10 books every starting entrepreneur should read

10 books every starting entrepreneur should read

Could it really be true?

I decided to give it a try.

I had been infected. There was no way out.

After a few months of hard work, I launched. It wasn’t a success. But it gave me a taste for it.

Let’s back out for a minute. What am I talking about?

Entrepreneurship. 3 years ago, I read The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. And I realized I could start a business at almost no cost.

I decided to dip my toes into it. I wrote a book, Buying a Mac Without Breaking the Bank.

Talking about entrepreneurship when you’re writing a book might be stretching it a bit. The entrepreneurial parts were:

  • Brainstorming several projects, then choosing one to pursue.
  • Creating the product
  • Launching it
  • Marketing it

The best part? Through the experience, I could taste freedom…

Two years later, I was back at it. I couldn’t get the desire for freedom out of my head.

This time I kept going for over a year and I’m still at it. I launched Dream Set Achieve just over a year ago. I’ve been writing blog posts since then. I’ve written enough words to fill out another book.

And I launched my first program, Epic Lifestyle: The Blueprints.

Today, starting a business has never been easier. Thanks to the Internet and access to lots of resources at a very low cost, the upfront investment is almost zero.

In fact, you can get started with just a domain name ($10/year) and a website hosting service ($10/month). That’s right, it’s about two cups of coffee each month (and a lot of masala chai if you live in India…).

Need software? There’s plenty of free or cheap software tools around.

Employees? You can get (virtual) human resources at a very competitive price thanks to the Internet.

Now, when you’re facing this abundance of tools and resources, you’re stuck with this question:

Where do I start?

There’s so much information around on how to start a business that you get overloaded. You can end up paralyzed.

Fret not, here’s help.

I put together a list of 10 books that have been the most valuable and influential throughout my journey in the last year. Also, I’ll share with you my biggest takeaways from the books so you can directly apply the insights to your venture.

And, as a special bonus, I’ve compiled a document that contains all my notes from the books, so you can go into more details.
You can get it HERE.

Here it goes.

  1. The $100 startup

$100startupThis is where it all started. Chris’s book convincingly shows you how you can start your own business on the cheap.

Chris has done it all. He’s been running small businesses while traveling the world. He’s now visited every country in the world. That was one of his life goals.

The book is full of real-life examples of ordinary people who started their business on a budget. Often without a real intention of running a business.

Reading the book, you’ll understand the only thing stopping you from running your own company is yourself. Money isn’t an issue.

  1. Choose Yourself

chooseyourselfI read Choose Yourself right when I got back into entrepreneurship.

For a start, James is a brilliant writer. He shows you how you can choose your own path and get started. He also tells you why you need to get started. Spoiler alert: corporate companies despise you and most of the time don’t even have a job for you.

If you’re still not sure you should walk your own path, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

It will also teach you how to become a creativity machine through a simple technique: write down 10 ideas on different topics, every day. It’s a simple habit that works marvels.

I’ve had my ups and downs, but it’s a habit I’ve stuck with for the most part since I read the book. It just works.

Finally it lays down principles that will help you build a strong base you can rely on while running your business.

  1. 6 Months to 6 Figures

6monthsto6figuresI’ll say it. I’m a fan of Peter Voogd. He’s a straight forward, no BS guy, obsessively focused on results.

Some people won’t like his style. It took me a little while to adjust. But his energy is contagious.

Peter lays out a detailed blueprint you can follow to build and run a business. You get practical sets of questions and exercises to go through so you’re forced to take action and keep going until you get results.

It’s been my main mentoring book to run my business since I started. And later, I joined Peter’s 6 Months to 6 Figures exclusive course. That’s how good it is.

  1. The Millionaire Fast Lane

themillionairefastlaneAnother straight-forward, no BS book, that lays down important foundations on how to build a revenue generating company. It shows you why a lot of companies fail and how to get started on the right foot to avoid the same fate.

MJ tells a step-by-step story that shifts your perspective on life and business.

It’s a must-read if you want to build a profitable business.

  1. The 4-Hour Workweek

the4-hourworkweekAs the title indicates, it’s a controversial book. But the title is a good reflection of the book. Its main purpose is to challenge your assumptions.

Can you work 4 hours a week? Really? What can you accomplish in 4 hours?

Well, the question is more: How many hours do you really need to do your essential work? How can you be ultra-effective and get lots of shit done in a few hours?

This book will challenge your assumptions about work, what is important to you and how you really want to lead your life. Why not have mini-retirements and do great stuff now instead of slaving your whole life, waiting to be old to finally be free to do it?

I don’t follow everything Tim prescribes. But I definitely use the Pareto Principle (80-20 rule) and Parkinson’s Law to be effective and de-clutter my life.

It’s an essential read if you want to build a business and lifestyle on your terms.

  1. The Miracle Morning

themiraclemorningYou’ve got a morning routine, right?

I’m not talking about taking your shower and breakfast. I’m talking about a routine designed to make you more focused, energized and productive during your day.

So, if you have a morning routine, how do you know it’s effective? And if you don’t have one, what are you waiting for?

Hal Helrod has researched the most productive routines from top performers. Then, he put together a straight-forward 6-step morning routine that combines the most effective rituals that came out of the research.

In short, the routine is (SAVERS):

  1. Silence (meditation)
  2. Affirmations
  3. Visualization
  4. Exercise
  5. Read
  6. Scribe (Write)

I’ve been using Hal’s morning routine for over a year now (a slight variation of it, I don’t do my reading in the morning).

It’s kept me motivated, energized and in good shape. It’s helping with my focus. And writing lets me play with ideas and get stuff out of my head. Stuff that would clutter it otherwise.

In his book, Hal not only covers his Miracle Morning routine, he also gives you lots of useful tips from his high achiever career in sales.

Don’t let the title put you off. This book will make a real difference in your entrepreneurship journey, as it has in mine. You’ll need as much help as you can get.

Your morning routine is the spine of your day. Don’t neglect it.

  1. Ca$hvertising

cahvertisingEntrepreneurship is about sales. To generate revenue, you need to sell your products and services. You’ve got to understand the psychology of selling and why people buy.

Cashvertising is not only a book on advertising. It teaches you the psychology of buying and how you can write an effective sales copy for your products.

You might have heard of the textbook on the psychology of influence, handily called Influence. Cashvertising draws from it and the whole industry of advertising. I chose the latter book in this list as it’s a more practical book you can use to write your sales copy straight away.

There’s plenty here to help you write an enticing copy for your products. From the 8 fundamental desires that drive people, to 41 ad-agency secrets for selling anything to anyone through the 17 principles of consumer psychology.

It’s a book you’ll be coming back regularly as you refine your copy. Later on, you’ll want to outsource your sales copy, but when you’re starting, it’s an essential read.

  1. Bold

boldThe world is abundant. Don’t listen to the doom and gloom cast by the media. We’re living in great times.

We live longer than anyone before. We have access to mind-blowing technology. We can see and communicate with people across the planet with a piece of technology that fits in your pocket.

You can access this abundance if you’re ready to be bold.

Bold is sort of a follow-up to Abundance, by the same authors. It covers themes like digitization, disruption and big data. It gives you the keys to find new opportunities and anticipate technological trends.

It shows you how you can tackle bold goals, be hyper-effective and leverage the crowd for expertise and funding.

This is a book I’ve only read recently. But since then, I’ve started looking at the world with new eyes.

I’m now looking at ways I can use to digitize and automate my processes. I decided to pursue more ambitious goals and changed my plans accordingly. I still have a way to go, but, thanks to Bold, I now have the keys to open the right doors.

If you want to accelerate your results exponentially, you ought to give Bold a shot.

  1. The Halo Effect

thehaloeffectEven though The Halo Effect came out almost 10 years ago, most people still fall victim to it. With disastrous consequences.

Wait… what’s the halo effect?

It’s how success makes everything look great. When a company is financially successful, we tend to see everything they do in a good light: their strategy, execution, leadership, resource management, etc. Similarly, when finances aren’t right, everything looks bad.

The same company can rise and fall from grace very quickly based on its financial results.

The truth is, the halo effect is affecting most of the reporting done on companies. Once you understand that, you start seeing the world differently.

The book gives you many examples of how we all fall victims to the halo effect. It even details examples from famous books, like Good to Great, that suffer from it and draw their conclusions based on financial results from companies.

Finally, it contrasts standard analysis with “halo effect”-free analysis. Avoiding the halo effect isn’t an easy task. It requires specific methods of questioning and analysing the data to avoid being tainted by financial results.

The Halo Effect changed my perspective on business and companies. Coupled with the knowledge of the survivorship bias (i.e. we forget about unsuccessful companies that didn’t survive and see the world only through the successful companies), it gives you a more balanced and realistic view of the world of business. Far from “popular” business analysis and talk.

This is much needed when you’re starting a company.

  1. Think Like A Freak

thinklikeafreakI’ve always been a bit of a freak. So this book is perfect for me.

What about you, are you a freak?

As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to challenge common wisdom. You need to learn to think differently. If you can break a rule that everyone follows and make it a benefit to your customers, you’ve got the start of a strategic advantage.

Think like a freak is precisely about thinking differently. About running experiments and analysing data in unconventional ways. About avoiding our typical biases to get to the truth.

It’s a book from Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the guys who brought us Freakonomics.

It’s an essential guide to engineering your insights. It’s a complement to Bold and the Halo Effect, to help you sharpen your mind and get ready for entrepreneurship. Really, you need to be a freak to become an entrepreneur.

My takeaway
Have you jumped right to the end? You’re in a rush? All right, so here’s the executive summary.

What have the 10 key insights I got from these 10 books?

  1. You don’t need much money to get started on your entrepreneurship journey. In fact, you need to learn to invest your money wisely and find the cheaper options to get the results you want.
  2. Entrepreneurship is about freedom and choosing the path that’s right for you. Don’t wait to loose your job to get started on your own journey.
  3. You need a clear blueprint for you to take strategic actions and execute effectively. Don’t neglect that part and work on being consistent, planning before acting and building momentum.
  4. Value = money. Focus on providing the highest value to your prospects and customer.
  5. Follow the 80/20 rule and learn to be effective before being efficient. Keep a sense of urgency in everything you do (short deadlines).
  6. Set up routines that will produce the results you want and start your day the right way.
  7. Learn to sell.
  8. Follow technological advances closely. Learn to digitize your work and leverage exponential thinking.
  9. Beware of the halo effect and the survivorship bias. Understand what makes company successful and what fatal mistakes you need to avoid.
  10. Think different. Challenge common wisdom. Be aware of your biases and run experiments that will lead you to the right insights, that you can leverage to your success.

Now, what’s your biggest takeaway from this list? And what book are you going to read first? Share your comments below.

And don’t forget your special bonus. I’ve compiled a document that contains all my notes from the books, so you can go into more details.
You can get it HERE.

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