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Reading List for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Here we’ve rounded up some popular reads that are quenching the thirst of ambitious entrepreneurs.

As well as titles released this year, we’ve included some timeless classics that are well worth a read. As business owners and entrepreneurs, we appreciate free time is very much a luxury. With this in mind, all the books on this list offer audio versions – so whether you’re commuting, cooking dinner or walking the dog, you can access some inspirational insight at a time that works for you.

Are you ready? Let’s dive straight in…


1. How to Grow Your Small Business: A 6-Step Plan to Help Your Business Take Off – Donald Miller (2023)

In his Wall Street Journal bestseller, Miller shares his 6-step plan on how to grow a small business. These are the exact steps Miller used within his own small business, where he turned a team of four working out of a basement, to a $15 million operation that increased revenue sixfold in six years. He’s been there and got the t-shirt, which makes this book a great read.

In How to Grow Your Small Business, you’ll learn how to:

  • Cast a vision for your company that includes three economic priorities
  • Clarify your marketing message
  • Install a sales framework that makes your customers the hero
  • Optimise your product offering
  • Run a management and productivity playbook that aligns your entire team
  • Use 5 checking accounts to manage your cash flow

This is the book for entrepreneurs who are feeling stressed, discouraged and not very confident in their plan for growth.

2. Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for EntrepreneursUri Levine (2023)

Uri Levine is one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. He is the co-founder of Waze, the world’s largest community-based driving traffic and navigation app (which Google acquired for $1.1 billion in 2013) and a former investor and board member in Moovit (The Waze of public transportation, which Intel acquired for $1 billion in 2020). Levine also heads the “The Founders Kitchen,” a company-builder fund.

Companies that reach a valuation of more than $1 billion are rare. Uri Levine has built two. And in Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution, he shows you just how he did it.

Levine is committed to spreading entrepreneurial thinking so that other founders, managers and employees in the tech space can build their own highly valued companies. Levine offers an inside look at the creation and sale of Waze and his second success – Moovit. Areas covered include:

  • Firing and hiring
  • Raising funding
  • Understanding your users
  • Making up-scale decisions
  • Going global
  • Deciding when to sell

A great read for those looking to learn how to build a successful business by identifying your consumers’ biggest problems and disrupting the inefficient markets that currently serve them.

3. Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business – Paul Jarvis (2020)

Paul Jarvis left the corporate world when he realised that working in a high-pressure, high-profile world was not his idea of success. Instead, he now works for himself out of his home and lives a much more rewarding and productive life. He no longer has to contend with an environment that constantly demands more productivity, more output and more growth.

His book details a refreshing approach to entrepreneurship centred on staying small and avoiding growth – maximising happiness, sustainability and profitability.

In Company of One, Jarvis explains how you can do the same, including:

  • Planning to set up
  • Determining desired revenues
  • Keeping clients happy
  • And, of course, doing all this on your own

This book is very much a business case for making your business better instead of bigger. It’s about running a business that works for you – not the other way around.

4. The Voltage Effect – John A. List (2022)

Why do some ideas make it big while others fail to take off? According to award-winning behavioural economist John A. List, the answer comes down to a single question: Can the idea scale?

In The Voltage Effect, List – a University of Chicago economist – explains how to identify the ideas that will be successful when scaled and how to avoid those that won’t. Drawing on his own original research, as well as fascinating examples from the realms of business, government, education and public health, he details the five signature elements that cause voltage drops, and unpacks the four proven techniques for increasing positive results – or ‘voltage gains’ – and scaling great ideas to their fullest potential.

This book is for those who want to learn how to thrive in the rapidly changing business landscape through the hidden power behind scaling. A great read for ambitious entrepreneurs seeking exponential growth.

Inspirational Success Stories

5. The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled ItTilar J. Mazzeo (2009)

This book brings to life the fascinating woman behind the iconic yellow label: Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, who, after her husband’s death, defied convention by assuming the reins of the fledgling wine business they had nurtured together. Steering the company through dizzying political and financial reversals, she became one of the world’s first great businesswomen and one of the richest women of her time.

A great read for those who love a business success story (and for those who also want to learn more about Champagne and its origins!).

6. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers – Tim Ferriss (2016)

Over the course of two years, Ferriss interviewed nearly two hundred world-class performers for his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests range from super celebs (Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.) and athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing, etc.) to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists.

What do these people do in the first sixty minutes of each morning? What do their workout routines look like, and why? What books have they gifted most to other people? What are the biggest wastes of time for novices in their field?

Ferriss has vetted, explored and applied everything within his book’s pages to his own life, in some fashion: “I’ve used dozens of the tactics and philosophies in high-stakes negotiations, high-risk environments, or large business dealings. The lessons have made me millions of dollars and saved me years of wasted effort and frustration… I created this book, my ultimate notebook of high-leverage tools, for myself. It’s changed my life, and I hope the same for you.”

(This book also featured in our 2022 list – we have to recommend again for its ability to challenge your assumptions and the way you think about things.)

7. Inspiring Entrepreneur Stories: 10 Successes from the World of Business and Lessons to Help you Succeed – Lars De Veer (2021)

This collection of 10 new and surprising success stories from the world of business will inspire and motivate you. You’ll learn from entrepreneurs like Nick Molnar, founder of finance company Afterpay, and Sarah Oh Lin, founder of edtech business KiwiCo. You’ll discover how they achieved their goals, and how you can do the same.

But Inspiring Entrepreneur Stories is more than just a collection of success stories. Each chapter includes key insights and lessons that you can apply to your own life and business. You’ll learn:

  • How to interpret these stories and gain wisdom from them
  • Ways to achieve success in your own life
  • Respect for the effort that these entrepreneurs have put in to see the success that they’ve achieved
  • The motivation and hunger to go after your own goals

A great book for dipping in and out of whenever you’re lacking in entrepreneurial motivation.

8. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons in Creative Leadership from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company – Robert Iger (2019)

The #1 New York Times bestseller, a Sunday Times Book of the Year 2019 and ‘one of the best business books I’ve read in years’ according to Bill Gates, this book is definitely worth making the time to read (or listen to!).

Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company and one of Time’s most influential people of 2019, shares the ideas and values he embraced to reinvent one of the most beloved companies in the world and inspire the people who bring the magic to life.

Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005, during a difficult time. Morale had deteriorated, competition was intense and technology was changing faster than at any time in the company’s history. His vision came down to three clear ideas: Recommit to the concept that quality matters, embrace technology instead of fighting it, and think bigger – think global – and turn Disney into a stronger brand in international markets.

Eighteen years later, Disney is one of the largest, most respected media companies in the world, counting Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox among its properties. Its value is nearly five times what it was when Iger took over, and he is recognised as one of the most innovative and successful CEOs of our era.

In The Ride of a Lifetime, Robert Iger shares the lessons he’s learned while running Disney and leading its 200,000 employees, and he explores the principles that are necessary for true leadership, including:

  • Even in the face of difficulty, an optimistic leader will find the path toward the best possible outcome and focus on that, rather than give in to pessimism and blaming.
  • Leaders have to be willing to take risks and place big bets. Fear of failure destroys creativity.
  • All decisions, no matter how difficult, can be made on a timely basis. Indecisiveness is both wasteful and destructive to morale.
  • Treat people decently, with empathy and be accessible to them.

Iger’s book makes a great read for those wanting to feel less fearful and more confident in themselves as they navigate professional – and even personal – lives.

Mindset-Shifting Guides

9. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown (2021)

This international bestseller started a global movement amongst those who were feeling busy, but not productive. Those who felt both overworked and underutilised. The way out? To become an Essentialist.

In Essentialism, Greg McKeown, CEO of a Leadership and Strategy agency in Silicon Valley who has run courses at Apple, Google and Facebook, shows you how to achieve what he calls the disciplined pursuit of less. Being an Essentialist is about a disciplined way of thinking. It means challenging the core assumption of ‘We can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’.

By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.

Using the experience and insight of working with the leaders of the most innovative companies and organisations in the world, McKeown shows you how to put Essentialism into practice in your own life, so you too can achieve something great.

A useful book for busy entrepreneurs who aren’t feeling productive and are struggling to focus on the essentials that can make the biggest impact.

10. Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson (2010)

Today, anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few pounds or even free. Stuff that was impossible just a few years ago is now simple.

That means anyone can start a business. And you can do it without working miserable 80-hour weeks or depleting your life savings. You can start it on the side while your day job provides all the cash flow you need. Forget about business plans, meetings, office space – you don’t need them. The key is stripping everything back to the bare minimum and then rebuilding; keeping everything simple and under control. You’ll learn how to begin, why you need less than you think, when to launch, how to promote and whom (and when) to hire.

Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs who want to get out will all find valuable inspiration and guidance in these pages.

‘It’s time to rework work.’

11. The Minimalist Entrepreneur – How Great Founders Do More With LessSahil Lavingia (2021)

Packed with hard-won, battle-tested lessons from Lavingia’s own journey of building Gumroad, The Minimalist Entrepreneur teaches founders how to start from anywhere to build any kind of software-enabled business. You will learn how to:

  • Resist investments that set you up to fail
  • Run a tight ship amid the rise of the gig economy and remote work
  • Develop and release products without failing fast or often
  • Get to profitability and stay there

Hailed as a revolutionary roadmap for building startups that go the distance, this book makes a great read for a new generation of founders who would rather build great companies than big ones.

12. The Gap and the Gain: The High Achievers’ Guide to Happiness, Confidence, and Success – Dan Sullivan, Dr. Benjamin Hardy (2021).

A guide to finding happiness and fulfilment inside yourself, instead of constantly hunting for external affirmation. By learning to define your own standards of success, and by measuring your achievement backwards, you’ll appreciate how much progress you’ve actually made, and experience renewed motivation in every area of your life.

A great read for undermotivated entrepreneurs, successful but unfulfilled business people and persistent ruminators who want to learn how to think positively.



There you have it! A quick sightseeing tour of some of the latest and greatest business books that could change how you operate, how you handle business challenges and how you grow your business. And for the hesitant entrepreneurs out there, they might even encourage you to finally hit the launch button.

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Jenny Lambert

Jenny Lambert is a freelance writer, interiors blogger and Etsy shop owner with extensive experience working in marketing, digital and publishing roles.

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