Best business books to read in 2020

Best Startup Books

History witnesses that from all the business seeding in a year, 90% fail.

Avoiding this failure is hard, but still possible. It requires a strong will and – oh, a lot of knowledge.

From the numerous startup tips and tricks on the internet, the most common one is reading. But, it’s hard to decide what to read when there are thousands of books on startups out there.

This is why, to make things easier for you, I have compiled a list of 31 startup books that gives the best advice to entrepreneurs.

1.      Zero to One – Peter Thiel and Blake Masters.

While most people focus on building upon the same successful ideas those were once innovative and launching it to a different market, say, creating the newer  and better ‘Whatsapp’ or ‘Facebook’, Peter Thiel  approach towards business startups is rather unusual.

The author believes that by copying an existing idea will take world till “N” from 1, while innovative and unique inventions in the world will take it from 0 to 1.

The author believes that simply copying an existing idea is not the ladder to success.

2.      The Dilemma of the Innovator – Clayton M. Christensen.

Christensen makes extra efforts to simply ask one question:

‘How do businesses fall into a pit of failure despite doing the right things?’

Unbelievably, this one book has changed the entire thinking of America. This book is the perfect guidebook for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and managers as well.

3.      Founders at Work – Jessica Livingston.

It is a shocking realization when you remember that the owners of companies such as ‘Apple’, ‘Google’, and even ‘Microsoft’ were once normal people like you and me and used to do a 9 to 5.

Founders at work answers our questions about how people make it? And  the things, which led to these normal people becoming owners of billion-dollar companies. It covers the struggles they faced and overcame along the way. It is an entire book of interviews with worldwide famous tech innovators.

4.      Crossing the ‘Chasm’ – Geoffrey A. Moore.

Are you looking for a bible about rapidly transitioning tech gadgets from smaller to larger markets?

Geoffrey A. Moore’s, ‘Crossing the Chasm,’ is perfect for you.  It provides readers with a deep look into the current high tech marketing world.

5.      Screw it. Let’s Do it – Richard Branson.

The CEO of ‘Virgin’ companies reveals his secret to success and life in his book, ‘Screw it, let’s Do it.’ 

The best book on startups without any doubts, Branson explains how achieving things possible is easy as long as you do not give up.

6.      Start Something That Matters – Joan Salge Blake.

As the title suggests, this is another brilliant book on startups and innovations.

Learn how Blake started a successful company in 10 years. He has described in his book, a brand new model of success for businesses.

7.      Never Too Late to Startup – Rob Kornblum.

Corporate races occur frequently, but is it possible to gain freedom from it? Employees often ponder over this question.

The book, ‘Never Too Late,’ provides answers to this question. It does so by interviewing numerous midlife founders. This book talks about everything from finding the big idea of lowering the risks in a startup and finding co-founders who have the ideal personality.


Books about Team Management

8.      Creativity, Inc. The way to Overcome Unexpected Forces, that can create a Blockage in the Way of Inspiration – Ed Catmull.

Associated with Pixar for much of his life, Catmull has first-hand experience in launching an animation studio. Not only this, but also giving it recognition worldwide by implementing a creative culture.

While Ed was working at Pixar, it launched some of the best movies, including Monster Inc., Toy Story, etc.

In this book, he gives tips about creating a strategy that focuses on creativity and brings employees together on a similar platform.

9.      ‘Good to Great.’ – James C. Collins.

This book by Collins is all about why some companies gain greatness, while others falter. He gives an insight into the reasons behind this concept by the use of relevant case studies of companies that went from good to great.

10.  Start with Why – Simon Sinek.

What is common to companies where innovation levels are sky-high? Is there a strategy their managers follow? The book, ‘Start with Why,’ by Simon Sinek provides an analysis of this question with the help of relevant examples.

It provides a look into the successful personalities of Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, and many others.

11.  Super Bosses – Sydney Finkelstein.

Some people gain constant success in their businesses. How do they do this? How does Larry Ellison, tech CEO does it?

The answer is simple, yet challenging to implement. By identifying, leading, and helping great people grow. Super Bosses explores the most inspiring CEOs or ‘super bosses’ and how they stay motivated.


Books about Product Management

12.  The Lean Startup – Eric Ries.

Why do startups fail to succeed? It is often because entrepreneurs focus on all the wrong things. They use up their budget on things that do not have any benefits. This spirals them down into failure.

In his book, Eric Ries guides readers on how to avoid making mistakes through relevant examples.

This book is the complete guide for startups.

13.  Hooked – Nir Eyal.

Nir Eyal makes use of a simple approach to common questions when it comes to products, their failure, and their success.

Hooked provides a process that helps gain customers through 4 simple steps.

14.  The E-Myth Revisited – Michael E.  Gerber.

Considered a guru when it comes to small businesses, Michael Gerber cracks the myths around this subject in his book, ‘The E-Myths Revisited.’

The book tackles many topics such as franchising and the difference between working on the business vs in the business.

15.  The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau.

The $100 startup is all about teaching readers how to live a meaningful life while making good money. It gives lessons on supporting your ambitions without worrying about a stable income.

Chris has found the sure-way to escape the cycle of boring employment and do something that you are passionate about doing. He also talks about how a small startup can skyrocket you to success.

16.  The Power of Broke – Daymond John and Daniel Paisner.

For Daymon John, what started as a tiny business of selling hand-sewn has now transformed him into the founder of a famous American show that revolves around investment, called ‘Shark Tank.’

In this book, John provides his personal story of how his first homegrown business is what transformed him into a successful businessman. The book is his real-life, true story that is extremely inspiring.

17.  How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products – Poornima Vijayashanker.

How does one make people purchase his or her products before they go into production? The secret, according to Poornima lies in being passionate about what you do. This book provides guidelines on how to turn a software product into an award-winning one.

18.  The Startup Owner’s Manual – Steve Blank.

Have you been searching for a book that guides you through planning your startup and launching it? If you have then ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual’ may just be the perfect book for you. It provides tried and tested methods of growing customers and models for business. The strategies provided in the book allow people to understand how to make their products fit into the market using possible means.

19.  Running Lean – Ash Maurya.

When we go on a spam of manufacturing new products, the rate of failure grows. A lack of competence or waste of money on the wrong type of products does not cause this. Ash Maurya discusses the strategies that can help you make the best product ideas.


Books about Growth Hacks

20.  Growth is Explosive – Things that I Learned Whilst Increasing my Startup to a Hundred Millions Users and Losing a Budget of $78 million. (By Cliff Lerner)

Cliff has experienced a roller-coaster ride. From investing a big amount of money to losing it all before watching your startup grows and touch the sky. Cliff Lerner has seen both the ups and the downs. In this book, he reveals how it all happened.

This book is a treasure for anyone wanting to learn more about their business and the things that can happen on the journey to build a startup.

It is no shock that this book is an Amazon best-seller. It provides detailed stories of how to level up and take things to the next level.

This book is available in the book version and consists of the following learning points:

·         How to plant the seed of explosive growth.

·         What is a ‘remarkably innovative product’ and how one can think of creating it?

·         The Three essential Metrics to ensure innovation in businesses.


21.  The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande.

It is human nature to work on making things better by searching for a job that generates a good income. All of these are implemented by experts and are a simple set of rules.

Atul calls these set of rules a ‘checklist,’

He makes use of inspiring stories and thoughts that push your brain to work in the business direction. He also emphasizes the fact that aiming for betterment is not always the goal.

22.  The Four Steps to Epiphany – Steve Blank.

As the title of the book suggests, this is all about the steps to ensure the smooth flow of customer development in startups. This is the first book to detail ‘The Lean Approach’ in-depth for startups.

It focuses on letting CEOs know that their ventures are not similar to bigger companies. Instead, they follow completely other models of business.

The book provides detailed examples to direct entrepreneurs in making the right decisions in their startups.

23.  Traction – Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares.

This is another great read for any entrepreneur out there!

Most startups fail to succeed because they believe their product is at fault. This is not true. What is important in a startup is the traction or the number of customers it gains on an everyday basis.

The two authors share their personal experiences of growing a business. They say that the tactic is not about how much profit you make but is about how much your business if growing. Having traction means that you are on the right path.


24.  The 7 Day Startup – Dan Norris.

Have you ever come across a successful, profit-making business established in a week? The author of the book, Dan Norris did. In ‘The Seven Day Startup,’ he explains his tactics.

His business is worth a whopping $400,000 at present.


25.  The Third Wave – Steve Case.

This book is a bestseller and for all the right reasons. It provides a map to help readers understand the tech changes in the present economical age. In addition to this, it also guides businesses on successfully becoming more profitable.

As the co-founder of AOL, the first business that went public in the 1990s, Steve Case educates readers on how important entrepreneurship is.

This is one of the best entrepreneurship books.


26.  The ‘Art’ of the Start – Guy Kawasaki.

Are you someone who is about to start a new business? This book is your guide to making sure you do it right. Guy Kawasaki explains the journey from start to finish in a simple manner. He also gives tiny details about the various business aspects.


Books about Managing Funds.


27.   ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ – Ben Horowitz.

Ben Horowitz is the co-founder of the company, ‘Andreessen Horowitz.’ In his book, he gives a detailed analysis of building, maintaining, and the process of selling companies revolving around tech.            The Hard Things about Hard Things contains lessons from his blog where he discusses his success story.

There can be a lot of management issues when it comes to taking care of a business, this book gives the best advice to deal with these issues.

28.  Will it fly? – Thomas K. McKnight.

When you are about to invest in something, always ask yourself:

Will it fly?

This book is a treasure full of the key elements that are necessary for a business to succeed. The elements mention in ‘Will it fly?’ are the ones that come from observing more than 200 businesses from when they were in the beginning phases of launch.

This book is a gem for those people who are constantly investing in brand new startups.

29.  Venture Deals – Brad Feld.

Every generation has an interest in understanding ventures and entrepreneurship. They want to learn this information so that they may collect investments for launching their startups. However, no one can find the information except for those involved in ventures themselves.

In this book, the authors provide readers with the necessary information to understand venture capitalism and its elements. Both authors have a lot of experience in this field.

30.   Mastering the VC Game – Jeffrey Bussgang.

Pitching a startup to possible investors can be a difficult task. This book gives you guidance on how to form the perfect pitch.

It contains interviews with various entrepreneurs to give advice that applies to any startup.

31.  The Power of a Habit – Charles Duhigg.

The book, ‘The Power of Habits’ was written by Charles Duhigg and it revolves around the theme of productivity. Charles Duhigg reveals how changing a few things in our behavior can shape our business.

It is a detailed book, essential for businesses and earning success.


Business Books

The well-known man, Warren Buffet once said, “What benefits a person is when they invest in themselves. You earn as much as you learn from the world around you.”

There are numerous ways one can ‘invest’ in themselves. The best option is the habit of reading books.

A good business book can train you to think of the bigger picture and aim high. What exercises are for your body, is exactly what reading is for the brain. The more you read, the wiser you become, and ultimately, you go reach bigger steps once you possess knowledge.

Here is a recommendation of four books about business that can help anyone expand themselves to reach for the skies and benefit from.

1.      The 4-Hour Work-Week – Tim Ferris.

Considered by some as the Indiana Jones of the digital age, Tim Ferris became the center of attention through his book, ‘The 4-Hour Work-Week.’ The book is a detailed account of how Tim decided to separate himself from his company and explore the world.

The book perfectly describes the ‘Pareto Principle’ (known to some as the 80-20 rule) simply. To get better results when running a business, we need to perform our tasks 20% of the time to get 80% of results.

This is a fantastic book on entrepreneurship. A must-read for everyone!

2.       Success Is in Your – Zvi Band.

Another business book, which highlights the necessary steps one can use to gain maximum benefit out of relationships to push their business towards success.

Zvi Band talks about a strategy that is highly cost-effective. One just has to make sure about the pre-existing network of professional contacts.

The best lesson this book provides is the tactic of building relationships based on the ‘capital strategy.’ This strategy consists of:

·         Being consistent: Consistently building good habits in yourself to develop stronger and healthier relationships.

·         Take an Aggregate: Observe your professional group. Make data.

·         Prioritize People: Order the people from your professional circle by who can or cannot help.

·         Investigating: Select important people and collect their information.

·         Consistent Engagement: Extend your outreach.

·         Add Value: Give them more than just a few random follow-ups.

·         Grasp: effectively execute your strategies.


3.        Game-Time Decision Making – David Meltzer.

Have you ever looked at a sports coach and wondered how they make every decision with so much confidence? Believe it or not, you should have the same attitude when making decisions about your business. A coach remains in charge of the ship regardless of how things are going and often succeed because of their stronghold over decision-making.

If you view your business as a sport, this book will help you:

·         Compile a team of pro-people having numerous skills.

·         Develop awareness about what is going on in the ‘playing field.’

·         Avoid repeating mistakes by growing from the mistakes you make.

·         Build a strategy for both approaches, whether offensive and/or defensive.


4.       Building a Story Brand – Donald Miller.

Are you wondering how to connect with your clients and ultimately grow your business? Donald Miller has the answer in his book. He shares 7 powerful elements to achieve your desired business goals.

Many business persons face the struggle of running a business at least once in their lives. Some struggle to connect with customers on a deeper level. According to Miller, the secret is to make your customers understand how much they can benefit from your products.

It does not matter whether you are the owner of a successful company or a new startup, this book can be beneficial for you, either way. It will help you realize your unique capabilities, which you can use to attract customers.

Which book should you read first?

This list is full of business books that teach very important lessons. It is difficult to pick one because each one has its charm and varied categories. If you are struggling through something right now, look for the category and pick a book that falls under that category.

No matter what category, each book is bound to teach you something new!