As an entrepreneur, the learning curve never ends. We’re all only human – meaning that none of us can be great at absolutely everything naturally! While one person’s innate talents might involve a knack for coming up with creative business ideas, another could excel at accounting. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and newfound entrepreneurs work especially hard at improving their flaws in order to try to successfully tackle it all – especially in the early stages of a startup or business.

From boosting your confidence levels to learning how to stand out from the competition in a crowded marketplace, there is a neverending number of lessons to be had in the realm of entrepreneurship. When I first founded Happy Self Publishing, I absorbed any material I could find about e-mail marketing, building a client base and balancing a social life with a burgeoning business.

Here are ten of the best books I’ve encountered along the way that are a must-read for new or even veteran entrepreneurs.

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Dr. Edward Burger and Dr. Michael Starbird

In this book, Burger and Starbird focus intently on the five elements of effective thinking: understanding deeply, making mistakes, raising questions, following the flow of ideas and change. By mastering these skills, they claim that readers will gain clarity and be able to successfully apply their new ways of thinking to build stronger businesses, relationships and more.

Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley

Tom and David Kelley help readers unleash their inner creativity by asking themselves contemplative questions such as “When was I at my best?” and “When was my work the most rewarding?”. Creativity is an essential component of becoming an entrepreneur, and the book enables anybody reading it to feel more confident about developing it and getting in touch with it.

The Purpose Economy by Aaron Hurst

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We are all driven by purpose. When we lack purpose, our careers and personal relationships suffer or fail. The Purpose Economy delves deeper into what drives innovation, personal growth and success. Its radical research helps readers create a better future by learning how to bring purpose to their work or organization.

Choose Yourself by James Altucher

New tools and economic forces have made way in the world for individuals to start their own business, making now a better time than ever to become an entrepreneur. James Altucher teaches readers about how the increasing number of opportunities rising from the ashes of today’s imperfect global business system are paving the way for small enterprises.

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

Why do large companies seem to act like dinosaurs? Some of the world’s most successful giants seem to completely give up on creativity as soon as they’ve found success. Clayton M. Christensen explains the phenomenon, then provides helpful pointers on how small startups can beat out large companies within their own markets.

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

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Seth Godin’s message is incredibly simple yet surprisingly powerful. He pushes entrepreneurs to build a product so amazing that people won’t be able to ignore you. This is a cult book that focuses heavily on innovation and on the find balance between an exciting new idea and one that audiences are willing to respond to. Godin reinvents the concept of marketing to help new business owners overhaul their brands.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz aims to shatter the illusion that memorable founding stories or roads to success don’t always look like our ideal vision of them. It isn’t just a matter of working hard, managing to sell and then living the high life like we so often hear about in the media. It’s a long road and a path that isn’t always linear. Success spikes and drops – and the best founders are prepared to handle it.

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

In the famed 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris explains how he went from earning $40,000 per year and working 80 hours per week to bringing in $40,000 per month and working 4 hours a week. While his achievements may seem like a pipe dream, he provides over 50 practical tips and case studies to help readers attain a similar level of success.

Lean Startup by Eric Reis


In Lean Startup, Erin Reis claims that startup or entrepreneurial success can be learned by following his scientific approach. The book teaches entrepreneurs to pursue a minimum viable product before anything else, then prepare to fail lean and fail fast until you hit success and manage to scale. His business acumen has been used by some of the most successful companies in the world over the past ten years.

Happy reading!

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  • Deborah Starling

    A must read is: “Rhythm: How to Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth” by CEO and author Patrick Thean. I like it because it not only gives valuable advice but the author does it in a simple way and gives easy to execute strategies that any business owner can utilize whether in a big or small company. The skills, methods and philosophies that Thean shares so generously are a proven combination to ensure wildly successful results; look no further than the author himself, a living legend that still makes time for his own family and gives back in a big way. His website is great too: http://www.patrickthean.com/

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