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7 Great Books On Startups and Entrepreneurs

I've compiled a list of 7 best books on startups that are frequently recommended for entrepreneurs and are must reads no matter what stage you're at.

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The magical thing about the best books on startups is that they have the power to change your life. It’s a big reason why reading is an activity shared by the most successful people on earth.

The right book at the right time is priceless. With the investment of a few hours and less than $15, you can obtain actionable advice and knowledge that took brilliant people years to figure out. Or you can gain the inspiration you need to change something in your life.

I’ve compiled a list of 7 best books on startups that are frequently recommended for entrepreneurs and are must reads no matter what stage you’re at.

Some are new, others are timeless classics. Some will challenge your idea of entrepreneurship, and others will challenge your personal status quo.

Best Books on Startups

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Here is a list of the best books for entrepreneurs and startups.

1. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

“The Lean Startup has a kind of inexorable logic, and Ries’ recommendations come as a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls: Test your ideas before you bet the bank on them.

Don’t listen to what focus groups say; watch what your customers do. Start with a modest offering and build on the aspects of it that prove valuable. Expect to get it wrong, and stay flexible (and solvent) enough to try again and again until you get it right.

It’s a message that rings true to grizzled startup vets who got burned in the Great Bubble and to young filmgoers who left The Social Network with visions of young Zuckerberg dancing in their heads.

It resonates with Web entrepreneurs blessed with a worldwide reach and open source code. It’s the perfect philosophy for an era of limited resources when the noun optimism is necessarily preceded by the adjective cautious.” Wired

2. The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit is chock-full of fascinating anecdotes… how an early twentieth century adman turned Pepsodent into the first bestselling toothpaste by creating the habit of brushing daily, how a team of marketing mavens at Procter & Gamble rescued Febreze from the scrapheap of failed products by recognizing that a fresh smell was a fine reward for a cleaning task, how Michael Phelps’ coach instilled habits that made him an Olympic champion many times over, and how Tony Dungy turned the Indianapolis Colts into a Super Bowl–winning team.”Los Angeles Times

3. Lean Analytics – Benjamin Yoskovitz

“Stop thinking and just buy this book. It’s the secret sauce. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s required reading.” Greg Isenberg, CEO

“Lean Analytics is the missing piece of Lean Startup, with practical and detailed research, advice and guidance that can help you succeed faster in a startup or large organization.” — Dan Martell, CEO & Founder of Clarity

4. The Startup Owner’s Manual – Steven Blank

More than 100,000 entrepreneurs rely on this book for detailed, step-by-step instructions on building successful, scalable, profitable startups. 

The National Science Foundation pays hundreds of startup teams each year to follow the process outlined in the book, and it’s taught at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia and more than 100 other leading universities worldwide.


“Many, including myself, consider the ‘Four Steps to the Epiphany’ to be the bible of entrepreneurship. … The Startup Owner’s Manual is a definitive manual for building successful new companies – for entrepreneurs in startups and large companies.”
— Conrad Egusa, Brownstein & Egusa

5. Rework – Jason Fried

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“Jason Fried and David Hansson follow their own advice in Rework, laying bare the surprising philosophies at the core of 37signals’ success and inspiring us to put them into practice. 

There’s no jargon or filler here just hundreds of brilliantly simple rules for success. 

Part entrepreneurial handbook for the twenty-first century, part manifesto for anyone wondering how work really works in the modern age, REWORK is required reading for anyone tired of business platitudes.”
–Chris Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Long Tail and Free

6. Boss Life – Paul Downs

“[A] day-to-day, minute-to-minute tour of the intricacies of running a business, from dealing with employees to negotiating with vendors, the roller-coaster ride of sales, and the headaches of customer service.

This is an invaluable look into operational details for anyone considering starting a business or caught up in the struggle of owning and running one.”—Booklist

7. Tools of Titans – Tim Ferris

Tools of Titans…is the perfect read for obsessives wanting to boost their new year productivity.”
—Financial Times

“A Poor Richard’s Almanack for the 21st century, Tools of Titans is a practical and inspiring guide to being your best.”

Should You Get a Mentor to Help Your Startup?

Beyond the best startup books, there has to be more to it right?

A fresh-faced, enthusiastic, and motivated entrepreneur can only do so much. Starting a business is no longer limited to the wealthy and elder individuals with high education. The new wave of entrepreneurship represents how millennials have come a long way in the world of entrepreneurship.

In fact, one in five millennials is planning to quit their jobs and start their own business in 2021.

According to the BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, millennials are establishing their business as young as 27 years of age.

The report also shows that today’s generation has launched twice as many businesses as the baby boomer era.

Finding the funds to start a business from scratch is not an easy feat. However, that hasn’t stopped young entrepreneurs from taking the challenge. Aside from the right knowledge and motivation, the young generation could learn a few things from mentors to help their startups more than a book ever could:

  • Strengthen the Balance of Character and Courage: Learning to balance character and intellectual courage is key to building confidence as a leader. Millennials have the motivation it takes to become successful. However, they will benefit from mentors to help them gain confidence in entrepreneurship by improving how they handle new responsibilities, deal with relationships, and take on leadership roles.
  • Seek Out Best Financing Opportunities: If you are carrying large debts and other loans, you probably don’t have the right finances to invest in your business. Mentors can truly say that they’ve “been there, done that.”  That is why experts advise that before you can start building your company, you will need to remedy your debts and seek out the many financing options available. Once you have gained decent credit, you can choose to apply for a startup loan and get the best interest rate that suits your business needs.
  • Gain Awareness of Real-World Failure and Success: Millennials grew up in a media-saturated world of viral distractions and conflicts. That is why mentors can help the younger generation focus on using their strengths and personality rather than on the next big trend. Once the youth realizes the benefits of real forces in the marketplace, they will gain a better understanding of how business works and how to boost moral fiber.

With of use of these strategies, millennials can utilize them towards an investment in their future goals. The main purpose is to inspire others to make a positive difference in the world of entrepreneurship. Each of us must learn how to use and share life experiences and the value that goes far beyond monetary wealth.

Take Action on the Best Books on Startups

Startup books can help you learn about the key components of moving the needle for your startup. Plus, a mentor can give you that extra drive if you’ve already read every book under the sun and still need help.

These are all highly reviewed and the best books on startup and I would recommend that you dive deep into them, no matter what stage you’re currently in.

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Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs
Brian is the founder of My Millennial Guide and is an entrepreneur who has spent the last few years creating websites and building brands. He has been quoted in several online publications, including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, MSN Money, AOL, Discover Bank, GOBankingRates, Student Loan Hero, Fit Small Business, Cheapism, SmartAsset, Bankrate, RISE Credit, AllBusiness, Cheddar, Commonbond, Niche, Rewire, Credit Donkey,, and more. He believes that the true path towards financial independence is through increasing your earning potential (even if you have a 9-5 job).

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