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5 Must-Read Books For Every Entrepreneur

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Malcolm X once said, “My alma mater was books at a good library...I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.” And he was right. There is no better way to continue your education and enhance your life than to begin in the pages of a great book.

Even entrepreneurs starting on a shoestring budget can have access to some of the greatest teachers and leaders of today, as well as lessons from the past, by simply picking a book. No formal education required.

Related: 4 Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read

That said, the whole process can be overwhelming. If you look in the business section of your local library, bookstore or the Amazon storefront it can feel a bit much and can be difficult to sort through all the clutter in order to get to the heart of texts that will truly impact your life.

From classics to new releases, here are five great additions to any entrepreneur’s reading list.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill’s old school classic Think and Grow Rich was first published in 1937 after Hill spent 20 years researching and interviewing more than 40 millionaires of his age. He got his start with steel magnate and millionaire Andrew Carnegie. That should be a good enough case to make this book a must read. While written almost 80 years ago the language and lessons are straightforward, easy to understand and still relevant today.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

There are lots of marketing books out there. In fact, when you type “marketing” into the search engine of Amazon you get more than 560,000 entries.

Don’t drown your enthusiasm for marketing in the sea of offerings. Go straight for Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook and save yourself the time and money of searching for a better guide. Vaynerchuk has treated this book more as an instructional manual by including lots of examples on how to do your social-media marketing correctly, case studies of how it’s been done wrong and provides you with the right tools to market on the appropriate social-media channels.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is primarily concerned with leadership and what it takes to be a great one. Utilizing numerous examples in his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Sinek shares that the greatest leaders had one thing in common: They started their passion’s pursuit by asking why. Sinek argues that great leaders find their why first and share that why to inspire and lead others.

If you’re caught up in the how of your task or the purely physical outcome of your entrepreneurial pursuits, you may quickly find yourself burned out. Sinek’s book will help you home in and discover your true why for doing what you do. And hopefully, that fire will help fuel your ever-evolving journey to get there.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

What many focused on were only the real estate aspects of Robert Kiyosaki's book series, but you don’t have to be a property investor to acquire a plethora of knowledge from this Kiyosaki classic Rich Dad, Poor Dad. What Kiyosaki was really trying to impart in this book was a wealthy way of thinking. A way of thinking that looked at true assets and liabilities and the mindset of the wealthy in assessing their finances. He shares examples from his own highly educated but poor father and those of a close friend’s father who was not educated but incredibly wealthy. In doing so, he emphasizes that it’s our thinking and not our educational pedigree that grooms us for our ultimate success in life. 

Every entrepreneur needs to adopt a wealthy mindset. If you aren’t’ thinking about assets and the bottom line, you are never going to join the ranks of Kiyosaki’s “rich dad” mentor.

Choose Yourself by James Altucher

James Altrucher is one of those writers who shares so much about his own personal failures that you almost cringe along the way. Once you get past that uncomfortable feeling of having to read about his numerous mistakes and insecurities, you feel more at peace to trust him and go along on the journey he lays ahead of you. After all, you have securities and hang-ups, too. Just like Altucher, you’ve had bad decisions and set backs that've made you feel like a failure. What’s great about Choose Yourself is it inspires people to stop making the mistake Altucher made. He argues (and provides numerous personal and interview examples) that when you choose yourself for success, when you’re honest and open about the real you and your authentic passions, you jumpstart your success. 

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Matthew Toren

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Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.