Get All Access for $5/mo

10 Little-Known Books to Add to Your Entrepreneur Bookshelf What's on your night table?

By Nathan Chan Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


The famous philosopher William Godwin said, "He that loves reading has everything within his reach," including wealth, success and happiness. But plenty of the book lists out there suggest the same great business titles over and over again.

Related: Why My Team Got Books for Christmas

So, give yourself an edge. Read this list of little-known but extremely powerful books on business, self-improvement and entrepreneurship. These under-appreciated gems have helped entrepreneurs transform their lives and reach success.

1. 'Failing Forward'

Failure is an unavoidable obstacle on the road to success. According to author John C. Maxwell, the difference between those who stray or stay on the path is how those in the latter group deal with failure.

This book analyzes the reasons why failure happens, and how it can become a tool for getting ahead. If you want to know how to flip your mistakes into wins, read this book.

2. 'Maslow on Management'

Abraham Maslow was a renowned American psychologist who created the theory for the human hierarchy of needs. After food and safety, people are motivated by the need for love, self-esteem and, finally, self-actualization.

In this book, Maslow applied this theory to management, to produce insights that today are more relevant than ever in managing the new generation of millennial workers.

3. 'The Ultimate Question'

Could there be such a thing as bad profits?

Author Fred Reichheld makes a convincing case for how most CEOs drive short-term profits with long-term drawbacks, by placing fast growth over customer satisfaction. The book teaches that maintaining excellent customer satisfaction is key to long-term and sustainable profitability.

4. 'Pour Your Heart Into It'

Want to know the secret to Starbucks' world domination? Author Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, reveals how he turned a simple coffee shop chain into one of the most impressive business feats of the century.

Anyone trying to build a brand with international recognition, integrity and a phenomenal growth rate needs to read about Starbucks' journey.

Related: The 25 Essential Books for Every Entrepreneur's Library

5. 'The Five Temptations of a CEO'

This book tells a compelling fable of a failing CEO, complete with morals and lessons.

This quick read, by Patrick Lencioni, is perfect for someone who has entered a leadership position and is looking to understand how to avoid common leadership downfalls.

6. 'What Got You Here Won't Get You There'

This book is perfect for any successful person looking to become even more so.

Getting from near the top to the very top takes significant mind shifts, as the book explains. Best of all, author Marshall Goldsmith's principles may be extrapolated to help us all become better parents and spouses.

7. 'The Maxwell Leadership Bible'

This second book on the list by John C. Maxwell, a leading leadership expert, offers insights for any current or aspiring leader.

Based on verses from the Bible, it helps readers find divine inspiration to fulfill their potential and become the excellent leaders they were meant to be.

8. 'Mastering the Rockefeller Habits'

Is your business growing quickly? This is the book for you. Author Verne Harnish goes through the rules to live by when your small business enters a stage of hyper-growth. Harnish's advice may help your business reach its full potential.

9. 'Who'

Whether you run a small business and are looking to hire to expand, or are a parent just looking for a babysitter, knowing how to pick the right person is essential.

Author Geoff Smart outlines the key components of effective hiring, and how essential this decision is to business and life.

10. 'Maverick'

Ricardo Semler transformed his family's struggling company into a profitable workplace. For over 25 years, Semler grew that operation into one where workers pick their own salaries, choose when and where they work and decide on who gets hired. Semler's firsthand account demonstrates how workplace democracy can ignite productivity and lead to profits for all.

You may not have heard of these books, but by reading them, you won't miss out on some essential business wisdom.

Related: 7 Books (and Blogs) for the Entrepreneur in All of Us

Nathan Chan

Publisher of Foundr Magazine

Nathan Chan is the publisher of Foundr Magazine, a digital magazine for young, aspiring and novice stage entrepreneurs. He has had the pleasure of interviewing rock star business leaders to find out what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

The Side Hustle He Started in His College Apartment Turned Into a $70,000-a-Month Income Stream — Then Earned Nearly $2 Million Last Year

Kyle Morrand and his college roommates loved playing retro video games — and the pastime would help launch his career.

Business News

A Former Corporate Lawyer Now Makes Six Figures on YouTube — Here's How She Does It

Here are the secrets to starting and growing a successful YouTube channel, according to a YouTuber with millions of subscribers.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Growing a Business

How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

Wondering how long your marketing emails should be? Here's what consumers say — so you can send them exactly what they like.

Business News

Y Combinator Helped Launch Reddit, Airbnb and Dropbox. Here's What I Learned From Its Free Startup School.

The famed startup accelerator offers a free course on building a business — and answers five pressing questions for founders.