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From the Ground Up
The 15-Book Reading List For Anyone Who Dreams of Starting a Business
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Ready to start your own business? Congratulations! Embarking on your dream is an enormous accomplishment — but it's also extremely challenging. If you're looking for help, guidance or inspiration, here are the 15 best books for starting a business.

15 best books for starting a business.

1. "Women Who Launch: Women Who Shattered Glass Ceilings" by Marlene Wagman-Geller

From Julia Ward-Howe, the founder of Girl Scouts of America, to Estee Lauder, who changed the face of cosmetics forever, women have made their mark on the business world through entrepreneurship, inventions, trend-setting and more. In Women Who Launch, Marlene Wagman-Geller celebrates some of the greatest female game-changers in history, showing how, in the words of Rosie the Riveter, we can do it.

2. "The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything" by Guy Kawasaki 

Guy Kawasaki, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, offers practical, timeless advice in this must-have guide for every new business owner. While acknowledging that some business models have become outdated in the digital world, he notes how others, such as the idea that the devil is in the details, have stood the test of time. You'll learn about a wide range of important topics, from marketing to crowdfunding. 

3. "The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup" by Noam Wasserman 

Drawing on stories of famous founders such as Evan Williams of Twitter and extensive research conducted over 10 years, Noam Wasserman explains the most common pitfalls among entrepreneurs — and, more importantly, how to avoid these traps. Exploring topics including whether founders should attempt their ventures alone or bring cofounders on board, dividing equity, collaborating with investors and many, many others, The Founder's Dilemmas helps you recognize mistakes before you make them. 

4. "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses" by Eric Ries 

All startups face uncertainty, no matter what the business. Based on lessons from lean manufacturing, Eric Ries shows entrepreneurs how to maximize their resources and test their ideas continuously. Readers will learn how to leverage talent and creativity, as well as adapt and innovate when they need to.

5. "Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't" by Simon Sinek

A Marine Corps general taught Simon Sinek that "Officers eat last." Here, Sinek applies that lesson to businesses, in which leaders must foster collaboration, trust and security — what he deems a "Circle of Safety." Leaders Eat Last includes stories of real success based on this principle across sectors including big business, government, investment banking and others.

6. "Will It Fly? How to Know if Your New Business Idea Has Wings...Before You Take the Leap " by Thomas K. McKnight

Is your business idea truly practical? In Will It Fly?, Thomas K. McKnight describes how entrepreneurs can assess and fine-tune their ideas before wasting time and money on the concept. He also reveals the 44 key elements of success, based on 200 business launches. This guide will help you test the waters and improve your chance of thriving in a competitive market.

7. "The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future" by Chris Guillebeau 

In his early 30s, Chris Guillebeau had never had a "real job" — instead, he opted to turn his knowledge and creativity into profitable business ventures. In this guide, he looks at 50 cases of people who established businesses despite having modest incomes and no special skills — but plenty of passion and a knack for innovation. These lessons will prove invaluable to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to learn how to monetize their ideas and gain greater fulfillment in life.

8. "In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs" by Grace Bonney 

Grace Bonney explores the lives of more than 100 women entrepreneurs who defied the odds and followed their dreams, leading to great success — from comedians to media moguls to tattoo artists.

9. "The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom" by Carrie Wilkerson

Carrie Wilkerson, a business consultant, speaker and author, offers practical guidance on how to create a business and find fulfillment. This book includes advice from other entrepreneurs, interactive exercises and more, helping readers overcome uncertainty and leading them to action by leveraging the skills they already have. 

10. "The Aspiring Solopreneur: Your Business Start-Up Bible" by Kris Kluver 

Entrepreneurs who are embarking on their business ventures alone must wear many different hats, all of which require extensive research to truly master. In "The Aspiring Solopreneur," Kris Kluver explores the best way to research your different roles and equips readers with the tools necessary for the "solopreneur" life. 

11. "Rework" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson 

Rework dispels general notions and wisdom. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson explain why it's more important to start taking action than to waste time on extensive plans and assessments of the competition. Through this straightforward approach, readers will learn how to be more productive, gain visibility and more. 

12. "Be Obsessed or Be Average" by Grant Cardone 

Grant Cardone is a leading entrepreneur, not to mention multimillionaire. But before that, he was unemployed and drug-addicted. Determined to rebuild his life, he reclaimed his childhood dream of conquering the business world, and here, he shares his story and advice for achieving your own goals. You'll learn how to set (and reach) seemingly impossible objectives, use other people's doubt in you to push further and more. 

13. "Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days" by Jessica Livingston

From Steve Wozniak of Apple to Caterina Fake of Flickr, our world is filled with household names who once struggled to get their startups off the ground. In Founders at Work, Jessica Livingston shares stores of the humble beginnings of some of the world's most successful businesses today. Readers will learn from their successes and mistakes, as well as gain a greater understanding of the business world in general.

14. "Lucky Or Smart?: Fifty Pages for the First-Time Entrepreneur" by Bo Peabody 

What made Bo Peabody so successful? The multimillionaire at age 27 had co-founded five companies. In this book, he shares his secrets with other aspiring entrepreneurs, showing smart people how to position themselves to get lucky by creating their own opportunities and taking advantage of those that come their way. 

15. "The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It" by Michael Gerber 

A revised and updated version of the classic guide, The E-Myth Revisited challenges commonly-held assumptions about starting your own business and notes what factors will stand in the way of your success. Based on his many years of experience, small business consultant Michael E. Gerber offers practical guidance and walks you through every phase of starting a business to help you achieve success. 

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