Books for entrepreneurs recommend by entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is not a walk in a garden, but rather a run along a pathway paved with thorns. Each day throws up its own set of challenges, taking a toll on the best of us. Here are some books that come in handy for entrepreneurs during hard times, inspiring and motivating them to succeed. We reached out to a few women leaders and entrepreneurs to discover what books they read this year and feel the rest of the entrepreneurial ecosystem should have a go at too.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries – “This one’s a must read for all entrepreneurs who struggle with positioning. It was gifted to me by one of my mentors, and it was the best gift ever,” shares Rashi Menda, Founder of Zayple.
Hooked by Nir Eyal – “This book is for all the entrepreneurs working to build habit-forming products. The author shares fascinating examples of the iPhone, Instagram and many other addictive products and apps that have got us hooked on to their product,” says Rashi.
Arpita Ganesh, Founder and CEO of Buttercups, and Alicia Souza, illustrator and entrepreneur, both recommend Hooked. Alicia says, “This book was particularly interesting. I find habit formation to be such an interesting subject, and I think it’s useful in life and, of course, in business too!”
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh – This book comes recommended by Arpita. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh makes his debut as an author with this one. The book is an amalgamation of lessons he learned in his life and from running different and varied businesses. In it, he talks about how, by focusing on the happiness of others, one can visibly increase happiness for oneself.
Scarcity by Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan – Recommended by Arpita, this book is about making do with little. It shows the psychology of how individuals and organisations can better manage scarcity for greater success and satisfaction.
The Starbucks Experience by Joseph Michelli – “I’d happily recommend this book to fellow entrepreneurs. It was absolutely fantastic,” says Tina Garg, CEO, Pink Lemonade. The book talks about what has made Starbucks the brand and company that it is today. The author has spoken with Starbucks employees to get insights about the company, and the book is filled with anecdotes and insider stories.
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff –This book is about pitching to anyone – be it investors, the boss or a client - and can transform the way you position your ideas. Tina says, “It is another book that I thought was simply wonderful.”
The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve Case – Prachi Garg, author and Co-founder of Ghoomophiro, recommends this book. Penned by the co-founder of AOL (America Online), this book is about how anyone can walk down the road to success in a world of rapidly changing technology.
OUTSIDE IN – The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of your Business by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine – This book is recommended by Summi Gambhir, the co-founder of DigiVitation. Summi says, “I am always seeking ways to drive an ‘outside-in’ approach to our business, putting our customers first. Every business needs to focus on the full customer lifecycle, and that’s best done by addressing the six disciplines of strategy, customer experience, design, measurement, governance and culture. Manning and Bodine’s case studies from varying industries are particularly helpful in bringing these to life.”
Rise of PR and Fall of Advertising by Al Ries and Laura Ries - Surabhi Dewra, Founder, CareerGuide.com, recently finished reading this book. She says, “It is a refreshing perspective, which draws its analogy from Aesop’s fables, in which the wind and the sun argue over which is the most powerful. Here, Advertising is the wind, and PR is the sun. In short, the book takes you through the importance of building PR around your product. Advertisement is great, but the harder an advertisement tries to force its way into the mind, the less likely it will accomplish its objective.”
Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz - Manisha Kathooria, Co-founder, Kays Harbour, says, “Not many people discuss, in detail, the struggles of setting up and scaling up a business. I could relate to lot of information presented in this book, especially when my venture had crossed the startup stage and was in the process of scaling up. This book answers a lot of the questions that nag entrepreneurs day in and day out.”
Idli, Orchid and Will Power by Vithal Venkatesh Kamat - An autobiography recommended by Deepa Subramaniam, Founder and Creative Head, Galerie De’Arts. “The book takes you through his amazing journey of being a single unit family-run restaurant to building the first environment-friendly five-star hotel in Mumbai. There were familiar strains, of course, as the struggles of entrepreneurs has a universal storyline, but Kamat takes it several notches higher, describing how his undying passion for hotels drove him to take risks in a way one cannot imagine. A delightful read for all entrepreneurs. Quite honestly, it left me teary eyed at many places,” she says.
Some books never go out of fashion, and we love going back to rediscover them. Here are a few recommended by women leaders and entrepreneurs:
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki - “In Rich Dad Poor Dad, Kiyosaki, through a string of personal parables, brings out the importance of wealth building through investments, small-scale entrepreneurship, and building one’s financial aptitude. It is the quintessential book for entrepreneurs, and I would recommend it to all those aspiring to be one,” says Vidushi Daga, Co-founder, CloneFutura.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – “My all-time favourite,” says Vidushi, adding, “Think and Grow Rich is that worldly tome that one can open up any time to find gems of inspiration and come back to a positive frame of mind. The entrepreneurial journey is long and arduous; books like this help a lot.”
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey - Hansa Sinha, Co-founder, Genesys, says, “Although many must have already read this top-seller, I would still recommend it for the simple reason that inspiration flows throughout the book and the fact that it is based on ‘doable things’. Read it to align your thoughts in the most positive and result-oriented flow.”
From building a brand to keeping the focus on the customers to how to be a great leader in times of trials - this list of books covers almost all topics that impact an entrepreneur.
Do tell us what books you read this year that left a lasting impact on you in the comments sections below.