moment by Michael Useem
  134. The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
  135. Leadership Is an Art by Max De Pree
  136. The Radical Leap by Steve Farber
  137. Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will by Tichy and Sherman
  138. Leading Change by John P. Kotter
  139. Questions of Character by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.
  140. The Story Factor by Annette Simmons
  141. Never Give In! Speeches by Winston Churchill
  142. In Search of Excellence by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.
  143. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
  144. Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove
  145. Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.
  146. Discovering the Soul of Service by Leonard Berry
  147. Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
  148. Competing for the Future by Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad
  149. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD
  150. Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout
  151. A New Brand World by Scott Bedbury with Stephen Fenichell
  152. Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
  153. Zag by Marty Neumeier
  154. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
  155. How to Become a Rainmaker by Jeffrey J. Fox
  156. Why We Buy by Paco Underhill
  157. The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore
  158. Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan
  159. Financial Intelligence by Karen Berman and Joe Knight
  160. The Balanced Scorecard by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton
  161. Out of the Crisis by W. Edwards Deming
  162. Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno
  163. Reengineering the Corporation by Michael Hammer and James Champy
  164. The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox
  165. The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack with Bo Burlingham
  166. First, Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
  167. Now, Discover Your Strengths by Buckingham and Clifton
  168. The Knowing-Doing Gap by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton
  169. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  170. Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono
  171. Titan by Ron Chernow
  172. My Years with General Motors by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.
  173. The HP Way by David Packard
  174. Personal History by Katharine Graham
  175. Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon
  176. Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton with John Huey
  177. The Republic of Tea by Mel Ziegler, Patricia Ziegler, and Bill Rosenzweig
  178. The Partnership Charter by David Gage
  179. Growing a Business by Paul Hawken
  180. Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
  181. The Monk and the Riddle Randy Komisar with Kent Lineback
  182. McDonald’s: Behind the Arches by John F. Love
  183. American Steel by Richard Preston
  184. The Force by David Dorsey
  185. The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
  186. When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein
  187. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  188. Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie
  189. The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley with Jonathan Littman
  190. Jump Start Your Business Brain by Doug Hall
  191. A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger Von Oech
  192. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  193. The Age of Unreason by Charles Handy
  194. Out of Control by Kevin Kelly
  195. The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida
  196. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  197. Driven by Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria
  198. To Engineer is Human by Henry Petroski
  199. The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
  200. The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins
  201. Up the Organization by Robert Townsend
  202. Beyond the Core by Chris Zook
  203. Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
  204. What the CEO Wants You to Know by Ram Charan
  205. The Team Handbook by Peter Scholtes, Brian Joiner, and Barbara Streibel
  206. A Business and Its Belief by Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
  207. Lucky or Smart? by Bo Peabody
  208. The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman
  209. Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko
  210. More Than You Know by Michael J. Mauboussin
  211. Screw It, Let’s Do It by Richard Branson
  212. Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson
  213. Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur by Richard Branson
  214. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
  215. We Are All Weird by Seth Godin
  216. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
  217. The Dip: A Little Book That Tells Us When to Quit and When to Stick by Seth Godin
  218. Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin
  219. Survival is Not Enough: Zooming, Evolution and the Future of Your Company by Seth Godin
  220. Small is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas by Seth Godin
  221. Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync by Seth Godin
  222. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
  223. All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World by Seth Godin
  224. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin
  225. The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
  226. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  227. Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing: What the Rich Invest in that the Poor and Middle Class Do Not by Robert Kiyosaki
  228. Rich Dad’s Who Took My Money?: Why Slow Investors Lose and Fast Money Wins by Robert Kiyosaki
  229. Rich Woman: Take Charge of Your Money, Take Charge of Your Life by Kim Kiyosaki
  230. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Geber
  231. E-Myth Mastery: The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company by Michael E. Geber
  232. Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies by Michael E. Geber
  233. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
  234. Great By Choice: Uncertainty Chaos and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins
  235. How the Mighty Fail: and Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins
  236. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins
  237. Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki
  238. Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki
  239. The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
  240. Rules for Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki
  241. How to Drive Your Competition Crazy by Guy Kawasaki
  242. The Macintosh Way by Guy Kawasaki
  243. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
  244. Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life by David Allen
  245. Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life by David Allen
  246. The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard
  247. Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service by Ken Blanchard
  248. Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard
  249. The Secret: What Great Leaders Know — And Do by Ken Blanchard
  250. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
  251. Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy
  252. Maximum Achievement: Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed by Brian Tracy
  253. The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success by Brian Tracy
  254. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  255. The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen Covey
  256. Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey
  257. How to Succeed With People by Stephen Covey
  258. Bounce! The Path to True Confidence by Barry Moltz
  259. You Need to Be a Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Own Business by Barry Moltz
  260. BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self Service World by Barry Moltz
  261. Unlimited Power : The New Science Of Personal Achievement by Tony Robbins
  262. Giant Steps : Author Of Awaken The Giant And Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins
  263. Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! by Tony Robbins
  264. The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell
  265. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell
  266. How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life by John C. Maxwell
  267. The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization by John C. Maxwell
  268. Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success by John C. Maxwell
  269. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker
  270. Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter Drucker
  271. The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization by Peter Drucker
  272. Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey B. Mackay
  273. Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need by Harvey B. Mackay
  274. The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World by Harvey B. Mackay
  275. Pushing the Envelope All the Way to the Top by Harvey B. Mackay
  276. Fired Up!: How the Best of the Best Survived and Thrived After Getting the Boot by Harvey B. Mackay
  277. Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
  278. Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know by Zig Ziglar
  279. Better Than Good: Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live by Zig Ziglar
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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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