Top Business Books for the Discerning Entrepreneur and Aspiring Business Owner

Every so often a business book comes along that actually delivers on its promise or resonates with you in a big way, helping you make the necessary changes for success. Here is a collection of some such books.

By William Krueger · October 02, 2018

This post has been republished from NYC|CNC with the permission of John Saunders.


Books concerning entrepreneurship, owning your own business and lean management are a dime a dozen as everyone has their “secret sauce” for success. However, sometimes a book comes along that actually delivers on its promise or resonates with you in a big way, helping you make the necessary changes for success. Here, then, is a collection of some such books — as recommended by John Saunders of NYC|CNC — for entrepreneurial success, running a better business, and getting started with lean management.

Lean Operations and Key Business Skills

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.


Small Time Operator by Bernard A. Kamoroff

Small Time Operator is one of the most popular business start-up guides ever. In clear, easy-to-understand language, the author covers everything from how to finance a business to hiring employees and how to do business on the internet and navigate the on-demand economy.


The Lean Hangover by Rob Jablonski

After nearly a generation of business leaders chasing lean manufacturing, why do so many businesses still struggle to get it right? Having experienced successful and not-so-successful lean transformations, this is the question Rob Jablonski tackles in The Lean Hangover


The Founders Dilemma by Noam Wasserman

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? The Founders Dilemma is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team.


Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury

Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict. It offers readers a straight- forward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting angry-or getting taken advantage of.


The 80 / 20 Principle by Richard Koch

Did you know that 20 percent of customers account for 80 percent of revenues? That 20 percent of our time accounts for 80 percent of the work we accomplish? The 80/20 Principle shows how we can achieve much more with much less effort, time, and resources, simply by identifying and focusing our efforts on the 20 percent that really counts. 


The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal, a gripping novel, is transforming management thinking throughout the world. Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. It takes a chance meeting to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking to see what needs to be done. 


The Art of Product Design by Hardi Meybaum

The Art of Product Design explains the rise of "Open Engineering," a way of breaking down barriers and taking advantage of web-based communities, knowledge, and tools to accelerate the design and manufacturing processes.


Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counterintuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.


Getting Started With Business and Entrepreneurship

Just Start by Leonard A. Schlesinger and Charles F. Kiefer

Just Start combines fascinating research with proven practices to deliver a reliable method for helping you advance toward your goals—despite the uncertainty that is all too common today. The first step, say the authors of this book, is this: “Just start.” In other words, take action now and learn as you go.


The Knack by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham

People starting out in business tend to seek step-by-step formulas or rules, but in reality there are no magic bullets. Rather, says veteran company-builder Norm Brodsky, there's a mentality that helps street- smart entrepreneurs solve problems and pursue opportunities as they arise. 


The Entrepreneurs Playbook by Leonard C. Green

Len Green, an experienced investor, entrepreneur, and business professor, shares inside secrets and proven tactics for launching a business.


Balancing Life as an Entrepreneur

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

In The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business.


Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

In Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, Delivering Happiness shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success-and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.


The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint. 


Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

It’s an axiom of business that great companies grow their revenues and profits year after year. Yet quietly, under the radar, a small number of companies have rejected the pressure of endless growth to focus on more satisfying business goals. In Small Giants, veteran journalist Bo Burlingham takes us deep inside fourteen remarkable companies that have chosen to march to their own drummer. 


Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Conventional accounting uses the logical (albeit, flawed) formula: Sales - Expenses = Profit. The problem is, businesses are run by humans, and humans aren't always logical. Serial entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz has developed a behavioral approach to accounting to flip the formula: Sales - Profit = Expenses. Michalowicz shows that by taking profit first and apportioning only what remains for expenses, entrepreneurs will transform their businesses from cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows.


Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

The ultimate notebook of high-leverage tools and tactics from more than 200 world-class performers, celebrities and athletes to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists.

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