8 Books Every New Entrepreneur Should Read

In this, perhaps, Golden Age of technology entrepreneurship, Peter Thiel can rest assured he will find an eager audience for his new book, ZERO TO ONE: Notes on startups, Or How to Build the Future (apparently he couldn’t decide).
Thiel, who turns 47 next month,  was a co-founder of PayPal, and a co-founder of the somewhat scary data firm Palantir. He’s well-known as the first outside investor in Facebook and oversees a hedge fund and his own venture capital firm, Founders Fund. Our crack team of wealth analysts here at Forbes have Thiel’s net worth pegged at $2.2 billion, as of Sept 12, 2014.
Will Thiel’s contribution to the long list of books focused on entrepreneurship prove itself an essential read for would-be business pros and founders? Well, time will tell. His collection of ruminations will have to nudge aside some strong titles. Here are a few stellar examples of books full of wisdom and tools for entrepreneurs that are new to the game:
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
As one of the first steps in the startup game, it’s probably better to set down your business plan right. With ideas assembled from 470 business model practitioners from 45 countries, the title offers insights into the simple and basic, and advanced complex models used by entrepreneurs and companies throughout the world. A respected tool.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
We’re going old-school here. First published in 1936, this was a self-help book before the genre was even taken seriously. Why is it still relevant? Because learning the pulls and sways, motivations and tendencies of other people is all-important to the entrepreneur. Whether negotiating with partners or inspiring employees, people-skills are essential. Carnegie also gets a plus for choosing such a great title.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Businessby Charles Duhigg
Duhigg’s foray into the tendencies of companies, leaders and individuals is all about insight. By understanding the patterns of human behavior – and the power of the human mind to form patterns or recalibrate old ones – predictions can be made that an entrepreneur can take advantage of.
(Image credit: Cotaro70s on Flickr)
(Image credit: Cotaro70s on Flickr)
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
It’s a buzzword by now, the “lean startup,” but only because it makes sense for so many young companies and first-time founders. Technology has made it possible for companies to be started quickly and cheaply, with an internet market of billions. A lean model does away with wasteful operations and anything a customer is not willing to pay extra for.
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
According to Warren Buffet, this is the best book on investing, everMarketshave changed since Graham published his work in 1949 but his allegorical style, which humanizes the ups and downs of indexes, is probably how generations of new investment students ever since have been explained the basics of the stock markets for the first time. Graham’s Mr. Market – as both a lovable and confounding character – is still worth a look to anyone wishing to understand the trading game.
Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work) by Stephen Schiffman
It might seem a tad archaic to those whose minds are permanently plugged into the latest communication technology but, like it or not, as an entrepreneur you are going to have to pick up the phone and convince someone you don’t know well to do something that benefits you greatly. Imagine the power of developing a skill like that—that’s what this book is for.
The Founder’s Dilemma by Noam Wasserman
More information on managing the people-resources in your enterprise. Wasserman’s work focuses on circumnavigating disaster through preparation. In a sense, it’s a map of the minefield that the startup world can be. Ever wondered why it’s risky to go into business with your friends? Why startup teams that share a lot of common interests are a bad match? How to divide the rewards without getting into a screaming contest? This book could answer those questions.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Why should an aspiring entrepreneur read the Jobs biography? There are several reasons, the least of which being that it is an inspiring tale of creativity, struggle, success and redemption. It is also a story of caution: new business minds and inventors can learn from Jobs’ foibles in dealing with friends and colleagues. They will also be forced to ponder the question of what success actually means and whether the prices we pay to realize our visions are too high (or even necessary).
In closing:
titles are the be-all and end-all of entrepreneurial literature, or that these are the absolute best–there are just too many titles of worth to name here in one post (for instance, here’s aFORBES review of Reid Hoffman’s startup book). If you’ve read a book that inspired you in business, startup or entrepreneurship; let us know by commenting below. If you are in PR and have a client that is looking to plug a book, no thanks.
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