6 Must-Read Books For Every Entrepreneur

Colleen Thornton

Remember books? Back before podcasts, live streams, and quick-to-consume Cole’s notes versions of books were around, we read whole books. Some of us still do, but as entrepreneurs many of us are caught in a conundrum: no time for reading, must work. However, we need the concepts and insights in those books to improve our work, right? 

That’s why book summaries are so popular. But while they pull the juiciest bits of meat off the bone, they often fail to realize that the leftover bits give necessary substance. The book itself serves up those insights in a more integrated, contextualised fashion than loose concepts alone.

As self-started Shopify experts and ecommerce website specialists, we recommend reading the whole book whenever you can. It’s an investment of your time and attention that can have significant gains, depending on how you apply what you’ve learned. 

Below we’ve provided six fabulous and engaging books for the entrepreneur. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it a while, the authors of these books offer useful insights in fully digestible form (that is, they won’t consume a lot of your time).

Books For Entrepreneurs Recommended By Entrepreneurs

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

By James Clear

What It’s About:

James Clear discusses the nature of habits, where they come from, how we continually and unconsciously construct them, and how to create more positive habits. New behaviours must be obvious, easy, attractive, and satisfying, what Clear presents as “The Four Laws of Behaviour Change.” Without these four laws (all four) any attempts toward adopting an effective behaviour will fail or not be sustainable. 

The author recommends several strategies for adopting effective new habits, including: “habit stacking,” a starting ritual, and creating a craving for an element of the new habit that counteracts your resistance to it. 

Why It Matters for Entrepreneurs: 

Venturing into entrepreneurship requires clarity in vision, commitment, and a schedule. No one survives long in the loosey-goosey world of digital nomadism without a serious appraisal of their lifestyle and how conducive it is to the success they want to achieve. 

Power Quote: 

“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

By: Susan Cain

What It’s About: 

The author discusses the difference between extroverts and introverts, while highlighting that these terms are not binaries. Rather, most people have tendencies towards both, depending on context, and will shift between them. Amniverts hover between these two ends of the spectrum to describe people who have a fairly balanced blend of both. 

Understanding introversion can support our personal and professional relationships, even if we don’t identify as introverts. The “culture of character” denotes a time when the quiet integrity of an introvert was much more valued by society. The “culture of personality” arose in response to industrialization that enforced a competition that demanded a greater presence to achieve success.

Cain discusses the characteristics of both introverts and extroverts and the power of being an introvert. Ultimately, we need a balance of both traits to be successful. 

Why It Matters for Entrepreneurs:

This is an excellent read for those who are just starting business and feel like they aren’t “business-minded.” Perhaps you don’t possess that “ambition-junkie” gene because you prefer the quiet and calm of your own company where details get worked out without you having to bang on every door. Networking might be a bit uncomfortable because you find value in conversations that have depth as opposed to the many surface chats that arise during such events. You may feel like you have to become extroverted to reach your business goals. 

While personality does have an impact on career success, a gregarious nature isn’t a must-have. Even if they’re not hardwired to put yourself out there, introverts can achieve as much success as extroverts with more conscious application of desired traits.

Power Quote: 

“Spend your free time the way you want to, not the way you think you’re supposed to. The more we feed our true nature, the greater energy reserve we have for those times when we need to step outside our comfort zone.”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life

By Mark Manson

What It’s About: 

We spend far too much time caring about stuff that does not matter. We’re not okay when things suck, as they do sometimes, and start thinking we are to blame, and that we should constantly be striving to maintain positivity. The problem? Overcompensation. 

Manson describes that suffering is conducive to happiness (though we would argue that “struggle” is a better word. Struggling only becomes suffering when we can’t reconcile reality with our distaste for it). He argues that there are good values and bad values, which we may deem effective values and ineffective values, and that we should stay firmly rooted in effective values.

Why It Matters for Entrepreneurs: 

This book challenges us to question our beliefs. Becoming too attached to an idea limits our ability to achieve a broader perspective. This is extremely useful for the “gung-ho” entrepreneur who wants to jump right into a business venture he believes in but hasn’t thoroughly thought through. Questioning our beliefs doesn’t make us wishy washy. It constructs a more critical, well-rounded view of our assumptions. It also forces us to question what freedom really is, and it makes an important distinction between freedom and variety.

Power Quote: 

“Freedom itself demands discomfort. It demands dissatisfaction. Because the freer a society becomes, the more each person will be forced to reckon and compromise with views and lifestyles and ideas that conflict with their own.”

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

By Steven Pressfield

What It’s About:

Resistance. While we may think we know what it means, resistance has many, many faces, and each one interferes with our ability to fully engage with our work, whatever that may be. The author argues that that doesn’t mean overcoming resistance or battling it out, but rather using it effectively to become the person we want to be. 

The author argues that fear is at the root of resistance, and if our goal is to overcome fear before we start anything, we’re not going to amount to much because fear is alive and present in every one of us. If we feel resistance towards doing something we know we want or need to do, it’s a pretty good indication that it’s the best thing for our growth.

Why It Matters for Entrepreneurs: 

Successful entrepreneurs work with their fear. They know what their limits are (or they at least know they have some), and they’re willing to work with it rather than against it or in spite of it to achieve success. There’s nothing innately wrong with fear unless it prevents you from doing something that would make your life 100 times better. 

Power Quote: 

“Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you're feeling massive Resistance, the good news is that it means there's tremendous love there too.”

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

By Robert Kiyosaki

What It’s About:

Financial commentator, motivational speaker, author, American investor, and businessman Robert Kiyosaki is worth about 80 million intelligently-earned dollars. Why wouldn’t we read what he has to say? 

His book offers an autobiographical account of how he pondered the question: how can I get rich? with the inherent curiosity bestowed upon all children. He learned basic financial principles from his childhood friend’s “rich dad,” such as the difference between assets and liabilities. Investing and minimizing liabilities can result in greater income than expenses and more assets than liabilities. That way, assets generate more than enough income to cover expenses with the overflow reinvested into acquiring more assets. While that sounds like a simple formula, the differences in beliefs of the poor dad and the rich dad are striking. But you have to read the book.

Why It Matters for Entrepreneurs:

Financial literacy is not a feature of education when we’re growing up. If we’re lucky, our parents will teach us, but in many cases, our parents are equipped with just enough experiential knowledge to teach us how to sustain a moderate income and a comfortable lifestyle. When we’re young, we gain fundamentals, and as we get older, the habits we create are harder to change. That doesn’t mean we can deconstruct our ideas about money management and learn ones, and this book teaches us how. 

Power Quote:

“In today’s fast-changing world, it’s not so much what you know anymore that counts, because often what you know is old. It is how fast you learn.

Everything is Figureoutable

By Marie Forleo

What It’s About:

American entrepreneur and best-selling author, Marie Forleo, leads the reader through a witty, humorous, and authentic account of her rise to success. Her self-starter attitude highlights how critical our beliefs about ourselves are, and how crucial hard work is for anyone wishing to start a business or bring a dream to life. Forleo dissects fear, belief, victimhood syndrome, and more get-in-the-way things that prevent us from getting out there and working for what we want. 

Why It Matters for Entrepreneurs: 

We’re often thrown a lot of artificial “how-to” junk from people who’ve never climbed the ropes. That’s where this one’s different. Marie Forleo offers full exposure about her challenges, shortcomings, and other forms of resistance that could have prevented her from becoming the world-renowned entrepreneur and business coach she is. We need to hear these stories from the horse’s mouth because real stories show, rather than tell, us what is possible from very ordinary circumstances. You don’t need to have big money in the bank, or five degrees, or a connected family. You need belief in your own resourcefulness.

Power Quote: “You might have heard that ‘fear’ is the acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Or maybe you roll with the cheeky edition: Fuck Everything and Run. I prefer the more actionable version: Face Everything and Rise.”

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