One of my most popular blogs to this day is one I wrote years ago about the best books for self improvement. I wanted to write a follow up about the best books for entrepreneurs because there is so much content out there but not all of it is good. I’ve read so many business books over the years and these are the ones that have helped me the most from starting my business to improving it and staying inspired along the way. Although I personally run a photography business, these books apply to any business and many of them are helpful even if you aren’t an entrepreneur but you want to read a book that is interesting and insightful.

1. This is Marketing by Seth Godin

I found This is Marketing at a bookstore while on vacation in New Zealand. I hadn’t heard of Seth Godin yet and had barely started my business at that time but it caught my eye so I bought it (and finished it before we even got home). It’s all about connecting with your audience so it really doesn’t matter what kind of business or product you’re selling, you’ll get something useful out of this book. One of my favorite quotes is “Everything that we purchase – every investment, every trinket, every experience – is a bargain. That’s why we bought it. Because it was worth more than we paid for it.” Learning to make what you offer a bargain to others, not by making it cheap but by making it priceless is an important part of business. 

2. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

You may have seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk but if you haven’t read Start With Why you’re missing out. His famous line is, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Figuring out your why is a powerful step in creating a sustainable business. 

3. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

The Magic of Thinking Big is an older book – it was published in 1959 but it’s still very relevant today. I found it inspiring and interesting. The topics range from work to family life and all kinds of things in between. Choose this if you are in a slump and need something uplifting and inspiring to read.

4. The One Thing by Gary Keller

I had heard of The One Thing a few times over the years. I wasn’t sure if it would be worth my time but I finally had some free time and ordered it anyways and I’m really glad I did. It’s great at explaining how and why we should focus our efforts and keep things simple. It’s an easy read – nothing groundbreaking but insightful nonetheless and great if you are having a hard time focusing your efforts effectively.

5. The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

I really liked The Paradox of Choice. The concept was nothing new to me, I’ve always known about decision fatigue, but this book really lays it out and offers helpful steps to combat it. It’s also great information to have if you have your own business and are offering services to clients – keeping things simple is best for them and for you.

6. Manage Your Day to Day and Maximize Your Potential by 99u

99u is a collective and their books combine insights from lots of different creatives. They have a couple different books but I found Manage Your Day to Day especially helpful. It discusses creating opportunities, building expertise, taking risks and so much more. The chapters are short but each one is written by a different author/professional and brings something unique and interesting.

7. The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday 

I love this little book. It has short chapters but they are filled with wisdom about life and work and success and mindset. I read The Obstacle is the Way during a difficult time with work, feeling like I was limited with what I could do and it really helped shift my perspective in a huge way. Here’s my favorite quote from it: “You will come across obstacles in life – fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.” 

8. 168 Hours – You Have More Time Than you Think by Laura Vanderkam 

168 Hours is a book about time. About how much time we have and how we spend it. If you find yourself thinking there aren’t enough hours in the day, this book is worth reading. It’s an easy and quick read but so insightful and helpful. I recommend it to everyone. 

9. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber 

The E-Myth is probably the most practical book about running a small business. Whether you are just starting or have been in the game for awhile, you’ll benefit from reading this book. It’s about why most small businesses fail and what to do about it. If you have a business and it’s not bringing in the kind of money you want, there are a lot of things you can do and this book will help you implement them. It was one of the first books I read when I started my business and is definitely one I will revisit over the years.

10. The Values Factor by Dr. John DeMartini

I just recently finished The Values Factor and found it to be very enlightening. It talks about our values factor and how if we aren’t living by our own values we can’t do our best work. Maybe you’re in the wrong job or trying to make something work but it isn’t flowing because it doesn’t align with who you are and what you really value. This book not only explains all of that but it also has exercises to help you get to the root of your values and see how they play out in your life. One of my favorite takeaways is learning that we need a mix of challenge and support in order to be progressing towards our goals – too much challenge and we give up and too much support we don’t feel motivation to work hard for what we want. 


it is so hard to be an entrepreneur! These books would be immensely helpful, thanks for sharing!

Fabulous suggestions. I’ll have to pass these onto my mate who just started her own business! She might find something helpful.

How wonderful to know about these books, thanks a lot and as an entrepreneur, they will be very useful to me – Knycx Journeying

These are really good book recommendations. I am sending the list to my niece. She is seriously considering to quit her corporate post and focus on establishing her own business. These books will help her decide what she wants to do and how to do it well.

Gervin Khan

Great lists! I found something to buy for my brother as a gift for his birthday. Thanks!

I am so excited to start reading this list. This is such a great way for me to find new books!

Thanks for the list! i can’t wait to borrow some of these books to read soon. starting a business has always been my dream and I am sure I will enjoy finding some inspirations from your suggestions.

My pleasure, I hope you enjoy!

These are pretty nice set of books. i am not that kind of “business minded” person, but if i have time i would like to read some on the list.. thank you for the insights though!

I should read some of these books, especially because my wife and I are planning to set up a small business.

I hope they help!

Thank you so much for this list. I’m going to get a few of these!

I hope you enjoy them!


My oldeat is always sharing these kinds of booKs with me. I just read one on funnels that was pretty good. Now i can share this list with him!


I definitely need to read “This is Marketing”. I’ve been very successful as a VA, but ONLY because of word of mouth. I have had zero success with marketing. I honestly don’t even know where to start.

I think it would really help!

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