I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a teenager there was nothing on my radar beyond a vague impression or curiosity. I wanted to be this or that, but at the end of the day I had no idea if I would be a musician or an artist or a writer or business person. For some reason though, books on starting your own business always intrigued me. I remember picking up a business book at 17 and couldn’t put it down. I would get stacks of business books at the library and read through them over and over again. For some reason, it all just made sense to me.
Over the years, I have read a lifetime portion of books on Business and Entrepreneurship, but I do have my list of authors who warrant “automatic must reads”. These authors include Seth Godin, Malcom Gladwell, and Chris Guillebeau to name a few. As I read these books early on, I am fairly certain that my mind was trained to be an Entrepreneur. Life and Business was natural. And I love every minute of the practical outcome.
I have had the honor of being a business mentor to help dozens of small business owners develop the mindsets and practical skills to run their businesses. I have no doubt that my arson of business instincts were grown because of this list of books.
If I were to advise someone how they could become a great business person, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend what may seem too simple to be true. And yet, with 30 minutes a day and a dozen noteable books, I firmly believe that someone could avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in school debt, and emerge quite an impassioned Entrepreneur.
1. The Education of Millionaires: While this book just came out last year, it was hands down the best business book I have ever read. Mixing business theory and practice to a perfect balance, this book will give you the edge on what you don’t know about business – and resources to help you get there.
2. 100 StartUp: I am certain this book will go down in history’s list of business classics. While there is not a ton of theory, the main point of the book is to offer individuals the understanding that they can take a talent or resource they have, and capitalize it in a dynamic way. If you want to start a business, this is a must have for your library.
3. The 4 Hour Work Week: Just about everyone knows Tim Ferris now, and this book is why. This book describes specific step by step guidance to building a business, but beyond that, it also provides examples of individuals who have built business that work for them – not the other way around. In a world where Entrepreneur’s work a minimum of 60 hours a week, this book gives an excellent perspective on keeping your business from running your life.
4. Tribes: Written by Marketing Ghandi Seth Godin, Tribes is a tiny book about building a following with a meaningful message. I read this book in one single day and when I was done, I could quite literally contain the excitement that it invoked.
5. Outliers: I am sure most people wouldn’t classify this as a business book, but quite frankly that’s exactly how I feel about it. Outliers is full of historical stories, illustrating how success is never built on just your shoulders. In fact, there are factors beyond our realm of control that, if we can harness to our advantage, will be the conduit for success. It’s genius.
6. The Tipping Point: Oops. Another book by Malcom Gladwell. Yes he is a personal favorite. This book is for someone who wants to understand Social Movements, and what you need in order to build a social movement yourself and your brand.
7. LoveMarks : I absolutely love the premise of this book. If you want to understand why the great businesses reach their peak, and why we love them, read this book. An amazing example for anyone who wants to build a business that people love for more than just the product.
8. Start. Jon Acuff is an Entrepreneur himself and he knows a thing or two about the long haul of starting a business. But what I love this book is the lists behind every chapter that guide the reader through the steps and processes needed to start your business.
9. Purple Cow: Seth Godin really made his name to me in this book. This was the very first book I ever read that introduced me to what it really means to be a marketer. I know that modern marketing has a really bad rap, but Seth Godin teaches you how to market in such a way that your customers connect with what you offer – because that is exactly what they want and need.
10. Spin Selling: I have been reading this book and wow. Just go buy it.
11. Great Work : What is the difference between “paying your dues” and doing the work that really means something? This book gives examples of how you can impact your customers in ways that not everyone may try. If you want to learn how to make the random and ordinary something special, read this book.
12. Good to Great : Of course, this book is on just about every classic business list, but it is for good reason. More about business theory, this book shows how the great companies made it, and the principles that they applied to get there.
13. Quitter: This is another awesome book by Jon Acuff – just in case you need incentive to start your own business.
BONUS: For Photographers
Fast Track Photographer by my dear mentor Dane Sanders. This book will break down exactly what you need to pull out of your soul and be a successful business photographer.
VisionMongerers: The most vital must read for photographers. Most people don’t know what it takes to do photography as a business. And for that reason more photographers will fail than make it in the business. This book will give you a compete reality check on what you need to be a business photographer.