Best Business Books: The First-Time Entrepreneur’s Reading List

By Vikas Agrawal

June 26, 2017   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

best business books

Many of recent history’s well-renowned entrepreneurs are well-read. Take, for example, Elon Musk and Richard Branson. They have an extensive list, ranging from science fiction and fantasy to historical and business books.

While reading is just one factor that may contribute to success, it is a habit that heavily influences the mind. So, for someone who’s starting out in the business world, you should choose which ideas inhabit and influence your plans, goals, and strategies.

Carve some time this weekend and snuggle with a good book, beginning with the following best business books.

The Lean Startup

Author: Eric Ries

the lean startup

First published in 2011, the book and its central topic remain relevant today. To make launching an enterprise a less risky endeavor, Eric Ries introduces the methodology of the lean startup. As this Harvard Business Review article puts it, the lean startup “favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional ‘big design up front’ development.”

Pick this up from the shelf if you want to learn the techniques that will help you spend less time, money and energy in building up your business idea. Though the goal of the Lean Startup is to present alternatives to traditional business practices. It can also help boost your confidence to fail fast and continue learning.

The Art of the Start

Author: Guy Kawasaki

the art of the start

If you are busy and you have to choose just one book to digest this year, this should be it. If you are at the stage of preparing a pitch and meeting with potential investors, the concepts that Guy Kawasaki outlined in this book will be of much help. Kawasaki, a former chief evangelist at Apple, even shared a list of top ten entrepreneur lies that you can avoid.

Complement it with the Art of the Start 2.0 or devour it as a standalone material. Some readers describe the Art of the Start as fun and comprehensive. Kawasaki’s writing style is clear, instructive and insightful. I am betting you will enjoy this book as much as I did.


Authors: Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson


“If given a choice between investing in someone who has read REWORK or has an MBA, I’m investing in REWORK every time. A must read for every entrepreneur.” That comment is from serial entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Indeed, for a startup or small business owner, this book is gold. It’s written for people like you in the first place.

REWORK is composed of short essays. Each of them is one to two pages long and uses plain language throughout. Mainly, the essays rework certain prevailing mindsets regarding topics, like workaholism, meetings and competition. You’re in for a ride as this book challenges conventional wisdom and the status quo. Plus, instead of illustrations, it contains artworks to complement the text.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remember Everything

Author: Joshua Foer

moonwalking with einstein

“Our lives are the sum of our memories,” says Joshua Foer, a freelance journalist who studied and wrote about memory improvement. There’s a good review here of his book, Moonwalking with Einstein, which details his journey from following mental athletes to learning ancient mnemonic techniques himself.

Moonwalking with Einstein does not fall under the category of business books. But, it is an engaging read for anyone who wants to improve his ability to remember things, including entrepreneurial concepts and ideas. The techniques are easy to learn if you have the time to devote to them.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for A Fantastic Future

Author: Ashlee Vance

elon musk book

The only biography on the list, Elon Musk will take you deeper into the life and mind of the man behind some of the world’s most advanced technologies: spacecraft and electric cars. Far from being a sci-fi read, it relays the beginnings of Musk’s venture into space and automotive territories. Journalist Ashlee Vance covers necessary grounds for the readers to understand the nerdy kid who was designing video game codes at 12 years old.

If anything, it can provide you with the necessary push to start, endure and keep moving forward in your entrepreneurial journey. The book will tell you that even Elon Musk, with his demi-god status in Silicon Valley, did not go this far without stumbling many times.

Vikas Agrawal

Vikas Agrawal is a start-up Investor and co-founder of the Infographic design agency, He is a highly influential research analyst and strategic marketing consultant. Vikas advises and plans the visual marketing campaigns of Medium to Large companies. Vikas has worked globally across multiple industries including retail, financial services, logistics, manufacturing, telecoms and pharmaceuticals deploying effective strategic marketing plans and methodologies. A renowned blogger on the subject

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