Eight Books Every New Entrepreneur Should Read

by Darrell Crosgrove

I see people asking on Facebook and Reddit what kinds of business they should start. Immediately, like wolves seeing a new stumbly fawn without its mother near, scammers charge in. Offers of how the budding entrepreneur can join this particular program and make $2,000 to $5,000 a week easy, working from home (SCAM!!!) or how this helpful web guru can create for your business a new a wonderful website set up for a mere $3,000. (Which works out to about $3,000 an hour for the setup fee, because setting up a basic WordPress site and customizing it takes about an hour.) 

These people want to do something–their own side gig. Something to earn money and be flexible and they can feel good about doing. But they have no idea on WHAT to do, or how to do it. In short, they want, but have no idea how to fill that want.

If you are at that point–wanting to get your own gig, but having no idea on how to actually do it–here are 8 books you should read. Each one will help educate about an aspect of being an entrepreneur so you have the information you need that will allow you to decide on what to do, start it on the cheap, and make it grow.

Yes, all these books are on Amazon. Most in both print and audiobook format. Or, if you are on limited funds, try your local library. Also, don’t dismay if your local library doesn’t have them in stock. Most libraries subscribe to a service known as Hoolpa. Hoopla has GOBS of digital titles and your library card gets you a free Hoolpa account. My Hoopla account allows me to download 10 titles a month in the format of E-books, Audiobooks, Movies, Graphic Novels, CDs, etc, etc…

And I did a check–6 of the 8 are sitting there on Hoopla, waiting for you to download them to your phone, laptop, or tablet. (The titles followed by (H) are available on Hoopla.  The $100 Startup has a summary available on Hoopla. 100 Ways to Make a Living by Courier Magazine you may be forced to purchase.) 

Yeah, will take some time to read these. But, in fairness, I put them in the order they are needed by new entrepreneurs, and by #3 or #4, you might be ready to start. Read (or listen to) all 8 if you can, but you don’t need all 8 before you begin.

In order:

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (H-Summary)
Teaches you that you CAN start a business on the super-cheap, and how to do it. A must read to get you past the fear of it takes tens of thousands of dollars to start a business. That is BS. You can start a side-gig business for under $100.00, and this book shows you how.

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller (H)
One of the better books on how to present your material in a way that speaks to the needs and wants of the customer. The focus is you must first identify the needs and desires your customer has and then fit your message and product into delivering that product so that they receive their truly desired internal results. This is a focus on HOW to identify what your customers really desire in their own minds, and tailor your message and product to provide that desired end result.

100 Ways to Make a Living by Courier Magazine
100 business ideas to start your creativity flowing. I don’t expect you to use any of these suggestions, as much as this book teaches you how to think about the limitless possibilities of starting you own business, and how to grow it.

Start Your Own Corporation by Garrett Sutton, Esq. (H)
(Part of the Rich Dad’s Advisor Series)
Demystifies what a corporation is, and how to create and maintain one. Also points out the incredibly great legal and tax benefits of running your business under the corporate banner. (And, no, you do NOT need an attorney to create one. In my state all you need is $125 and to fill out some boilerplate 3-page form.)

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber (H)
Explains, in simple terms and analogies, WHY being an Entrepreneur requires you to quickly move your mindset from doing it all yourself to the task of creating instructions for your employees to do, while you build and expand the business. There are a lot of people out there running their own businesses doing 60-70 hour work weeks because they have never made the leap from “chief employee” to actual CEO. This book helps you move past that.

Sales Dogs by Blair Singer (H)
(Part of the Rich Dad’s Advisor Series)
Teaches you the various styles of selling that there are–from Doberman to Collie. The point isn’t to change you into the “best one”, because they are all equally efficient, as much as to teach you HOW to operate within your own natural style, and thus make more sales. BTW: If you are an entrepreneur, you WILL be doing a lot of selling if you are successful.

Influence by Robert Cialdini (H)
There are six methods that you can use to influence a person to do what you want, whether that is which restaurant to go to, or convince them to purchase the more expensive car from you. Cialdini breaks them down and presents them not as tools to use in selling (although, of course, a lot of people do use it for that purpose…) as much as how to defend yourself against these techniques. Once you have read it, you see through marketing and advertising, and salespeople, almost automatically, and their ability to subtly pressure you ceases to exist.

How to Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. (H)
(Also known as HTWFAIP.)
Carnegie published this book in October of 1936, and it remains the pinnacle of the subject of how the make people like you. Not with slick snake-oil mannerisms. No speech tricks. No psychological maneuvers. HTWFAIP teaches you how to grow your personality to where people naturally like you because you are the kind of person that people naturally like. Think back to the people you know who are upbeat and positive. They are a joy to be around in group and are always invited to events and parties. Those people were naturally pleasant to be around. They probably worked to achieve that kind of positive personality, but it paid off in a large circle of friends. You can be that person. And while it might not sound this is an entrepreneur book, think about it–would you rather do business with someone you naturally like, or someone you don’t like quite so much? Get this one and learn how to be more naturally likable.