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24 Must-Read Books On Starting A Business

Books can be, and are, an affordable way to get professional assistance with starting a business. Authors can highlight common mistakes and give valuable insight into what you should and should not be doing. Here are 24 must-read books on starting a business.

Each of the books on this list is suggested by Fupping contributors. 

#1 The Business Idea Factory by Andrii Sedniev

A lot of examples in this book are inspirational. It helps entrepreneurs in learning about thinking creatively and coming up with ideas which can be implemented.

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

Contributors: Elyssa Respaut from AmDee LLC 

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#2 Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers by Anthony Mersino

Every CEO is a PM at the end of the day. Dealing with people - be it employees or clients, is a big part of a CEO's life. This book helps in understanding emotions and using it to one's advantage.

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

Contributors: Elyssa Respaut from AmDee LLC 

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#3 The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki

Beyond just being the guy known for the original successful Macintosh marketing initiative, Guy Kawasaki is an excellent writer and educator. This book is not only packed with valuable information, it's written in a light and charming manner that keeps you engaged, even through some of the less glamorous-sounding aspects of starting a business.

It's a good read to help you assess if you are truly ready to undergo the venture in mind, and provides a map of the knowledge gaps you should look to fill in order to increase your chances of success.

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

Contributors: Alison Haselden from CanIRank

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#4 The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

My inspiration to start a location independent business with the 80/20 principle and automate as much as possible came from this book.

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

Contributors: Kean Graham from MonetizeMore

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#5 David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell illuminates the counter-intuitive advantage of being the underdog. Via many impressive stories, it shows how it is very possible to exploit a weakness and turn it into a one-of-a-kind strength in the long term.

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

Contributors: Kean Graham from MonetizeMore

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#6 Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

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The premise of Blue Ocean Strategy.remove yourself from the blood bath of competition by offering overwhelming value to the consumer. Deliver overwhelming value and you will render the competition irrelevant. The book is loaded with case studies that any entrepreneur can relate to because they show case companies we have all used or are aware of. My business is 100% conducted over the phone and internet. Overcoming the inherent challenges of our business model and the service we offer is mitigated by the value our customers receive for the money they spend with us. The foundation of our business model was tailored from what I learned in Blue Ocean Strategy.

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

Contributors: Bill Westrom from TruthinEquity

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#7 The Startup’s Owners Manual by Steve Blanks

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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.

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

Contributors: Gene Caballero from GreenPal 

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#8 Impossible to Inevitable by Jason Lemkin

The book is focused on SaaS technology companies, but frankly a lot of the lessons contained within are also completely relevant for other types of small businesses. They focus on customer retention and strategies on how to deepen and improve relationships with your customers. This is important regardless of whether you are a software company or a restaurant. I see Jason Lemkin as one of the great business thought leaders of our decade, particularly with respect to small businesses and start-ups. I found this book to be absolutely jam-packed with great strategies to handle the thousands of business situations that will come up for founders.

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

Contributors: Steve Benson from Badger Maps

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#9 The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

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You don’t have to join the cult or anything, but it’s worth understanding why there is a cult in the startup community surrounding the philosophies outlined in this book.

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

Contributors: Steve Benson from Badger Maps

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#10 The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

I highly recommend every entrepreneur read the "The Personal MBA" because it not only teaches you what you'd learn during an expensive MBA program, but also because it speaks about the intricacies of owning a business.

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

Contributors: Sarah Moe from Flauk

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#11 Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

This book is a game-changer. It'll teach you how to be profitable from Day 1 (and that you can be profitable from the start), and how to learn when an idea isn't profitable or feasible.

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

Contributors: Sarah Moe from Flauk

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#12 Orgasmic Leadership by Rachel Braun Scherl

The book is called Orgasmic Leadership which deals with the ever-growing female sexuality and sexual health business which is predicted to reach $50 billion annually in the next 5-10 years.

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

Contributors: Nicole Albert from JAG Entertainment

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#13 Behind the Cloud by Marc Benioff & Carlye Adler

Behind the Cloud is a really good read for a few reasons. It's a story behind the success of salesforce.com and how Benioff and his team built the company prior to the existence of the term “In the Cloud”. This book details how the company rose to success, and goes into details about how to find your company's unique qualities and make it stand out above the rest.

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

Contributors: Chinh Nguyen from Finale Inventory

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#14 Go It Alone by Bruce Judson

The premise behind Go It Alone, as to break the myth that you’ve got to spend money to make money. Of course, you have to spend money, but just how much? Judson reasons it’s more than doable to create a profitable business without employees, loans or funding. Thanks to market trends and breakthrough technology creating a powerhouse business has never been easier.

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

Contributors: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics 

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#15 Getting Things Done by David Allen

The worst thing you can do when starting a business is neglect work. Getting out of the gate is hard, if you stop at any point you’ll lose momentum, but if you don’t stop you’ll burn out. Getting things done is all about organizing your thoughts and forming habits. The book teaches you how to give yourself a productive space to work, helping you track your thoughts, and your progress.

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

Contributors: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics 

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#16 Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder

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This must-have 'entrepreneurship 101' book teaches you the building blocks of a business model in a handy format they call the business model canvas. It's a great place to start to map out your business idea.

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

Contributors: Marianne McGinley from Lokalphoto

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#17 Traction by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares

Amazingly to-the-point, this book outlines the 19 different channels through which your business can grow, you'll feel empowered to start before you get one-third through it. And you'll want to parallel path development and these channels, so don't push this one off to post-launch timing.

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

Contributors: Marianne McGinley from Lokalphoto

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#18 Shortcut your Startup by Courtney Reum and Carter Reum

There's so much practical advice shared in this book, from raising capital to understanding your competitive position and what that means for your business, and utilizing your time and resources efficiently.

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

Contributors: Marianne McGinley from Lokalphoto

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#19 Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Because you're not just creating a company, you're developing ideas, a brand, and initial communications, and need them to quickly resonate.

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

Contributors: Marianne McGinley from Lokalphoto

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#20 Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

It’s a book that helped me get started as it talks about how to build a software product. It’s about user experience and how to design websites and applications that are easy to use.

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

Contributors: Cedric Savarese from FormAssembly

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#21 Drive by Daniel Pink

This book describes the keys to motivating people, therefore retaining employees and creating a culture of sustainability.

This one really helped me in confirming our strategy for the nonprofit I run called, Motley Zoo Animal Rescue. This teaches you what are the 3 keys to motivating people- and keeping them...which is essential for a volunteer-run organization especially!

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

Contributors: Jamie Thomas from Motley Zoo Animal Rescue 

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#22 Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

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Although this is geared towards those in for profits, it helped me understand a bit more about why people make the strangest decisions - especially when it comes to changing their minds about animals, volunteering and so on... why they don't do what they say or say what they are doing. It helped me from being as frustrated about some things- and helped us strategize in terms of donor management and increasing fundraising efforts.

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

Contributors: Jamie Thomas from Motley Zoo Animal Rescue 

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#23 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

How to succeed in life, not just business; how to be a leader not just a manager. This one I read after a break up with a key individual in the organization which created a bit of a shakeup. I wanted to make sure that I was on the right path, doing what I could (as a leader) to avoid such issues in the future. I believe as well this one can help in personal and family lives as the principles and concepts are fundamental lifestyle choices not techniques. You can certainly learn a ton from this book.

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

Contributors: Jamie Thomas from Motley Zoo Animal Rescue 

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#24 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni

This one is good for teams and organizations as well - I also believe it can help in family and personal lives too. It helps set up scenarios about group efforts, how and why communication may fail and break down and how to turn that around. The skills are applicable to many aspects, not just business. I found that I could identify obstacles in my teammates' attitudes and behavior, as well a solution and way to redirect them to a more positive and successful outcome.

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

Contributors: Jamie Thomas from Motley Zoo Animal Rescue 

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