10 Business Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Business advice
Estimated read time: 4 mins
Published: 23/08/2018

Delving into business books can be a brilliant way to stay open-minded and enthusiastic about your enterprise – a chance to learn from the been-there, done-thats of the world.

They enable you to be a) productive while taking a screen break b) a strategic thinker, without a SWOT diagram, and c) inspired and challenged, in ways you didn’t expect.

Whether you want to read on a sun lounger, during that commute to a client, or over a long weekend, here’s a selection of books our Work.Life members recommend:

  1. Buffett The Biography by Roger Lowenstein

Formerly the world’s richest man, Warren Buffett continues to fascinate start-ups and stockbrokers alike due to his meteoric rise and seemingly ‘Midas’ touch when it comes to buying shares. This book digs into the man as well as the business, highlighting how a single-minded approach and strategy can lead to plenty of these: $$$$.

Best for: Statisticians, lone wolves and those who want to be really, really, rich.

2. Write The Perfect Business Plan by Polly Bird
A ‘teach yourself’ book with straightforward steps towards the creation of that most persuasive of documents: a business plan. It’s strong on developing a roadmap for future years, and our members have found the sample plan with financial forecast particularly useful.

Best for: Those seeking to stay focused, about to see bank managers and investors, or dreamers who could do with a dose of reality when it comes to the numbers.

3. Brilliant Checklists For Entrepreneurs by Robert Ashton
Offers a ‘shortcut to success’ through a series of top 10 tips covering everything from sales to cash flow. Sections can be scanned in a minute or considered for much longer.

As one Work.Lifer tells us: “If you like bullet points and you like business, you will like this.”

Best for: Commuters considering starting a business, the time-poor and list-obsessives.

4. The Art Of The Deal by Donald Trump and Tony Schwartz

Like him or loathe him (and we know which is more likely), Trump’s unique approach to buildings and business has made him pots of money and a household name. This book plays out against the backdrop of the Big Apple, and gives a glimpse into how little DT’s worldview seems to have changed in the past twenty years.

Best for: Buyers and sellers and those who like to read in private.

5. 37 Questions Everyone In Business Needs To Answer by Duncan Bannatyne
The epitome of the start-from-scratch entrepreneur, Duncan Bannatyne bought an ice cream van and moved from selling sundaes to the Sunday Times Rich List. Delivered in a Q+A format, this is a great read to stimulate your thoughts on what you deserve to be paid, and how big you want to be.

Best for: Those who seek brevity and clarity, and who want to challenge their own thinking. 

6. Set Up A Successful Small Business by Vera Hughes and David Weller
A beginner’s guide that covers trading types and finance and gives at-a-glance advice on marketing, premises and employment. One- and five-minute introductions, things to remember and author insights mean you can digest at your own speed.

Best for: Those right at the start of their start-up journey.

7. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Every tech entrepreneur should take a look at The Lean Startup. It covers practical principles for developing your business as well as ways to think about minimum viable products and value creation. Read if you want to embed creative thinking into your organisation, and get to market quickly.

Best for: Innovators and the impatient.

8. The Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

The Business Model Canvas brought to life in a series of images and short paragraphs. If you’re unfamiliar with the canvas, it’s a simple tool to help you map out nine key elements of your business model. Check it out here.

Best for: Strategists, visual thinkers and scribblers.


9. The Advertising Concept Book by Pete Barry
Creative inspiration is assured with this selection of pencil-drawn examples of how big brands have used advertising to great effect. Shows the link between strategy and ad execution via a handy pyramid diagram, and is definitely one you’ll find yourself referring back to in a year’s time.

Best for: Creative types and those musing on their messaging.

10. Build A Brand In 30 days by Simon Middleton

This one will have you reaching for a sketchpad thanks to a range of useful exercises that will help you hone your brand and business. Work.Lifers we’ve spoken to appreciate the ‘framework’ style, and the way it describes lateral issues such as positioning and PR.

Best for: Brand builders and messaging mavericks.

Ready to put your reading specs on? If so, it’s worth remembering Work.Life members have access to a big range of business books, as we have little libraries in all of our locations. Find out more about our Work.Life sites here.

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