10 great books to improve the skills of every entrepreneur

10 great books to improve the skills of every entrepreneur

Ranya Barakat

March 03, 2015

Q1 is almost coming to an end, and the ball is rolling. If you are an entrepreneur, you will most probably be asking yourself the dreadful questions; are you on target? Are you achieving your q1 set goals?

Is your website traffic where you had planned for it to be? Have you found the resources you need to take the next step? The list of questions is endless since when you are an entrepreneur, the job never ends.

Let's take a look at the definition of an entrepreneur: 

Merriam-Webster: “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”

Dictionary.com: “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

With this definition in mind, there are so many of us out there that are entrepreneurs. People like us work 24/7 to create something out of passion used to fulfill someone's need.

To do this well, as cost-effectively, on schedule, with a solid business plan, and successfully, there is always a need for a proactive, self-learning process. This process gave me the idea to research and write about 10 great books every entrepreneur should read.

The method by which I selected these books is based upon the number of awards, positive reviews, and recommendations given to the author/publisher. However, this does not mean that these are the only books to read.

On the contrary, this is a start to a series of posts with recommended books. An entrepreneur in any industry can read these books. It can be social media, email marketing, Inbound Marketing, travel and tourism, hospitality, real estate, accounting, and the list goes on and on.

The top 10 books that improve your skills as an entrepreneur

  1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  2. The Leadership Challenge
  3. Atlas Shrugged
  4. Resonate
  5. The Innovator's Dilemma
  6. The Lean Startup
  7. Gamestorming
  8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
  9. The 4-Hour Workweek
  10. Outliers

The Hard Thing About Hard Things:

Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about the hard things about building a business and running one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems confronting leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality, to knowing the right time to cash in.

The Leadership Challenge

by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner 

For more than 25 years, The Leadership Challenge has been the most trusted source for becoming a better leader, selling more than 2 million copies in over 20 languages since its first publication. Based on Kouzes and Posner's extensive research, this all-new edition casts their enduring work in context for today's world, proving how leadership is a relationship that must be nurtured, and most importantly, that it can be learned. This is a great book on how entrepreneurs can be better leaders. 

Atlas Shrugged

by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged is an inspiring book for entrepreneurs. It is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man's body, but the murder--and rebirth--of man's spirit. 


Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte

Resonate helps you make a strong connection with your audience and lead them to purposeful action. This is essential if you want to improve your skills as an entrepreneur. The author's approach is simple: building a presentation today is a bit like writing a documentary. Using this approach, you'll convey your content with passion, persuasion, and impact.

The Innovator's Dilemma

The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen

The Innovator’s Dilemma is the revolutionary business book that has forever changed corporate America. Based on a truly radical idea, a great company can fail precisely because they do everything right — this Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and New York Times Business bestseller are some of the most provocative and important business books ever written. But, unfortunately, entrepreneurs, managers, and CEOs ignore its wisdom and warnings at their great peril. A must-read when setting your business growth strategy. 

The Lean Startup

How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup approach fosters more capital efficient companies and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as several counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. 


A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo

This book includes more than 80 games to help you break down barriers, teaches you how to get better communication skills, generate new ideas, insights, and strategies, and how to be more creative. The authors have identified tools and techniques from some of the world’s most innovative professionals, whose teams collaborate and make great things happen. This book is the result: a unique collection of games that encourage engagement and creativity while bringing more structure and clarity to the workplace.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

The renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics take us on a tour of how the mind works and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation - each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

The 4-Hour Workweek

Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan - there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint. This book can help you achieve your dreams and live the life of the rich and famous. 


The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell asks the question: what makes high achievers different? He answers that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way, he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

I would love to hear which books you recommend and why? The more we all share our views and feedback, the better we can all get at helping one another succeed. 

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Ranya Barakat

Ranya is a serial entrepreneur with over 11 years of experience working on the HubSpot CRM. She is a tech geek with a passion for solving problems for customers. She loves pushing her sleeves up , and getting s*** done. When she is not running her Global services team, you can find her upside down on her yoga mat.

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