8 books every entrepreneur should read

.At the end of your life, two things will have defined you; the people you have met and the books you have read. Never have I read a more true statement, reading is not negotiable for anyone who wants to be successful. Period. So here is a list to get you started. What are some of your favourites?

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. 

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner in economics, Daniel Kahneman provided this bestselling explanation of how people think -- describing the fast, intuitive and emotional System 1 and the slower, more deliberative and more logical System 2. By understanding these systems, readers can learn to think things out more slowly instead of acting on an impulse.

2. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

This book is a must read for any business leader, not just the entrepreneur. It is filled with valuable insights about what creates, drives and sustains an innovative culture and compels a company to attempt what no other company has done. Remarkable lessons that only a CEO would know.

3. True North by Bill George and Peter Sims

This is a great book to discover your personal leadership vision, values and motivations. The authors surveyed 125 men and women on what they believe makes them authentic leaders, and the answers may surprise you. Also of note is the personal leadership development portfolio handbook that accompanies the book, which is a personal guide to help you develop your authentic leadership.

4. Zero to One: Notes Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

The following excerpt sums up the concept of Theil’s book: “Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1.”

This bestseller is geared specifically towards the startup community as it offers invaluable advice on what to consider and what to avoid before moving forward. Additionally, the author offers his philosophy on business, which helps the reader generate new ideas he or she may not have considered previously.

5. ThinkerToys by Michael Michalko

The ability to create is just that -- a developable ability -- that can be learned and improved upon much like any other competency, and the author does just that in this creativity “bible.” After all, creativity and opportunity are what emboldens wannabe startup founders to take the plunge into the world of debt known as entrepreneurship. ThinkerToys, and its companion Thinkpad: A Brainstorming Card Deck, offers 33 different exercises and 56 cards that will spark your creativity and inspire the innovation monster within.

6. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

There’s a reason why this book is number one on Amazon and a Hollywood motion picture. While entrepreneurism isn’t quite the theme of this book, the lessons of personal sacrifice, survival and resiliency are. After reading this book your perspective on founding a startup may change because if the main character, Louie Zamperini, overcame the challenges and catastrophes he faced, then so can you.

7. Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, Chris Fussel, Tantum Collins, and David Silverman

As head of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal faced an enemy that was constantly changing before his very eyes. In a world of both complicated and complex challenges, how do you stay ahead of the power curve while the world and competition change? This book explains how. (Great for team building too)

8. Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

While this book is completely visionary, it raises questions and concerns about current industrial and societal trends and where they will lead in the future. From a startup perspective, the global challenges the authors envision also serve as business opportunities. Of note, the authors have a second book entitled Bold that will “teach today’s entrepreneurs the tools, technologies and mindsets they will need to make ‘it’ happen.”

What are some of your favourite books?


Edited and adapted from original articles, here and here