5 Great Books for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

Whether you're starting a business or trying to grow your company, there is real value in hearing about the experiences of successful entrepreneurs and leaders across industries and sectors.

Here are 5 great books chock-full of lessons on a range of topics, from honing your leadership skills and creating better habits to increasing sales and brand awareness. Discover whatever wisdom or dose of motivation you didn't know you needed right now.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz, a venture capitalist and modern management expert, draws from history and personal experiences as he doles out advice and practical tips on starting and running a business.

"Filled with Ben Horowitz's trademark humor and straight talk, "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures," says a post by Shopify.

For example, you'll find tips on things like how to work through tough decisions or ways entrepreneurs can prepare now for challenges they'll face in the future.

Launch by Jeff Walker

Expanded and updated in 2021, "Launch: How to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build a Business You Love, and Live the Life of Your Dreams," provides strategies to launch an online business and gain traction quickly.

Described as a "treasure map into the online business world," the book shares insights into Jeff Walker's "formula" for successfully launching a product and/or business online. It's a process Walker has honed over the two-plus decades since starting his own business -- a "recipe for traction" he shares with other entrepreneurs, including those with limited funds and resources.

"I've taught thousands of students (who operate in hundreds of niches) how to launch their businesses from scratch, and they've generated more than $1 billion in sales (and that number grows every day)," Walker writes on his website.

The Art of Principled Entrepreneurship by Andreas Widmer

Andreas Widmer weaves the story of Art Ciocca, the successful entrepreneur who founded The Wine Group more than four decades ago, to explain the link between people-centered values and successful businesses.

In the book, which explains how running a business can be both virtuous and profitable, Widmer shares the "five pillars" that form the foundation of an entrepreneurial mindset that places the human person at the center of work.

"With his people-centered leadership approach, Art assigned the same importance to creating value for his customers as he did to fostering excellence in all who worked with him. The Art of Principled Entrepreneurship tells his story and the stories of others like him, and proves how business can be a force for good," according to Widmer's website.

Bigger and Better by Esther Kestenbaum Prozan

Esther Kestenbaum Prozan counters the common belief that companies must spend large amounts of capital to gain exponential growth. Kestenbaum states, "Capitalization matters, but it's secondary to attitude and process."

In "Bigger and Better: A Playbook for Quickly Scaling Your Small Company with Limited Resources," the experienced business exec shares the principles behind her system for creating lean, exponential growth.  

"Her principles encourage a shift of mindset to focus on intrinsic value, like focusing on non-transactional sales, future-proofing customer needs, and building owned channels," writes John Hall, cofounder and president of Calendar, in a blog for Inc.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Tiny changes can lead to remarkable results, writes James Clear, considered one of the world's leading experts on habit formation.

The author draws from the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to offer this guide on how to make "good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible."

"Along the way,  readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field," says the website for the book.


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