Entrepreneur Reads is a series designed to bring to our readers the best books we've found to help motivate your entrepreneurial drive. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified of new features.
We've asked successful entrepreneur, university professor and Entrepreneur Press author Michael Glauser for his favorite books that he believes our readers will enjoy.
Glauser: When Elon Musk was asked how he became the chief technology officer of a rocket ship company he replied, “I read a lot of books . . .” Like Musk, many of the thriving entrepreneurs I have worked with during my career are voracious readers. In addition to business books, they read about science, technology, wars, religion, history, and world leaders. Great books keep us informed about our world, introduce us to inspiring role models, and teach us important concepts we can apply in life and business. Although I spent a lot of years in college and earned three degrees, I feel that reading has been my greatest source of learning during my career. Here are 10 books I highly recommend for aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Fankl
This is the best book I have read on the power of purpose and meaning in life. Frankl shows how having a powerful “why” can help us overcome any “how.” Having a strong and engaging purpose is the first step for every entrepreneur – it is the foundation for building a successful company.
Endurance by Alfred Lansing
Building a business is hard work. This book shows that there is always a way out of difficult and seemingly impossible situations. You learn how the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton created a vision, inspired hope, managed dissent, created strong teams, and orchestrated a miraculous rescue.
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
Every aspiring entrepreneur and small business owner should read this book. It is all about creating processes and systems to help you stabilize and grow your business without burning yourself out. You learn how to work “on your business” rather than “in your business.” The book is a classic.
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
This book is an excellent tool for the solopreneur. It’s about starting a small business or side gig with very little money. The message is simple: everyone can do something to create income and take care of themselves.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
This book started the hubbub about minimal viable products, small experiments, constant evaluation, and pivoting. It captures what innovative entrepreneurs actually do to build successful companies. Read it to ensure that your venture takes and grows.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
This is an excellent book about the power of teamwork. It is the inspiring true story of how the University of Washington’s rowing team won the gold medal at Hitler’s Olympics in 1936. It shows how everyday individuals like you and me can accomplish great feats when we get in sync in both attitude and effort.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
This is a remarkably transparent book about the realities of entrepreneurship. You see how a group of misfits scrambled, stumbled, pivoted, and persisted to build something they believed in. You learn how Knight and his team got into the game by selling another company’s shoes, later creating their own products, and eventually building one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips
This book has a lot to teach us about leading organizations. It contains powerful principles practiced by one of our greatest presidents. You will learn how Lincoln created an inspiring vision, persuaded rather than coerced, built strong alliances, created innovative solutions to problems, managed a very diverse team, overcame insurmountable odds, and ultimately saved the union.
The City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre
This book is about a band of heroes with limited resources who make a huge difference in one of the largest slums in the world. I read it early in my career and it inspired me to build a social component into each of my companies. I firmly believe we can solve many of the problems in the world through the organizations we create, and giving back significantly improves the quality of our own lives.
Main Street Entrepreneur by Michael Glauser
This must seem a bit self-serving, but I wrote this book to clarify the road map successful entrepreneurs follow to create thriving companies. To make the book more interesting, I rode my bike 4,000 miles across America to collect the stories it contains. I truly believe the book outlines the key factors that make the most difference between success and failure when building a new venture.