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The 37 Books You Should Read To Run A Successful Startup

Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash

Running a profitable startup is no small task. If you want to be successful, you’ll need to know which pitfalls to avoid and how to actually turn a profit. Luckily, you are not the first person to do this, you can learn from the experiences of others.

Here are the 37 books you should read to run a successful startup… In reality, you don’t have to read them all, one or two will probably do.

#1 Crushing It!

In this book, Gary has the spirit of every tireless entrepreneur, and he uses his knowledge of social media marketing to explain how any startup owner can create business opportunities using the right social networks.

He also includes countless testimonials from other entrepreneurs who found success in putting Gary's principles into practice based on this book's predecessor, Crush It!. Every startup owner should read this book to gain a new perspective of the hidden opportunities found where the majority of society's attention is directed to...social media.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Karen Chalco

Company: advisifymedia.com | Medium

9 points
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#2 The Courage to be Profitable

Learn pricing and how to read financial statements in less than 30 minutes a month. No business owner goes into business to do the financial side of their business - yet it is the financial side which will keep them in business - making sure the company is profitable, not running out of cash, etc.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Ruth King

Company: profitabilityrevolution.com | thecouragetobeprofitable.com

8 points
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#3 The Ugly Truth about Cash

Every business owner, especially start up businesses must put the easy procedures described in this book, in place to help keep their assets safe.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Ruth King

Company: profitabilityrevolution.com | thecouragetobeprofitable.com

8 points
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#4 Escape Velocity

This book will change the way you think about growth, profits, and scale. Moore illustrates, through various examples, that innovations that make a company successful tend to ultimately lead to its demise as well. Successful--and profitable--businesses seductively invite executives to keep doing more of the same, to wring more profits from an original market innovation or market insight.

But the book remarkably shows that to be truly successful over the long term, you need to develop strategies for escaping the pull of the past and position the business for the future--even if it is painful and expensive in the near term.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Samar Shah

Company: shahiplaw.com

5 points
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#5 Losing My Virginity

Losing My Virginity, by Richard Branson taught me early on to enjoy taking risks and that determination is the sole factor in achieving success. I learned to take pride in my ideas, build like-minded teams, and give my vision a shot. Most importantly, if you fail there is always another chance as long as you keep at it.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Shyam Krishna Iyer

Company: skicharities.org

4 points
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#6 Exponential Organizations

To understand how to be a startup that disrupts and is not disrupted, start with learning about Exponential Organizations. The book blends concepts of economics, emerging technologies, digital transformation, startup philosophy, and new business models to illustrate and inspire organizations to change.

Exponential Organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper and if you are building a startup, you need to know the way to become an ExO. It's your guide to architecting your future success.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Seth Waite

Company: RevUnit.com

2 points
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#7 The Virgin Way

Richard Branson is an unconventional leader and is not afraid of failure. His leadership style is being involved. Most importantly, he understands the importance of having fun while running a business which has taught me a lot. Why do it if it isn't fun?

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Cindy Jones

Company: coloradoaromatics.com

2 points
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#8 Profit First

This is a great book for new business owners and startups and requires you to focus on making money to stay in business. While there are quite a few startups and major companies that are okay losing millions of dollars a year (moviepass, netflix, uber, etc) for the normal person, we have to make money first.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jordan Ostroff

Company: jordanlawfl.com

2 points
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#9 Start with Why

Based on the popular Ted Talk, this book by Simon Sinek is a must read for start-ups of all kinds. The book teaches founders that your brand isn't just skin deep and isn't the product or service you sell. Instead, it focuses on helping the reader define why they take the actions they do with their business and how that raw calling translates into alignment with your employees, customers, investors and the larger community.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Christina May

Company: illumine8.com

2 points
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#10 Total Integrated Marketing: Breaking the Bounds of the Function

Not many books in college change your life, this one changed mine. So many start-ups forget that marketing is not just ads or Facebook posts, but instead is the creation and communication of your brand through every action your business takes. I consider this to be the foundational text on marketing communications as a business solution, not a tactic.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Christina May

Company: illumine8.com

2 points
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#11 Originals

It's about the challenge of bringing original new ideas to life, balancing the risk of going against the grain and being non-conformist. Many entrepreneurs believe that starting a company is all about embracing risk, but Grant brings a far more nuanced view of how to take intelligent risks with this book. I find it to be immediately actionable for how to recognize great ideas, manage fear and doubt, and how to nurture originality in your team and organization.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Ada Chen Rekhi

Company: notejoy.com

1 point
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#12 The E-myth

I'm a small business owner and an avid reader of all books related to business, sales, and marketing. Of all the books I've read, I found the most value from the E-myth book series. One gold nugget is the value of working on your business rather than in your business.

Another is the value of establishing simple, repeatable systems and processes for every single task your business performs. Following these principles have helped me to easily scale my business as we've grown. The best part is these books are told in story format, so they are as entertaining as they are educational.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Angela Leavitt

Company: gimmemojo.com

1 point
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#13 Invisible Influence

A lot of startup owners jump in and launch companies on topics they are passionate about or have experience with - but then struggle with sales and growth because they don’t understand buyer decision making.

This book helps you understand how the little things you often don’t think are big deals can be impacting your sales and customer expectations. It is modern psychology with growth and decision drivers in mind - something every startup owner needs to understand as much as their industry.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Sarah Brennan

Company: accelir.com

1 point
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#14 Guerrilla Marketing

The key to a startup business is building revenue. And to generate revenue your business needs enquires or leads. That all comes down to marketing. Guerrilla Marketing gives a great approach to marketing for small businesses that does not require massive investments of money.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jamie Cunningham

Company: www.salesup.com.au 

1 point
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#15 The Sales Bible

Once you've got inquiries coming in, you need to know how to convert them to a sale. Jeffrey Gitomer is a real-world master at this. His books are pragmatic and relative to today's sales environment.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jamie Cunningham

Company: www.salesup.com.au 

1 point
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#16 Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs

Most small businesses fail due to lack of profit and cash flow. And one of the key reason this happens is because many startups don't understand their numbers and what it will take to be sustainably profitable. This book will be a handy resource to better arm yourself to be financially successful.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jamie Cunningham

Company: www.salesup.com.au

1 point
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#17 Eat That Frog

This is a book on Time Management. With so many conflicting priorities, the startup business owner can quickly find themselves spinning their wheels and procrastinating due to lack of clarity on what to do first. This book will help avoid that.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jamie Cunningham

Company: www.salesup.com.au

1 point
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#18 Hacking Growth

While growth hacking has become a household term in the startup community, there was a time when it was a bit of a foreign concept. Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown were some of the earliest pioneers of a growth hacking methodology, and they generated some truly remarkable results over the years.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Sam Warren

Company: rankpay.com

1 point
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#19 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The success of your business will inevitably come down to you, your mindset and your skills. This book covers some of the core principles in terms of how to think and how to approach achieving your goals.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jamie Cunningham

Company: www.salesup.com.au

0 points
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#20 The Lean Startup

This book will help you to minimize the risk of your startup by walking you through ways to prove your concept before you invest a lot of money. Many people just into business because they think they have a good idea, only to find the market does not agree with them. Be smart about finding your product market fit and this book will help you do just that.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jamie Cunningham

Company: www.salesup.com.au

0 points
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#21 The Startup’s Owners Manual

The book that changed my perspective on starting a business and how to grow one is The Startup's Owners Manual, by Steve Blanks. For me, Steve laid out all of the pre-work that was needed to be done before a company should even be started. From getting out of the building and getting feedback from random strangers to being on top of your company and not in it, Steve takes real-world examples and explains everything in detail. He gave me the confidence and the reasoning to get the ball rolling on becoming an entrepreneur.

I read his book over 6 years ago and still reference it till this day. My company is projected to do over $14m in gross revenue in 2018.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Gene Caballero

Company: yourgreenpal.com

0 points
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#22 Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

Built to Sell helped me see a clear vision for the future of my company: To sell it, build more companies and sell those as well. The book clearly steps through the best way to build a business that you can sell. Since reading this book, I have been redesigning and architecting the new insides of my company so that I can sell it with ease in the future. I hope others can read this book and build their businesses in the manner suggested by John Warrillow from the beginning, instead of waiting four years before learning the principles taught in the book.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Mazdak Mohammadi

Company: blueberrycloud.ca

0 points
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#23 The Compound Effect

Unlike many other success books, which over-complicate things, the advice is simple, true and makes complete sense. The overarching premise is that there are no magic bullets. Success is built on many little things that are done consistently. Do the small things consistently over time and you will see results. It's a great approach for entrepreneurs, employees and any of life's problems that initially seem insurmountable.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Mazdak Mohammadi

Company: storecoach.com

0 points
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#24 The Only Way to Win

Dr. Jim Loehr has worked over two decades with world-class athletes like Monica Seles and Fortune 500 executives to improve their performance and become top achievers. In the sports world where we’ve seen so many scandals, Dr. Loehr’s book stands out because he teaches a complete re-purposing of achievement, one where value is derived from growth in areas such as integrity, honesty, gratefulness, humility, optimism, and compassion.

Dr. Loehr autographed my book with these words, ‚ÄúCharacter above all else!‚ÄĚ

Where else in today‚Äôs sports or business world is ‚Äúcharacter‚ÄĚ listed as¬†number one when describing winning? They‚Äôre not usually seen in the same¬†sentence ‚Äď or even the same paragraph ‚Äď might I suggest not even the same¬†page or book!¬†I absolutely love this book because Dr. Loehr shows how it‚Äôs possible to¬†win big-time without losing your soul!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Allison Constantino

Company: allisonspeak.wordpress.com

0 points
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#25 How to Win Friends and Influence People

This book should be read by every entrepreneur out there before launching a new business. From tips on how to motivate/lead employees to examples on how to write an effective business letter, this classic covers all the basics in an easy conversational style.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Nicholas DeNuccio

Company: propagandaeliquid.com

0 points
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#26 Think and Grow Rich

Illustrating his points via real-life stories about Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and other millionaires of his time, Hill provides 13 compelling steps to embrace in both your personal and professional life. You'll be a better person for it.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Nicholas DeNuccio

Company: propagandaeliquid.com

0 points
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#27 The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

This is a great book for new business owners because it’s all about timing. I really enjoyed how the author discussed the research behind perfect timing. The book is written in an informative and interesting way that keeps the reader engaged from page one. I’ve learned so much from this book that is applicable to my business, but also to my life as a whole!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Heidi McBain

Company: heidimcbain.com

0 points
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#28 Chocolate Wars

Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury - a microcosm of the chocolate industry, but really pertains how to run a company in any industry with humanistic values that can make a difference in the world today..a very fun marketing book and a fun read no matter what business you are in.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Craig Wolfe

Company: celebriducks.com | cocoacanard.com

0 points
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#29 Bottom Up Marketing

Bottom Up Marketing - Jack Trout and Al Reis - by the authors of positioning..really shows you how to build a brand from the bottom up and not from the corporate level down which rarely works and is out of touch with the market.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Craig Wolfe

Company: celebriducks.com | cocoacanard.com

0 points
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#30 The Thank You Economy

Every small business owner should read The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. After writing an awesome book for solopreneurs titled Crush It!, Gary wrote a fantastic book balanced with practical advice and high-level thought leadership.

The concepts conveyed in his writing will make any small business owner (especially those who intend to do business or acquire customers online) see a new way of allocating time and resources to a customer-centric business operation. This book is crucial for small business owners who are itching to grow their online presence and build a community of active followers, influencers, and brand advocates using social media.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Sam Sternweiler

Company: opasite.com

0 points
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#31 The Goal

The book explains through novel-form something that so many startup owners lose sight of: the ultimate goal of a company is to make a profit. There's a lot of excellent advice in there as well about measuring, implementing processes, and refining these processes to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. It's a great, quick read and a classic in business education.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Augustin Kennady

Company: shipmonk.com

0 points
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#32 Who

You may have founded the business, but it is going on to be on other people’s shoulders to carry it forward. How to select partners for the long run? How to best recruit executive staff and employees? This book may help you figure that out.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

0 points
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#33 The Hard Thing About Hard Things

What does an entrepreneur or investor deal with on the daily? What is the nature of the business and the grind? Which risks are worth taking, and why are they worth it? This is always a highly ranked startup book, because it gets very real, very fast.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

0 points
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#34 Mindset

This book addresses one of the most challenging aspects of business foundation and management - oneself. A founder’s mindset, personal philosophy, and work ethics are crucial for helping a company grow in the right direction from the very beginning.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

0 points
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#35 Founders at Work

It is important to learn from other people’s successes, and it can be even more important to learn from their mistakes. In this book, Livingston discusses the early days of companies like Yahoo!, TiVo, Firefox, PayPal, and many others.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

0 points
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#36 The 10X Rule

I listen to this book via Audible constantly and just wish I had this information as a resource years ago. The book does a great job of not sugar coating what it takes to succeed in business and driving home the fact that success is YOUR responsibility, duty and obligation then takes you through the steps in discovering your 'why', setting goals and most importantly - facing reality on the level of activity needed to hit those goals.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Eric Hobbs

Company: technologyassociates.net

0 points
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#37 Leaders Eat Last

The story is brought from Mr. Sinek watching Marines and the leaders actually eating last. The idea of the book is to build loyal and hard-working teams underneath you as the leader. It's more than bonuses, happy hours, and gifts to become a great leader. You also need to gain your teams' respect.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jeffrey Quinn

Company: pitchpivot.com | repcheckup.com

0 points
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