A young woman is seated on a train by a window. She is holding a book in her hands and is reading.
A good way to gain perspective on both your startup and the business world is to read books written by successful entrepreneurs who came before you. — Getty Images/Hinterhaus Productions

Many entrepreneurs look for books of inspiration, knowledge, and success from those who have “made it.” However, with so many titles to choose from, it can be difficult to search and find the ideal book that speaks to your journey. To help, we’ve curated a list of 15 books that every entrepreneur should read in 2024.

[Read more: How Three Startups Scored Millions in Funding]

“Build the Damn Thing,” by Kathryn Finney

In the Wall Street Journal bestseller, “Build the Damn Thing: How to Start a Successful Business If You're Not a Rich White Guy,” author Kathryn Finney provides a guide for entrepreneurs struggling to find their way in a world created by and for the “Entitleds.” With insightful tips on business plans, team growth, investors, and product development, Finney outlines ways entrepreneurs can take advantage of the resources available to them while empowering them to take up their much-deserved space in the world of business.

“Burn Rate,” by Andy Dunn

Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind,” a national best-selling memoir from former Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn, takes readers along the journey of the menswear company and the dark side of success. In the eye-opening excerpt of his life, Dunn recalls the boundaries between work and life that were broken while he raised millions of dollars to scale his business — which ultimately led to his bipolar disorder rearing its head. The memoir helps open the door to conversations about creativity, professional performance, and mental health.

“Dare to Lead,” by Brené Brown

In her No. 1 New York Times bestseller, “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts,” author Brené Brown talks about leadership outside of the title, status, or power that often comes with it. Though it can be challenging managing a team, Brown outlines the fundamental qualities a successful leader embodies. A few of the traits she says good leaders have are courage, vulnerability, accountability, and clear values — all traits of budding and successful entrepreneurs.

“Launch,” by Jeff Walker

In the 2021 updated and expanded version of “Launch: How to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build a Business You Love, and Live the Life of Your Dreams,” Jeff Walker explains strategies to launch your online business and gain traction quickly. Walker, a successful online entrepreneur who launched his first business from his basement, provides a detailed formula for entrepreneurs who don’t have a lot of resources and funding behind their endeavors.

“Shoe Dog,” by Phil Knight

In his memoir “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike,” Phil Knight reflects on the early days of his company as a startup to its eventual iconic and global success. The New York Times bestseller is cited as one of Bill Gates’s favorite books, as Knight shares his honest path to success in what seems to have been a journey of mistakes, struggles, and sacrifices.

“The Art of Principled Entrepreneurship,” by Andreas Widmer

The Art of Principled Entrepreneurship: Creating Enduring Value” by Andreas Widmer outlines a model of people-centered values with a practical application. Widmer outlines five pillars of success, including “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” and “To work is to create; to create is to be human.” The human aspect will become the center of your entrepreneurial journey. Outlining the entrepreneurial story of Art Ciocca, the successful mastermind behind The Wine Group, Widmer demonstrates the possible parallel between business and the greater good.

If you are tired of the 9-to-5 daily grind and are looking to increase your success as an entrepreneur, “The Daily Entrepreneur: 33 Success Habits for Small Business Owners, Freelancers, and Aspiring 9-to-5 Escape Artists” is for you.

“The Daily Entrepreneur,” by S.J. Scott and Rebecca Livermore

If you are tired of the 9-to-5 daily grind and are looking to increase your success as an entrepreneur, “The Daily Entrepreneur: 33 Success Habits for Small Business Owners, Freelancers, and Aspiring 9-to-5 Escape Artists” is for you. Authors S.J. Scott and Rebecca Livermore offer 33 life-changing habits, organized according to daily challenges, to help conquer obstacles and achieve your goals. The power of habit development is outlined as the key for entrepreneurs to become more successful in their side hustles, with the hope that it leads to an eventual thriving career.

“The Greater Good,” by Madeleine Shaw

Social entrepreneur Madeleine Shaw speaks to women and others who have been traditionally left out of mainstream business in “The Greater Good: Social Entrepreneurship for Everyday People Who Want to Change the World.” The award-winning entrepreneur and menstrual health innovator provides a unique perspective for driven professionals who are dedicated to leading social impact ventures. Through insights gleaned from her career, as well as the stories of other successful social entrepreneurs, Shaw helps readers understand that they can pull from their life experiences, values, and passions to create a successful venture — no business degree required.

“The Hard Thing About Hard Things,” by Ben Horowitz

In an honest and insightful recollection, author Ben Horowitz — a respected and experienced entrepreneur of Silicon Valley — shares his experience with building and managing a startup. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” is written with humor, straight talk, and lyrics from some of Horowitz’s favorite rap songs to convey the difficulty of running a business. Horowitz shares his personal experiences for veteran and novice entrepreneurs alike to learn more about becoming a successful entrepreneur.

[Read more: How to Be a Better Entrepreneur in 2024]

“The Lean Startup,” by Eric Ries

If you are afraid your startup will fail, author Eric Ries offers a new approach focused on using human creativity to grow wisely in the book “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.” Ries provides entrepreneurs who own companies of all sizes a way to test their visions through “validated learning,” which allows for real-time adaptation and adjustments.

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey

Author Stephen R. Covey has facilitated change in countless lives ranging from CEOs, entrepreneurs, and stay-at-home parents with the success of his New York Times bestseller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.” With over 400 million copies sold worldwide, Covey’s step-by-step pathway shares seven habits with a principle-centered approach for solving both professional and personal problems.

“Virtual Freedom,” by Chris Ducker

Many assume entrepreneurship has to be a “one-man show.” Chris Ducker, author of “Virtual Freedom: How to Work With Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business,” explains how small business owners can build teams of virtual employees who can manage daily operations, support initiatives, and help companies grow. As an outsourcing expert and “virtual CEO,” Ducker provides a step-by-step guide to working with virtual employees, accessing online resources, and sharing other helpful hints you can use to begin building your virtual team.

“Work Smarter,” by Nick Loper

If you have ever wondered how successful entrepreneurs stay organized, achieve their goals, and continue working toward success, look no further than “Work Smarter: 500+ Online Resources Today’s Top Entrepreneurs Use to Increase Productivity and Achieve Their Goals.” Author Nick Loper provides an entrepreneur resource supercenter with over 500 resources from over 800 successful entrepreneurs. Resources are broken into categories such as communication, team and project management, networking, outsourcing, and productivity — and most are free!

[Read more: Micro-Business vs. Startup: What’s the Difference?]

“Zero to One,” by Peter Thiel

Investor and entrepreneur Peter Theil’s “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” highlights the vast wealth of inventions that are still waiting to be created. In his No. 1 New York Times bestseller, Theil argues that technological advancement can occur in any industry if you can learn to think for yourself. Pointing out that the next Bill Gates won’t create an operating system like the former, Theil says the next billionaire won’t compete in the same realm but will escape it altogether to focus on a venture that has yet to be explored.

“48-Hour Start-up,” by Fraser Doherty

Entrepreneurs who want to get a quick start will likely gravitate toward Fraser Doherty’s “48-Hour Start-up: From idea to launch in 1 weekend.” The U.K.-based entrepreneur behind SuperJam, a multimillion-dollar company, provides a cheat sheet for developing a business idea and launching it quickly. Doherty outlines the online tools and shortcuts entrepreneurs can take to create and promote a product or service that people will gravitate toward.

This story was originally written by Lauren Wingo and Kaytlyn Smith.

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