Let me tell you a story, there were two guys that graduated from college at the same time. Both of them wanted to be successful entrepreneurs someday. Directly after graduation, one of them gets a job, works hard, gets promoted, and achieved great success on his job. Five years later, he is now a manager and is making a six-figure salary.
Upon graduation, the other guy chooses to start a business. He understood that he did not know enough as college simply had not prepared him to run a business, but rather work in a business. So he started the journey to learn more and he bought many books. As he read through the books he discovered various ways to improve himself and run his business. Five years later he is now a successful entrepreneur with a seven-figure income.
This story is a direct reflection of a quote the great Jim Rohn once said which is, “work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
He also said, “Formal education will make you a living which is fine. Self-education will make you a fortune, which is very fine.”
This shows us the importance of reading books and attaining wisdom that is relevant to where we want to go. It is important that as entrepreneurs, we read books that will help shape our outlook and perspective on service.
Here are 17 books that will kick your entrepreneurial outlook and income into high gear. These books aren’t listed in a particular order and they all offer different insights that are beneficial.
I have provided one take away from each book after its description. The one take away is not all inclusive, but one piece of advice that I would give someone as a result of reading the book.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich is a timeless book written by Napoleon Hill. He was commissioned by the great Andrew Carnegie to write a book that would help many men understand how one could achieve wealth and fortune. He spent 25 years interviewing successful businessmen and discovering the success principles. One can learn many things from the book Think and Grow Rich. It has greatly influenced me and many of my most profitable ideas.
I won’t spoil the book for you and tell you everything that it includes because I believe that it is great for you to discover some of the secrets for yourself. However, what I found beneficial was that it is important for you to have a definite purpose or desire and be determined to obtain that desire no matter what. Many people don’t get what they want simply because they don’t know what they want. And even when they know what they want, they won’t get it because they aren’t determined to get what they want. When you compound knowing what you want with being determined to get what you want, something magical happens and many times you get exactly what you want.
One Takeaway: Know exactly what you want and be determined to get it no matter what.
Success Principles by Jack Canfield
Success Principles by Jack Canfield should be a staple in every entrepreneur’s library. I have listened to this book via Amazon’s Audible app plenty of times. It has many practical strategies that one can implement immediately to start seeing improvement. Canfield is really known for his Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He is a great communicator and shares many simple, yet effective ways on how to attract success into your life.
The biggest thing that I took from Canfield’s Success Principles is the habit of reading out your goals twice a day. Once in the morning when you arise, and once at night before you go to bed. And not just read the goals, but format your goals in a way of them being in the present tense combined with an “I am” statement. For example, “I am enjoying driving my Red Ferrari 458 or better by November 15th, 2016 or sooner.” There is a philosophy to the structure of how this goal is written, and you must read the book to fully understand it
One Takeaway: Format your goals with emotions, specific dates, and “I am” statements on index cards and read them in the morning and at night.
The 80/20 Manager by Richard Koch
Richard Koch, the author of this book has two books that made this list. The 80/20 Manager is one of them. Koch talks about the Pareto Principle, which is that 80 percent of your efforts produce only 20 percent of your results. Conversely, 20 percent of your effort produced 80 percent of your results. The purpose in understanding the concept is to allow you to focus on what the 20 percent of effort is that is producing the 80 percent in your life, business, or any area. Once you discover what little efforts are producing the most results, you then can focus in on those efforts and become more effective. The 80/20 Manager is someone who is less stressed, more understanding of the business or enterprise, more effective, and more efficient at what they do.
After reading this book, I’ve discovered that in one of our enterprises that much of our efforts were going into a service that was producing minimal results. Our solution was to increase the price and value on that service and we have become more efficient by allocating that wasted time into more profitable services (the 20 percent). This is just a minor example of the magnitude of this brilliant principle that was originally founded by Pareto.
One Takeaway: Find out what little efforts are producing the greatest impact and focus on those. Conversely, find out what large efforts are producing the smallest impact and minimize those or remove them all together.
Built For Growth by Arthur Rubinfeld
Want to know who was a catalyst behind Starbucks rapid growth? How about Arthur Rubinfeld. He is the author of the exceptional book, Built for Growth and was the blank for Starbucks. He helped take Starbucks from 100 stores to 1000. In his book, he talks about setting up the proper infrastructure and resources to grow rapidly and efficiently 36 pounds of corn. This is the system Starbucks used and uses to grow as an international brand. You can take these same principles and systems and apply them to your business.
One Takeaway: It is better to penetrate noncompetitive markets and dominate them first than to enter competitive markets. Once you have momentum and resources from penetrating noncompetitive markets, you can leverage those resources for penetrating more competitive markets.
Built for Growth on Amazon
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
You ever wonder how someone can end up in a radically different place than someone else that at one time shared the same circumstances. The compound effect illustrates this phenomenon. It shows us how seemingly insignificant events or decisions on a daily basis have a tremendous effect on our long-term outcomes. This compelled me to take my daily decisions and habits seriously. Want to know what will decide where you will be in five years? What you do today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. If you focus on the details every single day, after a while you will look up and find yourself in a great place.
One Takeaway: If you focus on your decisions every single day, over time you will look up and find yourself in a great place.
The Compound Effect on Amazon
Think Like a Billionaire, Become a Billionaire by Scot Anderson
In my search for books on being a billionaire (there aren’t many), this was one of the only ones that was worth reading from the description. Why don’t more people talk about being a billionaire or becoming one? While the author is not a billionaire but a millionaire on his way to becoming a billionaire, he gives practical advice and guidance on the journey to becoming one. There are now over 1000 billionaires in the world. Hopefully one day some of them will get together and share with the world some of their personal strategies (This already happened in Napoleon Hill’s time). Think Like a Billionaire, Become a Billionaire is a great book with practical strategies to increase your net worth.
One Takeaway: Life will give you whatever you think of and demand. You might as well think of and demand a billion.
Think Like a Billionaire, Become a Billionaire on Amazon
The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
This is one of the most profound books I’ve ever read in my life. Today’s society teaches us so much about being a go-getter that we tend to admire those that are active in taking or receiving from others. Bob Berg on the other hand presents a paradox to us of not being a go-getter but being a go-giver.
He expounds upon the words of Jesus, “it is more blessed to give than it is to receive.” Go-getters focus on what they are receiving, go-givers focus on what they are giving. It is crazy how the more one gives, the more one receives. So if you would really like to be a go-getter, you should first seek to be a go-giver.
One Takeaway: If you focus more on what you are giving out of generosity, you will receive more.
Go Giver on Amazon
Bonus: – Go Givers Sell More
Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit by Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon
Micah Solomon is a customer service master. He is responsible for the great success behind Ritz-Carlton’s world class service. In his book Exceptional Service, Exception Profit, we get a chance to see in the mind of a customer service extraordinaire. He walks through not only ways to have exceptional service, but more so the culture of exceptional service. One thing that is important about having a culture of exceptional service is knowing that culture matters, and that it produces exceptional profits. In today’s society that is full of commodities and consumerism, customers are longing for a relationship and connection with service providers.
One Takeaway: By providing exceptional service, you build a great name for your company and long-lasting relationships with clients that stimulate referrals, which will increase your profit.
Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit on Amazon
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries
Al Ries and his daughter, Laura, are marketing geniuses. They have had multiple books become wildly successful because of their marketing genius. In The Immutable Laws of Branding the Ries expound upon topics that many business professionals overlook or simply ignore. Obeying the laws of branding can help instill a brand and carve out market share in the minds of consumers. There are many things that companies do that sound like common sense, but are counter intuitive to great branding.
One Takeaway: Have your brand focus on one particular product or service category. The more categories you serve, the less you’re known for one. When in trouble, people would much rather go to and highly pay a specialist, than a general practitioner. If you must expand, expand in service area, not category, at least under the same brand name.
The 22 Laws of Immutable Branding on Amazon
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Jim Collins’ popular book Good to Great outlines what Collins found in his search on what has allowed some companies to go from good to great. He focuses primarily on larger companies, but the principles can be applied even to start-ups. Collins focuses primarily on organizations and the internal structure of great businesses.
One Takeaway: Businesses are a reflection of their leaders. Also, when building a succession plan and choosing company leadership, you should promote from within.
Good to Great on Amazon
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
This is a timeless classic. A successful entrepreneur must know about the management of money and resources. The Richest Man in Babylon lays a great foundation and gives a phenomenal blueprint of how to acquire, maintain, and invest money. You will find simple principles that have extraordinary value.
One Takeaway: Set a portion of your income aside for yourself and invest it so that it will work for you to produce more income that can be reinvested.
The Richest Man in Babylon on Amazon
Money – Master the Game by Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is known for his personal development and motivational speaking. In his book, Money – Master the Game, Tony tells us how the financial marketplace is structured. He exposes how many people that invest their money with financial planners and advisors are being charged fees to the point where they are not making money and in many cases losing money. He elaborates upon how the fee structure of financial advisors and planners are set up for them to make money regardless of whether investors win or lose. I recommend listening to this book multiple times via Amazon’s Audible app. You will learn that you cannot trust anyone else with good care of your investment.
One Takeaway: Read the fine print before you hire a financial advisor or broker. Many times it is better to invest directly into a stock index vs a mutual fund because of the avoidance of fees. You should also build an all-weather portfolio that will stand the test of time (blueprint included in book).
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
Michael Gerber is one of the people responsible for reshaping the way I view businesses. The premise of the book is that businesses that perform on a large scale and passively for the owner, must be set up as systems. There should be documentation and processes for every aspect of your business. This allows you to be able to have a company or a system that generates consistent results. It also allows your company to be able to run without you. Each position within your company should have an instruction manual that will allow almost anyone to pick it up and perform the various tasks in order to allow the business to continue to serve.
One Takeaway: Your business is a system that consists of various roles that have different processes. You should have designated processes for each role so that your business or system can run without you doing the work yourself and produce consistent results.
The E-Myth Revisted on Amazon
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
If you would like to know how to communicate with people and get more of what you want, then it will be wise for you to read Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie talks about the art of communication and relationship building. If you would like to be a leader of men and an influencer in any industry then this book is a must read. Carnegie is great at telling stories that illustrate his points. I would also recommend listening to this book via audio, if you can.
One Takeaway: Don’t criticize people. Rather, you should praise them in accordance with who you would like them to be.
How to Win Friends and Influence People on Amazon
Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
Right after marketing, hiring and retaining great talent is absolutely critical to the success of an entrepreneur. The book Who teaches us how to attract, hire, and retain top talent. It gives us a framework on how to prepare a scorecard for what an “A Player” would look like within our company. It then goes on to teach us how to attract “A Players” and then the system on how to hire them. This book is a must-read for every entrepreneur that is looking to build an organization that surpasses themselves.
One Takeaway: When you get the “who” right, the “what” and “how” are often taken care of by “A Players.”
Who on Amazon
The Bible has business wisdom of the ages. Whether it is the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Gospels, or more, the Bible has tons of profitable information for the entrepreneur. It always amazes me at how much relevant truth is in the book that was written over 2000 years ago.
One Takeaway: The more you serve with your giving, the more you can receive. Love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.
The Bible on Amazon
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
In this book T. Harv Eker talks about how many of us from a young age are conditioned to have a poverty mindset. He talks about how people are trained to think “realistically,” but the truth is, life will give you whatever you ask of it. And if you limit your mind by settling for the mundane and average, that is exactly what you will get. However, to have a millionaire experience you must have a millionaire philosophy and mind.
One Takeaway: Before you achieve anything great, you must first achieve it in your mind. There may be psychological barriers in your mind that you have been conditioned with from an early age. You must break them and recondition your mind to have a millionaire’s philosophy.
This is just a fraction of the awesome books that are out there to help you achieve greater entrepreneurial success. Make time to read them and listen to them frequently. You will see the practicality of the wonderful saying. “For things to get better, you must get better.” – Jim Rohn
Mike Calloway: I acquired EpicLaunch out of my passion for business and to helping young entrepreneurs succeed. It’s so fun to get an idea and turn it into a profitable business that people love.
What are some good books that you recommend to entrepreneurs?