There is no foolproof guide to being a good leader or a successful entrepreneur. You learn as you go, and one of the best ways to upskill is through the art of self-learning. When it comes to gaining knowledge both theoretical and personal in nature, where else would you go if not to books. Now, with thousands of titles published every year, there exists an overwhelming amount of material to choose from – which ones to drop in your cart, and the ones to ignore?
Compiling a list of books is always an arduous and tedious task indeed, keeping in mind the labyrinth of renowned authors, titles, bestsellers, etc. So we’ve focused on five books that can inspire your creativity, drive your entrepreneurship pursuit, provide accounts of personal victories, and offer insights to succeed. Hopefully, you will be able to get through them before the year ends.
Creativity – in product and service ideas as well as in messaging and communication – is the holy grail of every entrepreneur. Without creativity, even the best product ideas can fall flat on their faces. In her book Big Magic, Gilbert revisits the creative process as a brave, free, and curious life-choice. The book simplifies these choices and the process for anyone who wants deliver creativity at all times in work as well as in life. It showcases fear as the only roadblock to achieving creative nirvana and relates simple ways to overcome it.
Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg launched their high-end virtual assistant company, Less Doing, that debunked the myth that an entrepreneurship journey needs deep pockets and years of over-analysing as opposed to simply taking the plunge. The book relates Meisel and Sonnenberg’s own experiences of turning some ideas on a cocktail napkin into a full-fledged, scalable startup in close to 24 hours, no mean feat by any benchmark!
Focused intensely on the idea of immaculate execution, the book brings forth the only trait necessary to build a business in our times – bravery. It speaks relentlessly of rewriting the rules from a place of genuine passion and expertise, and a deep understanding of what consumers really need.
Bill Green, a noted American serial entrepreneur, revisits 101 humorous yet insightful lessons from his 40-year-long entrepreneurship stint. He speaks succinctly of the simple lessons he used to turn his flea market stall into one of the country’s largest industrial distribution networks.
The book is for everyone – those who have a small business idea but don’t know what to do with it, those who can’t find it in themselves to lose the security of an office job to turn their dreams into a business, and those who are just starting to test the entrepreneurship waters.
Every entrepreneur today is faced with the choice of doing marketing and sales the traditional way or using the power of social media to do the talking and selling on their behalf. What makes this decision even more complex is the reams of theoretical knowledge but little practical know-how that clutters the social media marketing discourse. In such times, the insights provided by co-authors Hughes and Reynolds on social media selling become a crucial data point for new entrepreneurs and business owners. Their book goes down to the basics of building and maintaining stakeholder relationships, online communities, and credibility and reputation in order for social networks and connections to actually turn to business revenue over time. A must-read for every business leader and salesperson who wants to stay in the game, the book is a must-read on sustainable, effective strategy for sales in the digital age.
A diversity and inclusion activist, venture capitalist, former CEO of Reddit, and co-founder of the award-winning diversity and inclusion nonprofit Project Include, Ellen Pao relates her tryst with legal action against a powerful Silicon Valley venture capital firm. The suit called out workplace discrimination and retaliation against women and other minority groups. Although Pao lost the case, she won immediate recognition and respect for blowing the covers off Silicon Valley’s dangerously rigid and old-fashioned white male clubs that habitually exclude women and other minorities from achieving what their white male counterparts do.
The fact that most startup ecosystems around the world suffer the issue of exclusion (only 2 percent of funded startups from India were founded or led by women) makes Pao’s writing that much more relevant. While the book is a must-read for women entrepreneurs, I’d say everyone from VCs to male founders should read it! Hopefully, it will help them see through their often-inadvertent sexism and gender bias and take corrective action sooner than later.
So there you have it – the definitive reading list for entrepreneurs in 2017, in my opinion. Which ones do you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!