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Books Recommended for Entrepreneurs BY Entrepreneurs

books for entrepreneurs business book recommendations entrepreneur book recommendations personal branding Apr 30, 2024

By Alanna Fairey

For as long as I can remember, I have always been an avid reader. 

My bookshelf has more options than your local bookstore, with authors ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald, to Jacqueline Susann, to Gillian Flynn, to Kazuo Ishiguro, and Marcel Proust. If you’re ever lucky enough to borrow a book of mine, you’ll find marked up notes throughout, highlighting words I wish I could’ve said. 

At Brand of a Leader, we’re all pretty big readers too. We even have a “Brand of a Leader Library,” where our team shares the books that have made an impact on us, and swap them when we have the chance to see each other in person. 

Entrepreneurs, by nature, are usually readers. And that’s the benefit of us having really, really smart clients: they recommend really, really good books. 

Every month during our client meetings, I always ask about the books they're reading. It helps us gather content ideas, but more importantly, I believe a person's reading choices reveal a lot about them. It's a great way for me to understand who they are. One of my favourite memories I’ve ever had with a client (yes, EVER) was when he and I discovered our mutual love of Stephen King and had a good five-minute long tangent about why IT and The Stand are among his best works. 

In the year I’ve been working with Brand of a Leader, I’ve been adding books to my ‘to read’ list, and when I have that rare Sunday off, I’ve given these books a read. And I’m able to confirm what I always knew: our clients know their stuff when it comes to good books for other business owners.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, these are books that are very deserving of your time. 

Don’t believe me? See for yourself. 

Client Recommendations: 

“Unreasonable Hospitality” by Will Guidara

I’m calling it right now: this is probably the most recommended book by our clients, ever. After giving it a read, it’s not hard to see why this is such a hit with our clients. that explores the concept of providing exceptional customer service and creating memorable experiences for customers. It stresses the importance of going above and beyond what is expected to delight and surprise customers.

Key Takeaways for Entrepreneurs

  1. Competitive advantage: In today’s competitive business landscape, entrepreneurs need to find ways to stand out. Providing exceptional hospitality can be a powerful way to differentiate your business from competitors and create a memorable impression on customers.
  2. Brand reputation: Exceptional hospitality can contribute to building a positive brand reputation. Customers are more likely to recommend businesses that provide outstanding service, leading to increased brand visibility and credibility in the marketplace.
  3. Customer retention and lifetime value: Acquiring new customers can be costly, so retaining existing customers is crucial for sustainable growth. By focusing on hospitality and ensuring customers feel valued and appreciated, entrepreneurs can increase customer retention and lifetime value, maximizing the return on investment for each customer.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

 I once had two back-to-back clients share how influential this book was for them. One said he’d “force” his son to give it a read, too. If you haven’t read this classic book, the overarching message is that by understanding and respecting others, being empathetic, and focusing on building genuine connections, you can improve interpersonal relationships and achieve success personally and professionally.

Key Takeaways for Entrepreneurs

  1. Networking: Networking is essential for entrepreneurs to expand their professional contacts, find mentors, and discover new opportunities. Carnegie's principles provide practical guidance on how to approach networking events, make meaningful connections, and leave a lasting impression.
  2. Sales and marketing: Entrepreneurs often find themselves in the position of selling their products or services. The book teaches valuable techniques for persuading others, understanding their needs, and presenting ideas in a compelling manner, all of which are essential skills for effective sales and marketing.
  3. Negotiation and conflict resolution: Entrepreneurs frequently encounter situations that require negotiation and conflict resolution, whether it's with clients, partners, or employees. The book offers strategies for resolving conflicts peacefully, finding win-win solutions, and maintaining positive relationships even in challenging situations.

“The Law of Success” by Napoleon Hill

This book may have been written in 1928, but the lessons and wisdoms are still just as relevant today in 2024. This book offers a comprehensive framework for achieving success in all areas of life, encompassing personal development, goal setting, leadership, and interpersonal skills. 

Key Takeaways for Entrepreneurs

  1. Definiteness of purpose: One of the core principles of “The Law of Success” is the importance of having a clear and definite purpose. For entrepreneurs, this means defining specific goals and objectives for their business ventures. Having a clear purpose provides direction and motivation, guiding entrepreneurs through challenges and setbacks.
  2. Self-Confidence: Napoleon emphasizes the importance of self-confidence in achieving success. Entrepreneurs often face uncertainty and doubt, especially when starting a new venture. Building and maintaining confidence in oneself and one's abilities is crucial for overcoming obstacles and taking calculated risks.
  3. Applied faith: Napoleon discusses the power of faith and belief in achieving success. Entrepreneurs must have faith in themselves, their vision, and their ability to overcome obstacles. Cultivating a positive mindset and believing in the possibility of success can help entrepreneurs persevere in the face of adversity.

“The 5 Levels of Leadership” by John Maxwell

This was one of the more recent books that one of our clients recommended, but it still deserves a mention, and a read. If you haven’t heard of this book, it offers real-world examples and practical insights to help leaders understand where they currently stand in their leadership journey and provides a roadmap for growth and development. At the time of this writing, I’m about halfway through reading this, and I’m definitely inspired.

Key Takeaways for Entrepreneurs

  1. Personal leadership development: Entrepreneurs often start their ventures as solo practitioners or small teams. As such, they must possess strong personal leadership skills to drive their vision forward. John’s book emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, self-discipline, and self-motivation, all of the foundational aspects of personal leadership that allow entrepreneurs to succeed.
  2. Empowering others: Successful entrepreneurs understand the value of empowering others and delegating responsibilities effectively. John’s framework encourages leaders to empower their team members by providing them with autonomy, support, and opportunities for growth. As John notes, entrepreneurs who empower their teams foster a culture of ownership and innovation.
  3. Navigating challenges and change: Entrepreneurship can be challenging, with constant changes and uncertainties. John’s insights into leadership levels and principles provide entrepreneurs with a roadmap for navigating challenges and leading in times of change. By mastering the principles outlined in the book, entrepreneurs can adapt to changing circumstances, inspire resilience in their teams, and steer their ventures toward success.

Alanna’s recommendation: 

Disclaimer: Okay, fine! I’m not an entrepreneur (yet!!), but I couldn’t resist throwing in a recommendation of my own. I wrote this blog, I can do whatever I want! 

“The Opposite of Loneliness” by Marina Keegan

 If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, there is a 100% chance I have recommended this book to you. Reading this book had a huge impact on me, in so many ways. This essay explores the connection and belonging that comes from shared experiences and relationships, contrasting with the feeling of isolation and loneliness that can accompany young adulthood. And even though it’s not a book about entrepreneurship, per se, the lessons can still be applied.

Key Takeaways for Entrepreneurs

  1. Building relationships and community: Despite “loneliness” being in the title, Marina emphasizes the importance of relationships and community. For entrepreneurs, building a strong network of supporters, mentors, and collaborators is essential for success. Marina’s reflections on friendship and connection can remind entrepreneurs of the importance of fostering meaningful relationships both personally and professionally.
  2. Embracing risk and ambition: Marina’s essay explores the themes of ambition and taking risks to pursue your passions. I think that this can be applied to would-be entrepreneurs before they take that scary, but gratifying leap. There’s uncertainty and risk launching new ventures, and this essay can help to inspire them to embrace these challenges with courage and determination.
  3. Seeking fulfillment beyond success: While success is often a driving force for entrepreneurs, Marina’s writings encourage readers to seek fulfillment beyond traditional measures of achievement. Entrepreneurs may find value in reflecting on what truly matters to them and striving for a sense of fulfillment and purpose in their personal and professional lives.

Do you have a book I should add to my never-ending book list? Maybe one that our clients should be thinking about when it comes to their business? Feel free to get in touch! 


Alanna Fairey is a Client Engagement Specialist at Brand of a Leader. She has a diverse background in fashion communications, branding, and writing. Connect with Alanna here.

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