Top 9 Books for the Early-Stage Entrepreneur

Updated: Feb 18

I love to start my mornings with a great book. It helps me stay fresh, gives me creative inspiration, and allows me to begin my day with a bit of self-love and self-care. I tend to read a lot about self-awareness, business, and productivity, so most of these books fall into one or more of those categories.



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1. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

This book is a must-have for entrepreneurs struggling to understand the key to personal and brand success. Simon explains why working from the inside out makes so much sense, and it's not just about a feeling he has. This stuff is backed by biology.


There is an excellent TED talk that goes into a brief explanation. You should definitely read the book if you're jazzed about that video.


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2. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

Another big favorite of mine. I love sharing this book with anyone that needs some motivation. I read this book multiple times while traveling to Bali and southeast Asia in 2019. It was such a great reminder that I can always figure it out at the end of the day, and you can, too! I love Marie's quirky stories and her upbeat attitude. She has a bit of a Cinderella story, as she was not someone who just grew up having everything handed to her, so I could relate. Oh, and I love the story about the Tropicana orange radio.


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3. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

It really, really does. Maybe it's a little woo-woo, but I can't explain how much this book has changed my life. Gabby reminds the reader that the universe is always guiding you.


One of my favorite concepts she talks about is "universal assignments." There are patterns we are destined to repeat until we work through them. These universal assignments teach us lessons, but sometimes we're just not ready to learn them. When that's the case, we'll keep encountering the same kind of problem over and over again until we choose to free ourselves. I have so many of these myself, but being aware of them now allows me to control the narrative by showing up for the assignment.


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4. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers

This book is worth a read and then a re-read. Dr. Jeffers offers a lot of insight into what fear really is and why we tend to run from it. One of my favorite areas of the book is the fear truths that she outlines. I like them so much that I added them to my phone to look at occasionally when I need it. So here they are in case you wanted a sneak peek:


1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.

2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.

3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out… and do it.

4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I'm in unfamiliar territory but so is everyone else.

5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.


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5. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss

Negotiating like a boss will be one of those skills you need to acquire early on in business development. Between negotiating deals and partnerships to bringing on new employees and hiring talent, knowing how to balance what you want with your counterpart is a game-changer.


I love this book because Chris Voss, the author, and FBI hostage negotiator, starts every chapter with a compelling situation. He usually begins with some high-stakes operation where Chris is front and center. Sometimes balancing life and death, he manages to outline the negotiation skills through a unique lens and knows how to keep the reader engaged and interested. So many great tactics and skills here that it's hard to pick a favorite one. Either way, you need to read this book to know how to up your game on negotiations.


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6. The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith

When I traveled to Bali in 2019, I wanted to think about the meaning of my life. I wanted to know how to make the most out of my time left on this earth. While I'm still very much in the process of discovering precisely that, this book has made me start shifting the stories I tell myself about myself.


One of the central ideas of this book is that we give ourselves meaning through four different channels: belonging, purpose, transcendence, and storytelling. One of the most important things you do every day is tell yourself a story about what something means. We all tell ourselves stories every day, and we can change these stories if we want to. This shift in the way you perceive your life is where all the magic happens.


If you want a sneak peek at the book's content and hear from the author directly, she also has a fantastic TEDx talk that I like to watch if I need quick reminders about these facets of meaning.


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7. The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time by Allen Gannett

I read this book years ago, but I give it a re-read now and then because it's just that good! There are many great insights in this book, but perhaps my favorite takeaway is how great ideas take off because they have the perfect blend of familiar and novel. It sounds like a paradox, but this is part of the X factor for why certain things take off.


As humans, we love novel experiences, but we require juuuust the right blend of familiarity for mass adoption of any exciting new product or concept.


Allen Gannett is one of those people that you just need to follow if you're a creative of any kind. He puts out great content on LinkedIn if you're on there!


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8. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

Radical Candor is all about being direct and honest, with the intention to motivate and inspire your employees to reach their highest potential. Kim Scott explains in detail why it's essential and how you can make tough decisions in a way that doesn't break your team or your spirit.


From time to time, you will have to give people negative feedback. Sometimes you'll even have to fire those that don't fit your team dynamic. However, when you can show your team that you genuinely care about their well-being, career development, and contributions to the larger picture, people feel respected, valued, and appreciated. People that feel valued will move mountains for you; they will rise to the occasion and forth their best effort. Knowing how to lead with radical candor is critical to securing and retaining the best talent and, ultimately, long-term success!


books for entrepreneurs to read this year

9. High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

Another one of my favorites, Brendon Burchard, has a fantastic book and podcast. A lot of intentionality goes into becoming a high performer, and Brendon goes through everything that makes a BIG difference in how you progress in your career and life in general. There are six key components: clarity, energy, necessity, productivity, influence, and courage. The way he pieces these habits together and explains them through examples is incredibly helpful.


There's also an online quiz that he takes you to that helps you understand where you sit in this spectrum!


We'd love to know the books you're currently reading or are planning to read in 2022. Are we missing any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!


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