20 Must-Reads for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

If you want to take your new business or idea to the next level, start by going through some or all of these resources.

learn more about Sujan Patel

By Sujan Patel • Dec 15, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Building a successful, thriving business isn't easy. If it was, everyone would do it. According to data presented by the Harvard Business School:

  • 25 percent of startups will fail within the first year.
  • Of those remaining, 36 percent will fail within the second year.
  • Of those remaining, 44 percent will fail within the third year.

When you look at and think about those numbers, the idea of starting a business can be a bit daunting. Things can get even scarier when it comes time to actually start investing real time and money into an idea that you hope will take off.

As an aspiring entrepreneur, the best thing you can do to alleviate any fears or worries you have in the early stages of starting a business is to educate yourself and learn from people who have come before you. When it comes to building a successful business, knowledge truly is power.

Related: 21 Resources to Make You a Better Entrepreneur

If you want to take your new business or idea to the next level, start by going through some or all of these must-read resources for aspiring entrepreneurs:


There are a ton of great books out there that can help teach you how to grow your business and succeed. Here are 10 of my favorites:

1. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Eric Ries teaches readers how to develop their businesses and products faster. It's a great book to read when you're feeling like things are moving too slowly or taking too long.

2. The Four Steps To The Epiphany by Steve Blank

Steve Blank provides readers with actionable information about why some startups succeed while others fail. It's similar to The Lean Startup in that it focuses on things such as rapid iteration testing assumptions.

3. Rework by Jason Fried

Jason Fried helps business owners zero in on what actually matters when it comes to business success. He also gives a number of great recommendations on how to boost productivity and how to build strong teams.

4. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh teaches readers how to develop unforgettable customer support and corporate culture programs.

5. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

Author Gary Vaynerchuk uses his "no B.S." style of writing that he's best known for to teach business owners how to best connect with customers and beat out the competition.

6. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Seth Godin teaches readers how to develop products and services that are actually worth marketing. It will also teach you how to differentiate from competition.

7. Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

Serial entrepreneur Richard Branson lets readers in on the philosophy that he has used to build successful companies and products.

8. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

Jessica Livingston explains how some of the most successful CEOs and founders built the businesses that we all have come to know and love today.

9. Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

TOMs CEO Blake Mycoskie will helps aspiring entrepreneurs understand the importance of making a difference in the world when it comes to building businesses and products.

10. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz offers key advice on building and running startups. He teaches readers how to confront the big problems that most business owners face at one time or another.

Related: 25 Amazing Business Books From 2014

Blog posts

In addition to books, there are also a ton of of great blog posts being published every day that can help steer you in the right direction. Here are 10 of my favorites:

11. 20 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails by Jimmy Daly for VERO

Jimmy Daly from VERO presents 20 tips to help you get the most out of email marketing. Each tip mentioned includes one or more real-world examples.

12. 75 Resources for Writing Incredible Copy That Converts by Chloe Mason Gray for KISSmetrics

Chloe Mason Gray provides 75 great resources to help readers learn how to write better copy for landing pages, ads, emails, social media and websites.

13. Customer Acquisition Strategies for Entrepreneurs by Gregory Ciotti for Help Scout

Gregory Ciotti helps readers learn the best ways to acquire customers in the age of the Internet.

14. Ultimate Growth Hackers Resource List by the team at Autosend

The team at Autosend teaches readers everything they will ever want or need to know about growth hacking.

15. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Techniques: The Complete List by Brian Dean for Backlinko

Brian Dean educates on the in's and out's of CRO by providing helpful examples, definitions and links to additional resources.

16. 60 Must-Read Marketing, Business & Social Media Blogs for 2015 by Brian Honigman for Honigman Media

Brian Honigman helps business owners prepare for the New Year by sending you to the top blogs that you should be reading for marketing, business and social-media strategy.

17. The Complete Guide to Understanding Consumer Psychology by Neil Patel for Quick Sprout

Neil Patel offers a comprehensive look at consumer psychology in the digital age. This ebook is a great place to start before you build your website, ads and other marketing collateral.

18. How to Grow a Blog to 100,000 Visitors in Less than a Year by Peep Laja for OkDork

Peep Laja will give you everything you need to grow your business blog to 100,000 visitors in your first year of business.

19. How Creating a Sense of Urgency Helped Me Increase Sales By 332% by Marcus Taylor for ConversionXL

Marcus Taylor will help you understand how important urgency is in launching and selling your products.

20. How to Gather 100,000 Emails in One Week by Tim Ferriss for Four Hour Work Week

Tim Ferriss gives readers the tools and strategies needed to build a massive email list -- which is incredibly important since email is one of the primary methods of communication for businesses and consumers today.

What other books or blog posts should be on this list? Leave your suggestion in the comments section below!

Related: 12 Great Resources for Diving Into Consumer Psychology

Sujan Patel

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits

In his 14-plus years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic and sales and strengthen their online brand reputation. Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits and Mailshake.

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