In The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, 800-CEO-Read's founder, Jack Covert, and president, Todd Sattersten, pulled together a list of what they considered to be the best business books ever written. They separated their picks into categories like Strategy, Management and, yes, Entrepreneurship, which only had room enough for classics like Guy Kawasaki's The Art of the Start, Paul Hawken's Growing a Business and five others. What would they have included if space wasn't a concern? We recently called to find out.
1. You Need to Be a Little Crazy, by Barry Moltz
An irreverent, but honest, account of what to expect when starting up. Moltz, a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, discusses the passion--or insanity--that drives entrepreneurs and draws from real-life stories to show that sometimes failure is inevitable. It's a message every small-business owner needs to hear, but doesn't hear enough.
2. Oh, the Places You'll Go!, by Dr. Seuss
It's a treatise on doubt, procrastination, loneliness and overcoming your fears in a refreshingly brief 600 words. It may look like a children's book, but the advice in this Dr. Seuss classic is universal: When you pick yourself up after every setback, success is "98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed."
3. Founders at Work, by Jessica Livingston
If you've ever wondered what qualities all successful entrepreneurs possess, wonder no more. Livingston takes a look at several of today's well-known tech companies, including Apple, Flickr and PayPal. Through illuminating interviews with company founders, you'll learn valuable--and sometimes surprising--things about how these revolutionaries stumbled on the path to success.
4. The Innovator's Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen
This is an engaging book that explains how big companies are toppled by ignoring innovations from seemingly low-end competitors. Entrepreneurs should read it like a playbook on how to break into markets and catch the incumbents flatfooted.
5. Purple Cow, by Seth Godin
Godin has just one piece of advice for business owners: Be remarkable. You're either a purple cow (exciting, phenomenal and unforgettable) or you're just like the rest of them (boring and invisible). The idea is that the key to success is being extraordinary from the start by building the remarkable into everything you do.