There are a lot of great books out there for entrepreneurs — so many, in fact, that it can be a little daunting. But fear not! Let my loaded Kindle, sagging bookshelves, can’t-pass-up-a-good-business-book addiction help you sort through the noise and find you the best books for entrepreneurs to put on your reading list.
People all across the world have given these books the green light — from small business men and women to young entrepreneurs just entering into the field, and even seasoned, successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a big undertaking, and even though many people think it’s an easy task, there’s a lot you might need to learn. It’s not just about having a business idea and pursuing it. It’s about having a mindset of innovation and having the habits of a successful entrepreneur to ensure your ideas succeed.
But what is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur isn’t just a small business owner or the founder of a startup. An entrepreneur is someone with innovative ideas, a desire to create change, and the passion to succeed. Of course a business owner can be an entrepreneur, but there is so much under the surface. An entrepreneur wears many hats, and what they do is considered more than a full-time job especially in the early stages. But with a little patience, dedication, and focus, their creative endeavors will lead them to success. And you could be one of them.
The motivational books included in this list shed some light on the obstacles many an entrepreneur has had to face on their pursuit towards success. Some of them offer a step-by-step guide towards entrepreneurship. Some of these business books offer insights into certain industries and companies. But each motivational book, each business book page will hopefully broaden your mind to the world of entrepreneurship and usher you in like they did so many before.
Here’s a list of 30 of my favorite books for women business owners, written by women. Some are old standards, most are books that came recommended to me by women who are also successful entrepreneurs with the ‘you’ve gotta’ read this’ endorsement, all have been useful in my own entrepreneurial journey. To help you give you some ideas for where to dive in, I’ve broken the list up into a few key categories that’ll aid in your entrepreneurship endeavors. Here are some of the best books for entrepreneurs available today.
- Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace by Kris Boesch
- Why Simple Wins: Escape the Complexity Trap & Get to Work That Matters by Lisa Bodell
- Willful Blindness by Margaret Heffernan
- Get Over Your Damn Self: The No-BS Blueprint to Building a Life-Changing Business by Romi Neustadt
Sales & Marketing
- Resonate by Nancy Duarte
- SNAP Selling by Jill Konrath
- No More Cold Calling by Joanne Black
- Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock & Sara Laschever
- Communicate Like a Boss
- Code Switching by Dr. Audrey Nelson
- Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
- Impact: What Every Woman Needs to Know to Go From Invisible to Invincible by Nancy D Solomon
- The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
Get Your Head in the Game
- The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman
- You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
- What if it DOES Work Out by Susie Moore
- The First Person You Must Lead Is You by Rebecca Halstead
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
- Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency of the 21st Century by Claudia Azula Altucher
- Girl Code: Unlocking Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba
- I Am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose, and #BeThatGirl by Alexis Jones
Find Your Balance
- Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu
- The Orange Line: A Woman’s Guide to Integrating Career, Family & Life by Jodi Detjen & Michelle Waters
- I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam
- Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
- Why Leaders Fail & the 7 Prescriptions for Success by Mary C. Kelly
- The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom by Carrie Wilkerson.
- How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life by Joanna Barsh, Geoffrey Lewis, Susie Cranston
- Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success by Jessica Tracy
- Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
- Leading from the Front: No Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women by Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch
How She Did It
- Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran
- Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World by Angella Nazarian
- In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney
- Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
- Own It by Sallie Krawcheck
- #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso
- What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig
- What I Told My Daughter- Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women by Nina Tassler
- Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham
- Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl
- The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice, and Build Your Dream Life by Lisa Sugar
- Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
- Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got out of Getting It Wrong by Jessica Bacal
When I’m reading books like this, I’m looking for three kinds of insights:
1. Wow! That’s new. I’ve never heard that, or thought about things in that way.
2. That’s a great reminder. I’d forgotten about that and it really applies now.
3. That’s a tool/method/model that will be useful. I need to put that in to practice.
I don’t know about you, but I take notes when I read, and then pick 3-5 insights from the book I’m going to start using. That way I actually take action and implement the ideas I just picked up. And with the entrepreneurial material in these books, you’re bound to have some ideas for your small business or startup. And if you’re a young entrepreneur that hasn’t had the chance to influence people and companies with your business endeavors, these self-help books are sure to do the trick.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur takes time. It takes energy and dedication and innovation. It doesn’t just happen overnight and it ends up being quite a full-time job. But with time, you’re sure to achieve your goals, and these books — some which are self-help books, others which are memoirs, and some that just have some helpful tips about changing habits and expanding upon your own business idea — are full of insights that will help you influence people with your own creative pursuits in no time.
Happy reading, and let me know what books you’d add to your reading list!
Mo is the Founder of The Moxie Exchange, a training and peer mentoring organization for companies who want to recruit, develop, promote and retain women and create inclusive workplaces. She’s an advisor to CEOs of the nation’s fastest growing companies and is the founder 5 successful businesses. She also been known to sing loudly, dance badly and curse like a sailor.
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