The best books for entrepreneurs

The best books for entrepreneursMy journey to entrepreneurship has been fascinating — to me, anyway. I spent my early career in software engineering and my later career on the business side and have run or worked in essentially every job function other than finance. My journey colors my view on the best books for entrepreneurs.

I will update this article periodically with new categories and books as I continue my journey.

And, if you have a recommendation, please leave a comment; I would love to check it out.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no cost to you. However, I have vetted every book in this guide and believe they are the best for generating affiliate revenue. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

How to think like an entrepreneur

The Great Mental Models (Volumes 1-3)

This series is a guide to understanding and using general thinking concepts in business and life. The author, Shane Parrish (of Farnam Street), walks the reader through 48 models from different fields of study, explaining how they can be applied to various situations.

Some of the topics covered include cause and effect, Bayesian inference, game theory, cognitive biases, decision trees, and more. Each chapter includes examples of how the model can be used, as well as a list of further resources for learning more about it.

How does entropy apply to your next decision? You’ll be surprised by how relevant these books are to your success.

The Great Mental Models Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Latticework Publishing Inc. (October 9, 2019)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 9, 2019

This book instantly expanded my way of thinking, recognizing that I had long been stuck in the same mental patterns which led to succeeding and failing in the same ways over and over again.

This book is short, don’t skip anything.  Key lessons for me here had to do with:

  • Second order thinking.  What happens if you do X, Y, or Z?  It’s easy to think about the direct impact, but what happens as a result of the direct impacts?
  • Inversion.  Okay, I did use this model, but powerful nonetheless.  Some of us solve problems in one direction, from where we are to where we want to get to.  Flip it around and work back from your goal to where you are now, it’s a powerful way of thinking through solutions, or even just validating your plan that you worked through in a forward direction.
  • Occam’s Razor.  I began my work life as an engineer and learned this quickly.  Go for the simplest solution, don’t overcomplicate.
  • Hanlon’s Razor.  Assume best intentions.  When someone does something wrong, or does something that offends you, recognize that it was most likely a result of an innocent mistake or lack of knowledge.  The vast majority of people are not out to get you.

The Great Mental Models Volume 2: Physics, Chemistry, and Biology

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Latticework Publishing Inc.

Publication Date : December 1, 2019

This version draws insights from across these fields of science.  While many of the rules of science are regularly covered in business books (e.g., Reciprocity, Leverage, Niches, Incentives), others will open your eyes and mind.  If you only scan the book spend time on these topics:

  • Relativity
  • Catalysts
  • Cooperation
  • Tendency to Minimize Energy Output

Really important topics for new Entrepreneurs..

The Great Mental Models Volume 3: Systems and Mathematics

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Latticework Publishing Inc.
  • Publication Date : September 14, 2021

This volume of the Great Mental Models series digs into systems thinking and mathematics, showing you how to understand and leverage complex concepts for your advantage. You’ll learn about feedback loops, chaos theory, fractals, and more—all with real-world examples that will help make these abstract concepts concrete.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Amazon Classics (June 25, 2019)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 25, 2019

Meditations is available on Amazon.

Amazon says: “The best introduction to Stoicism remains Epictetus’s The Enchiridion. But for a fuller understanding of the philosophy, readers cannot do better than Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. In Meditations, the emperor of Rome records his

thoughts and reflections on Stoic doctrine, providing a comprehensive guide to the ethics of this school of philosophy.”

How to serve your customer like an Entrepreneur

They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wiley; 2nd edition
  • Publication Date : August 6, 2019

This book is available on Amazon.

In this book, Marcus Sheridan reminds us how important it is to simply put the customer’s needs first.  The philosophy is simple:  If your customer asks you a question, answer it, then go write a long blog post about it which will help anyone else with the question find the answer.

This approach does three things:

  • Helps you scale.  If customers can find the answers without asking you, you can spend more time helping them solve their individual challenges.
  • Generates leads.  If you can rank these posts, people will find you.  The Hubspot Inbound Marketing model at it’s finest.
  • Positions you as an expert on the topic — and people like to work with experts.

Sheridan goes through the approach in great detail.  Read it and keep coming back to this book.


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