From the brief research of successful entrepreneurs and leaders, I noticed that the majority of them were avid readers. Looking into it a bit closer, I believe the reason for their level of reading was to learn from others to make fewer mistakes. Where they did make a mistake or failed, they learned to fail fast and re-evaluated what needed to be corrected to make it work. Below are some entrepreneur and leadership books that I have read. The majority of them are linked to finance or property, which I have a passion for. You’ll also notice that the books promote a positive mindset, one that has belief and the potential to grow. Hopefully this list helps you becoming an even better entrepreneur, leader or father (or parent)!
Books roughly categorised and ordered within each based on when I read them (latest to oldest). Last updated January 2023 – keep coming back to check if any new books have been added!
Key: R = Highly Recommend; + = Read more than once
Entrepreneur and Leadership Books – General:
- Big Ideas for Small Businesses – John Lamerton: Identify your main drivers for each ‘magic ingredient’ – Goals, Desire, Knowledge, Environment and Action. But most importantly, take the action!
- Crucial Conversations – Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler: Follow certain steps to aid open and positive conversations – 1) Start with heart 2) Maintain dialogue 3) Make it safe 4) Remove emotions 5) Agree a purpose 6) Separate facts from story 7) Agree action plan
- The 12 Week Year – Brian Moran: Why wait for 12 months to achieve something when you can condense your focus and actions and achieve it in 12 weeks?
- The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande: Like the aviation industry’s adoption of checklists, utilise them on key process steps to minimise errors, focusing on the key points to complete.
- Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss: It’s a chunky book, but pack full of info from successful people from all walks of life. Split into 3 main sections – healthy, wealthy and wise, able to pick up and put down to get into the right mindset and routine.
- Success Principles – Jack Canfield: Loads of key takeaways to focus on mindset. Control your thoughts, beliefs and actions for success and act as if you’re already successful.
- Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi: Entertaining book with some good insight into networking and building relationships with others. Find your passion, build your brand and knowledge, and always be willing to help others.
- How to Talk to Anyone 92 Little Tricks – Leil Lowndes: Short chapters about the various methods to socialise and network like ‘successful’ people. Body language, small talk, mirroring. Some simple ones to refresh yourself, some weird ones like recording phone calls!
- Power Questions – Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas: Great little book with lots of open-ended questions and stories/scenarios to provide examples of how to use them. Very useful for networking, meeting new people, or building your business.
- The Art of War – Sun Tzu: An ancient military playbook. It reminds us to prepare and plan, know your ‘enemy’ (or task), breakdown larger tasks into more manageable smaller parts. Most importantly, be adaptable.
- This is Marketing – Seth Godin: I studied Marketing back in University. Back then, it taught us about the 5P’s of marketing. This book goes beyond that. Seth suggests designing a story and build a culture, solve a problem and share the resolution. Identify and focus on the small viable market. There’s no need to please everyone.
- 7 Strategies for Success and Happiness – Jim Rohn: The 7 strategies were – Set goals, seek knowledge, learn to adapt, control and understand your finances, master time, surround yourself with winners, live well.
- How to Get Rich – Felix Dennis: Think BIG and act small, always negotiate, surround yourself with more talented people.
- How to fail at almost everything and still win big – Scott Adams: Learn from failures, take calculated risks, look after yourself – sleep, exercise, financial.
- The E Myth – Michael Gerber (R): Think McDonald’s and its processes and systems. Develop a process and systemise for your own business, work ON your business, not IN your business.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey (R): Perhaps one of the most read business books. The 7 habits are; 1. Be Proactive 2. End in Mind 3. Put 1st things 1st 4. Aim for Win/Win 5. Seek to understand and then be understood 6. Synergise 7. Sharpen the Saw.
Entrepreneur and Leadership Books – Negotiation:
- Getting to Yes – Roger Fisher: Negotiate on merits – separate people from problem, focus on interests, options for mutual gain, Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), insist on objective data/standards.
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiate – Chris Voss (R): Some great tips from a former hostage negotiator, very handy in property or salary negotiations (or with your kids). Chris suggests to; mirror, employ tactical empathy, find the leverage points, use open and calibrated questions (How, What).
Entrepreneur and Leadership Books – Finance:
- Multiple Streams of Income – Robert G Allen: Okay book outlining how to generate wealth. In short, focus on activities that allow you to ‘passively’ create income. He suggests investing – property and stock market, and marketing – online, multilevel (MLM).
- Millionaire Fastlane – M J DeMarco: Think big, be in control of your own finances/work, derive passive income, time not money is more valuable and limited.
- The Millionaire Next Door – Stanley and Danko: Spend less than you earn, save to invest, high income doesn’t necessarily mean high net worth.
- Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant – Robert Kiyosaki (R,+): An eye-opener for me. Bobby K outlines the 4 quadrants (E/S/B/I). The rich come from B/I making money to invest (I) and employing people (E/S) to work for your business (B).
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – T Harv Ecker: Think like wealthy people – follow the 17 wealth files. Too many to list here.
- The Richest Man in Babylon – George Clason (R): An oldie but a goodie. A simple story that teaches financial skills that aren’t really taught at school. Pay yourself first, invest in income producing assets, protect your assets, educate yourself.
- The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss: Doesn’t actually mean you only work 4 hours a week. On the contrary, you may find yourself working even longer than before. But with some help, you can focus on what’s important – the 80/20 rule (20% action leads to 80% results), Parkinson’s Law (tasks fill allocated time).
- Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki (R,+): Perhaps one of the most read books by Property investors even though it’s not specifically about property. The tips are to make money work for you by investing in income-producing assets. According to Rob, your family home is not an asset unless you have lodgers as outgoings exceed income. Take calculated risks and learn from failures, pay yourself first.
Entrepreneur and Leadership Books – Biographies:
- Creativity Inc – Ed Catmull: Follows Ed and his time before and during Pixar. Success and failure as a team, work together to overcome issues, open up for ideas.
- Becoming – Michelle Obama: Originally bought this book for Cara’s Mum, but ended up reading it as I ran out of other books to read in the house. It’s an amazing journey of what someone can achieve when you have a vision and the strength to pursue it, taking risks and making sacrifices along the way, despite all the barriers and adversities she faced.
- Open – Andre Agassi: I grew up watching the Agassi vs. Sampras tennis era. It’s a great book to understand Agassi’s mindset during his childhood and throughout his career. You get to follow all his triumphs, failures and appreciate his determination and love/hate relationship of the game.
- Billion Dollar Loser – Reeves Wiedeman: Documenting the rise and fall of WeWork, following the extravagant co-founder Adam Neumann. Driven to the point of hubris.
- Mamba Mentality – Kobe Bryant (R): Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and delving into his mindset and behind the scenes, even as a Celtics fan. Great pictures to bring the story to life and how preparation and knowledge creates success.
- Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh: From the mind of the CEO of Zappos, the US based online shoe and clothing store. Focus on culture and customers, maintain focus and belief, find your WOW, every ‘why’ leads to being happy.
- Shoe Dog – Phil Knight (R): A favourite of mine with the background on how Nike came to be. Fail fast, be persistent and follow your passion.
- Total Recall – Arnold Schwarzenegger (R): Loved reading about how Arnie became one of the most well-known people on the planet. Did you know he was a big property investor and made most of his initial wealth from it? Persistence, set yourself stretched goals and work hard to achieve them.
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance: What a person can achieve if you set their dreams loose. Persistence, believe in yourself and your ideas then work hard to achieve them.
Overall Themes and Tips:
As you can see, there’s lots of quality ones that I recommend. Based on the above reading, there are a few general concepts pop up in some of the entrepreneur and leadership books. These include:
- Find your passion and do it. Take action! If you fail, then fail fast and try it again but differently
- Spend less than you earn
- Everything is negotiable!
If there are any entrepreneur and leadership books that I have missed that are “must-reads”, please let me know by popping them in the comments below.