Benjamin Franklin once said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” The nine entrepreneurs on our list have done both. Not only have they launched successful businesses, but they have turned the knowledge they gained along the way into books that offer advice for those seeking inspiration or insight for those looking to do the same.
Enjoy our list of entrepreneurs turned writers, then check out one of their books, it might just be the easiest business class you ever take.
Book: Losing My Virginity (Crown Business, 2011)
Branson takes readers on an outrageous ride through his, “Oh, screw it, let’s do it,” style of business and living. Losing My Virginity shows that sometimes the only way to succeed in business is to write your own rules.
image credit: Marc Royce
This book presents a 12-step plan for the development of a “digital nervous system” that allows for information to move through all levels of a company. “The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competition, is to do an outstanding job with information.” Gates writes.
image credit: Bill Gates Strategies
Founding partner of the seed stage venture firm Y Combinator
Book: Founders at Work (Apress, 2008)
An extensive collection of interviews with startup big guns such as Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal) and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail). The book explores how these men and women came up with the ideas that brought them success and how they coped with the mistakes along the way.
image credit: Paolo Vescia Photography
Founder of Garage Technology Ventures
Book: Enchantment (Portfolio, 2011)
Kawasaki’s book posits that business is not so much about persuading someone to buy your product as it is about bringing about a voluntary change in your customers. When done correctly, the enchantment approach can show your customer base how to love what you love and dream what you dream.
image credit: The Power of Introverts
Founder and CEO of Magnon Solutions, an Indian digital media company
Book: The Street To The Highway (Jaico Publishing House, 2012)
The Street To The Highway dispels the myth that entrepreneurial success is only for a select few corporate juggernauts. According to Bajpai, achievement is the result of following a system of proven strategies and positive actions.
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Chairman and president of The Trump Organization, founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts and star of NBC’s The Apprentice.
Book: Midas Touch (Plata Publishing, 2011)
A collection of personal and professional entrepreneurial stories from Trump and co-authoer Robert T. Kiyosaki (of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame) aimed at answering the questions such as “Why do the top names in business seem to knock it out of the park with every venture?” and “Why can’t one of these sluggers be you?”
image credit: UPROXX
Founder and former president of Pepperjam, an internet marketing agency purchased by eBay.
Book: Search Engine Optimization (Visual, 2010)
This is a step-by-step guide to building online communities, analyzing your competition, and developing your link building skills. A useful guide to SEO, one of the most important forms of online marketing today.
image credit: Vimeo
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Owners of a billion-dollar empire that includes fashion lines The Row, Elizabeth & James and Olsenboye
Book: Influence (Razorbill, 2008)
An insightful collection of conversations between the two twin magnates about art, fashion and the people who have inspired them creatively.
image credit: Fanpop
PayPal founder and early Facebook investor
Book: The Blueprint (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012)
Where has the world’s innovation gone? In The Blueprint, Thiel and company take the perception of technological progress to task, calling for more radical research and development into technologies and engineering. An action that will not only advance innovation, it will also create millions of jobs in the process.
image credit: Peter Thiel