Five Books MENA Entrepreneurs Should Read To Get Ahead With Their Startups

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There is an unprecedented variety of books that can aid entrepreneurs in the Middle East to scale their business on a global level. However, many entrepreneurs are often stretched for time which can make it difficult to pick books that are worth reading.


This year, I was committed to finding some of the most invaluable entrepreneurial books in the publishing world. The key, for me, was to track down books that can give you the best tips, advice and knowledge so that you can fully implement ways to further excel in your business. Some of the most successful people are those who take the time out to read, Bill Gates for example, even shares his reading lists on an annual basis. 

I have often been asked to recommend books that can help entrepreneurs grow. Self-education by gaining knowledge through those who share their life experiences, successes and mistakes can help you to succeed and scale your project, business or venture ten-fold.

Here are five books that I believe Middle East entrepreneurs should read, which can help them gain the skills, knowledge, and drive to accelerate their prospects and reach intended goals.

1. Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Branding and social media play a significant role in helping entrepreneurs to reach a wider audience outside their locality, and can often "make or break" a business, which is why I have placed this book at the number one spot. New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk offers an invaluable insight into inspiration, drawn from dozens of influencers who chose to pursue their dreams, by building flourishing businesses and amazing brands. 

This book can help any entrepreneur in the Middle East look into a number of different social media platforms, as Gary goes through them so that anyone can learn how to accelerate the presence of their business online. What struck me the most about this book was that Gary not only talks about the more popular social media platforms, but also teaches us how to tap into the emerging ones, to get a full hold of the many different avenues to brand your product or service.

2. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup is a must-read for those entrepreneurs who are under the misconception that you need a lot of capital to succeed. Charles shows us experiences of startups that have started with just $100 or less in their pockets, but went on to build million dollar businesses. The book documents over 50 interesting case studies of entrepreneurs and contains actionable steps and checklists for those who want to realise their goals.

A strong emphasis in the book is to follow your passions through by avoiding procrastination and taking action. Chris argues that you do not even need to start out from a business background but if you have a passion, product or service that people are willing to buy you can turn that into a successful business.

3. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris

This book is an evergreen one and a classic that no list of books for entrepreneurs could be without! Having sold 1.3 million copies and translated into 25 languages this book made a home for itself on The New York Times bestseller list for over seven years. The 4- Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris enables you to challenge boundaries, live more and do what you love doing as an entrepreneur. Ferris cleverly documents how to leverage time and location whilst making money. The essence of the book covers productivity, utilising time and the power of outsourcing and automation to get your work done effectively.

4. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Eric Ries is the founder of the "lean startup" revolution, which enables entrepreneurs to learn how to bootstrap a business and be ahead of the game with digital innovation. Entrepreneurs in the Middle East know the rapidly growing tech industry is evolving and there is more pressure for businesses to be adapt to innovative methods of branding, marketing and business strategies. This book motivates entrepreneurs to stay ahead of the game in the digital space, take action and keep testing and adapting. If you are looking for a blueprint to stay ahead of the game this book is one to read!

5. Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

Zero to One is must-read for those who want to to tap into the power of innovation and create something amazing. Paypal founder and Facebook investor, Peter Thiel shows us the importance of being able to think for yourself and not follow the crowd of other inventors. The key theme that Peter expresses is that when you do something new, you are moving from zero to one (as the title says). Thiel believes that you can train yourself to innovate in your product offerings and build something new that can gain success.  This book gets you to think outside the books and work on businesses that offer something completely new rather than working on updates of existing products that are already on the market. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to create something unheard of then get your reading hat on for this one!

Related: Embracing Failure: Lessons From History's Most Successful Entrepreneurs



Tasnim Nazeer

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Tasnim Nazeer is an award-winning journalist, author, and UN Universal Peace Federation Ambassador. She has written for The Huffington Post, CNN, BBC, and others. She was awarded the Ibn Battuta Award for Excellence in Media in 2013 for writing on a range of topics from business and entrepreneurship to human rights and world news.