10 books for aspiring entrepreneurs

There are many interesting, great and not so good books about innovation and entrepreneurship. To choose just a few is really hard. It depends on who you are, your age and at what stage is your startup. However, for the past 5 years I have been doing a lot of reading on this subject and testing different theories in my work as an entrepreneur and writer. In addition to that, I asked aspiring entrepreneurs and successful founders to share what are their favorite books. Here are ten books that might be interesting for you and your startup.


Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This book came out in 1937 during the Great Depression in USA. It consists of interviews and distilled knowledge from over 40 billionaires and millionaires. It has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. I was skeptical to this book in the beginning. When I started to read it I enjoyed the clear and a bit naïve, but knowledgeable voice through the whole book.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is another classic from the same period of history. I read it as a teenager and it helped to navigate sometimes confusing interaction through different cultures. It is still worth to read again because it explains simple truth about human communication.

Know yourself

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

In 2016 Ferriss with a great success attempted to do a similar thing as Napoleon Hill. He interviewed many interesting and passionate people in business, art and culture. Why did they succeed, what were their daily routines, biggest fears and mistakes? It is a refreshing and deep insight into the minds of smart people. You can listen to several of the interviews on his podcast.

Rising Strong by Brenè Brown

Stories about successful founders are often told in a plain way. The founder got the idea, struggled a bit and then suddenly – success! We learn little about the fights and pain on their way to the top. This is exactly the topic of Browns book. She explores creativity and adversity challenges in individuals, startups and even companies like Pixar.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There av Mark Reiter and Marshall Goldsmith

The main wisdom of this book is relevant not only to entrepreneurs. When you are on your way to success, there are often many qualities that help you to achieve your goals. May be you are straightforward and a bit rude, and that helps you to land deals. Will this attitude be a big help all your life? Or will it stop you from getting further? It is is all about subtle nuances that make a huge difference in your career.


Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

This book is a global bestseller embraced by organizations and industries worldwide. Authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating new markets or “blue oceans”. It is a study 150 strategic moves in over 30 industries for the past 100 years. How thinking new and big have changed these organizations.

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H.Diamandis

Everything Diamandis does has a bit of a madness in it. Either it is a asteroid-mining company, Singularity University or X-prize. He challenges readers to think big and bold. He wants your energy on solving humanity’s biggest challenges, like lack of water, energy, food and etc. It is difficult not to become inspired by this book.

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William N. Thorndike

As an entrepreneur of a growing company your business is changing a lot in a few years. One day you become more of a manager. You have to learn to manage and delegate. This book might come in handy. It explores what makes a great CEO, and tells stories of eight unknown CEOs. An investment of $10,000 with each of these CEOs, on average, would have been worth over $1.5 million twenty-five years later. How do they do it?

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Several of entrepreneurs mentioned that this book is useful for strategic processes in their companies. It explains the psychology of why people say yes, why they change their behavior and how to achieve it with six universal principles.

Wild Card

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Weird choice? Not really. If you are into technology, this book might give you a lot of inspiration on what can be your next creation. Fiction eats theory and reality for breakfast.

No doubt, there are many more books that should be on this list. We will come back with a part two later. Enjoy!