Top 5 business books entrepreneurs should be reading on World Book Day 2022

Prolific children's author Roald Dahl once said, ‘If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books.’ So, budding entrepreneur – what are you waiting for?

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If you’re a business owner, CEO or entrepreneur with kids, you’ll no doubt be very aware that today is World Book Day.

You’ve more than likely either spent the last week making a costume for your kid(s) that (roughly) resembles their favourite fictional character, or done a double take at the money you’ve just spent ordering a costume online.

But regardless of your view on World Book Day, it’s hard to deny the immense impact reading has on our lives. And this celebration is not just for our children, though they definitely learn and develop through the power of reading.

World Book Day is also for us adults and business owners to recognise the personal and professional development books provide us. Plus, as an entrepreneur, you don’t have to dress up to celebrate!

Based on over 20 years of experience interviewing CEOs, founders and successful business owners, Startups has identified the top five business books any future leader should read.

So what books are they, and how can they help you become a success?

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Ask any successful business owner, and they will tell you the key to their success is largely due to the relationships they’ve developed with their employees, business partners, and customers.

This is likely why Dale Carnegie’s prolific and timeless classic makes it onto our list of the best business books for entrepreneurs.

Carnegie’s advice and guidance is instrumental to running a successful business, as it teaches the reader how to deal with people, which according to Carnegie himself is the ‘biggest problem founders are faced with’.

The book advises how to:

  • Make friends quickly and easily
  • Increase your popularity
  • Persuade people to follow your way of thinking
  • Win new clients and customers
  • Become a better speaker
  • Boost enthusiasm among your colleagues

You’ll need all of these skills as you navigate the startup world, and the importance of each is reiterated time and time again by successful entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed at Startups over the years.


Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman

Gino Wickman’s 2012 guide to running your business is seen as a bible to many successful entrepreneurs. It is centered around the Entrepreneurial Operating System, a practical approach to achieving business success by strengthening six key components of your business.

These components are:

  • Vision
  • People
  • Data
  • Issues
  • Process
  • Traction

There are similar books that scratch the surface of business management, but none delve quite as deep as Wickman’s Traction. It is a true ‘how to achieve business success’ guide that will help you keep control of your business as it scales without losing your sense of direction.

Sophie Baron, founder of Mamamade:

“The book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman was recommended to me by a mentor, and now I recommend it to every new hire we bring on. It’s an important reminder to stay focused on what works – and keep an eye out for what doesn’t.”

Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss

Tim provides several great tips on how to start a business in the video below:

Tim Ferriss is highly regarded in the business community, not only for his incredibly successful podcast The Tim Ferriss Show but also for his self-help book series, which includes the No.1 New York Times bestseller The 4-Hour Work Week.

Making his millions as an early-stage technology investor, Tim has made angel investments in companies such as Uber and Shopify, which have earned him a reputation as one of the most innovative business people in the world.

His 2016 effort Tools of Titans earns a place on our list of the top business books for entrepreneurs. In it, Ferriss takes the teachings, lessons, and tactics of successful CEOs and founders he’s interviewed over the past few years and explores them further, applying them to his own idea of business success.

The result is, as Ferriss calls it, ‘an ultimate notebook of high-leverage tools that will ensure you make the most out of your day and excel in high-stakes negotiations, environments and business dealings’.

Cathy Moseley, CEO of Boundless:

“I refer to Tools of Titans every day. Tim’s book is full of great insights, and in my opinion it should be a startup’s bible.”

The Culture Map, Erin Meyers

For entrepreneurs and startups aiming to operate on an international scale, Erin Meyers’ pivotal guide to breaking through the cultural boundaries of global business is a must-read.

Working with other businesses in the UK alone can be an arduous task, but even more challenges arise once you start operating internationally and dealing with clients and employees from across the globe.

The Culture Map provides a field-tested, practical model for understanding how cultural differences impact businesses that have entered the international business space. Meyer’s guide is full of actionable advice that is integral to the success of your business overseas.

Drawing on her own experiences in the business world, Meyers explains how to increase your organisation's success by improving your ability to understand the behaviours of employees, clients and suppliers from different countries.

‘The Culture Map’ is Sprout.ai founder Niels Thone’s favourite book about leadership and management.

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules, David Marquet

One of the biggest challenges facing founders and business leaders today is burnout.

Instead of building a team of independent free thinkers, many business owners are surrounded by followers that they are in charge of.

This can make running a business challenging and exhausting, particularly when the weight of responsibility is placed on you as the leader.

David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, realised this whilst serving as Captain on the U.S. Navy’s Santa Fe ship.

He decided to make radical changes to his leadership style, and before long the Santa Fe skyrocketed from the worst to best ship in the fleet.

Turn the Ship Around is Marquet’s account of how he took matters into his own hands and challenged the U.S. Navy’s traditional leader-follower approach.

Instead of maintaining a culture of followers, Marquet pushed for leadership at every level. His guidelines for leadership are now adopted by countless successful entrepreneurs, who run businesses where every individual takes responsibility for their actions.

This book is great for any business owner who wants to use Marquet’s lessons and teachings in leadership to help propel their business forward.

Stephen Covey, author of one of the most highly regarded business books ever published (7 Habits) argued that Captain Marquet’s model of leadership was the ‘finest I have seen’.

If you want to learn how to manage a team of leaders rather than followers, look no further than Turn the Ship Around.

Alex Young, founder of Virti:

“[This is] a great book which focuses on empowering your people to think like mini-CEOs. As we bring more amazing people into our business, surrounding myself with people I can directly learn from is really important, whereas previously I figured things out by myself.”

Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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