Unlike the rest of the books on this list, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is actually a novel, rather than non-fiction. The reason why it deserves a place on this list is that many people have read this story and walked away feeling more inspired to run their business than any other self-help book out there. Ayn Rand examines the American Dream, and she presents her own philosophy called “objectivism”. She talks a lot about freedom, desire, hard work, materialism, and so much more. During an interview, Rand said, “highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness, and that he must not force other people, nor accept their right to force him, that each man must live as an end in himself and follow his own rational self-interest.”
Keep in mind that Atlas Shrugged is an incredibly long 1,200 page book. If you do not have the patience to get through it, you should consider listening to the audiobook, or watch the series on Amazon Prime.
Out of all of the books on this list, many people have considered Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss to be one of the most valuable of the bunch. Ferriss is famous for his book 4 Hour Work Week, so you have probably heard of him already. In this book, he tries to examine the habits of most successful people in the world, and tries to break down how they live their lives. This book is so chock-full of amazing advice, it is almost impossible to leave it without getting something out of it. Even if you are not aspiring to be an entrepreneur, this book will still help you with happiness, problem-solving, difficult choices, and so much more. (There is a reason why this book is so thick!)
15. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone
Ever wonder what makes one person succeed with others fail? In most cases, it is because that one person chose to work ten times harder than the next guy. In Grant Cardone’s book The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure, he presents his idea of “Massive Action”. This will help you accelerate your work load, and learn a lot more about time management. Everyone is forced to live the same 24 hours in a day, but you are capable of doing so much more than you think.
The book is also about changing your mindset on goals. Cardone recommends that you write down all of your goals and aspirations, and guess at how long it would take. Then, multiply that by 10, and you are probably getting a more accurate idea of the real timeline. This way, if you finish your goal early, you feel amazing about yourself. Same goes with your other aspirations. Whatever your goal is, multiple that by ten. For example, if you said, “I want to make an extra $10,000 next year”, make it $100,000. The likelihood that you will actually make an extra $100,000 is slim-to-none, but it may motivate you to reach for the stars.
Ray Dalio’s life story is basically the American Dream. He started his own investment firm called Bridgewater Associates out of his two-bedroom apartment, and was able to grow it into a massive hedge fund in New York City. Today, Bridgewater is the number five most successful private company in the United States. Ray Dalio explains exactly how he did it, and manages to distill his success into some essential life principles that he lives by. Even some of the most successful and famous people sing the praises of his book, Principles: Life and Work. Tony Robbins said, “I found it to be truly extraordinary.”
One of the most famous entrepreneurship books out there is The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. Just like the title suggests, this book gives you a guide on how it is possible to start a business that requires little-to-no work from you, because you are hiring other people to get things done. However, don’t mistake this as a guide to becoming an overnight millionaire. If you want this kind of lifestyle, you might have to work your butt off for years before you can outsource. For some people, you might love your job so much, that you want to work more than 4 hours a week.
12. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Business school can only prepare you for so much. Earning an MBA may help you learn all of the theory, but there is a huge difference in actually applying it all to real life. On top of that, there will also be issues that no one can prepare you for, since everyone’s journey is unique. This is where The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz comes in. Most people go through huge issues, but they only want to talk about the positive stuff. Horowitz goes over these issues with a lot of humor, to help you laugh at the obstacles life throws in your way, without giving up.
11. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
A huge part of being successful is working well with other people. After all, no man (or woman) is an island. In order to build a successful business, please your boss, or have meaningful personal relationships, you need to get along well with people. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People was written back in the 1940’s, but even to this very day, it is still a bestseller because it gives incredibly good advice generation after generation. If you need to do any public speaking, and you feel nervous, you might benefit from reading this. This is especially helpful for anyone who feels socially awkward, or has a hard time making friends. Many people have claimed that this book totally changed their lives for the better.
It is no secret that app design has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and computer scientists around the world are trying to get into the industry. George Berkowitz does a deep-dive into the origin stories of some of the world’s most popular smartphone apps like Candy Crush, Instagram, Uber, Whatsapp, and Snapchat. This is incredibly helpful for anyone who wants to see a “proof of concept” story from the very beginning stage where a founder is jotting down notes on napkin all the way up to making a multi-million (or billion) dollar company.
Money isn’t everything. If you are already successful, but feel as if money is not actually making you happy, you might want to check out The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. In order to be truly happy, people need a balance between their personal life, and work. Nowadays, “work-life balance” has become sort of a buzz word, but many people do not actually know how to implement that into their life. If you struggle with this, you really need to check it out. This book has become so popular, it has sold over 4 million copies, and it was translated into 50 languages.
There is a big difference between following the path that someone else has already gone down, and choosing to make your own. True innovation can only come from someone who thinks outside of the box. When it comes to running a business, this can be even more intimidating. If you are interested in creating a startup that disrupts an industry, check out Zero to One by Peter Thiel. This book is great, because it teaches you that you should never try to become a carbon copy of someone else. That will never bring you to success. Always be the best version of you that you possibly can be. It is also great for anyone who is looking to specifically get into tech.
7. The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
By this point, you have probably heard of Bitcoin, unless you’re living under a rock. But have you ever wondered what blockchain technology was, or how it actually works? The Internet of Moneyby Andreas Antonopoulos covers the “how” and “why” Bitcoin is such a revolutionary technology. One day, blockchain will become apart of our every-day lives, just like the internet. By the end of this book, you will get a far better understanding, and you will be on your way to deciding if you really should invest in crypto-currency or not. If you are not convinced that you should be reading an entire book on Bitcoin, take at least a few minutes to look at Andreas Antonopoulos’ TED talks and interviews on YouTube, so that you can get a small preview of what this is all about.
6. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
You probably already know who Elon Musk is by now, since he is one of the most influential people of the 21st Century. Founder of PayPal, Space X, and Tesla Motors, he is basically the real-life Tony Stark. There is no doubt that he will go down in history as being up there with Nikola Tesla and Henry Ford in his contributions to inventing new and innovative technology to bring the human race into the future. Author Ashlee Vance goes over the events of Musk’s life, starting with his birth and early life in South Africa, all the way to today. If you are looking to get inspired, or if you are a fan of Elon Musk, this is a great book to read.
5. Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat
Maybe you have never heard of Mo Gawdat, but you definitely have heard of his employer, Google. As the Chief Business Officer, Gawdat has had to go on a long journey through his life to get where he is today. He also opens up about his personal tragedies and struggles, and how difficult it truly can be to find happiness in a work that is so full of difficulties and darkness.
In his book, Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy, he talks about the possibility that there may actually be a way to quickly re-train our minds to get back to happiness as our default setting. If you don’t have time to read a whole book, you should start by listening to one of his talks on YouTube. In one of his talks called “An Algorithm for Happiness”, he runs you through some exercises to show you just how quickly and easily you can change your mood in a positive way.
Warren Buffet is one of the most wealthy men in the world right now, with a net worth of $85 billion. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Buffet taught himself how to analyze the stock market in order to pick the most profitable investments. He gives credit to everything he knows about investing toThe Intelligent Investorby Benjamin Graham, which was originally published in 1949. In it, you will get an overview of exactly how Buffet decides where to put his money. In essence, he never blindly trusts a stock broker with his money. Instead, he does a lot of research into each and every company to see if it will truly make a profit. He calls this “value investing”. Not sure how to find a valuable stock? Might as well read the book to find out!
3. One Thousand Ways to Make $1,000 by F. C. Minaker
Yet another favorite from Warren Buffet’s childhood library was One Thousand Ways to Make $1,000. The book was originally published in 1936, so some of these ideas may seem a bit outdated. However, this book still gives you a lot of amazing ideas on how you can make money doing practically anything, as long as you set your mind to it. The book is currently out of print, so if you want a physical copy, it’s expensive. However, if you get Kindle Unlimited, the e-book is available for free.
Jack Welch was the CEO of General Electric who helped build the company’s market cap to an impressive $450 billion. Instead of trying to change himself to fit the business work, Jack Welch brought his personality and unique perspective to his projects. Jack: Straight From the Gut is essentially an autobiography on how he started making just $10,000 a year to becoming a billionaire. It should inspire anyone who is trying to move forward in their career stay true to themselves, no matter what the circumstances. This is also a great book for anyone who is currently a manager or running a company, because his advice is so straight-forward, it almost seems like common sense, but it just may lead to a lightbulb moment.
1. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales of the World of Wallstreet by John Brooks
Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have recommended Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales of the World of Wallstreet by John Brooks for aspiring business people. This book goes through stories of huge defining moments in companies like General Electric, Ford, and Xerox. John Brooks gives deep and valuable insight into business culture, and his prose is straight-forward and easy to understand. Through each story, you can walk away with a valuable lesson on what you should and should not do in the course of your entrepreneurial journey.