The 5 Must Read Books for an Aspiring Entrepreneur

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In Mark Cuban’s autobiography, he talked about getting started out and reading voraciously anything and everything related to his field, business, marketing, etc. He used to read software manuals cover to cover. Drew Houston of Dropbox used to spend every weekend, reading all day long “Every weekend, I would take this folding chair up to the roof with all these books I got on Amazon. I would just sit there and read all of them. I would spend the whole weekend just reading, reading, reading.” 

Nothing prepares you for entrepreneurship like reading everything you can get your hands on. Here are some good places to start.

Richard Branson: Like a Virgin

Richard Branson’s autobiography is a fascinating look at one of the most dynamic entrepreneurs of our time.

Peter Thiel: Zero to One

When you’re just getting started, it’s important to be and stay inspired. Few books will make you want to change the world and business like Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. Peter Thiel was one of the founders of PayPal and the first investor in Facebook. He’s knows a thing or two about business and ideas that change the world.

James Altrucher: Choose Yourself

James Altrucher has seen it all. He’ll recount often how he lost millions and his shirt on several occasions. And through it, he’s gain remarkable insight. Choose Yourself will change the way you think of business and yourself. Somehow it’s only $0.99 on Amazon. It’s a quick read, get it.

Mark Cuban: How to Win at the Sport of Business

Mark Cuban is loud, brash and unapologetic. He didn’t get lucky becoming a billionaire. Broadcast.com was his third successful business. That’s a habit. His autobiography breaks it down and shows his remarkable prescient about the growth of technology and exactly how hard he was willing to work to win.

Steve Chandler: Wealth Warrior

Wealth Warrior incorporates a huge amount on wisdom about business and personal development in very few pages. A brilliant read. Steve Chandler’s focus on oneself and your motives, refocuses the whole narrative on entrepreneurship.

What are your must read books for a new or aspiring entrepreneur?

The Number 1 Rule for Entrepreneurship

A few years ago, I interviewed at Google. The interview process was lengthy and had a very corporate feel. I interviewed with everyone on the team, typical corporate stuff. Then the divisions heads came in and asked the hard questions.

A fews year prior, I had tried my stint at Wantrepreneurship. A friend and I had written a business plan, drafted a product document, and started pitching a business. There’s a huge difference from pitching a business and running a business. I think one of us even called ourselves CEO. At the Google interview, someone asked me what my greatest lesson from running a business was. I stumbled a bit and gave a half hearted answer because I didn’t have a good answer. I hadn’t run a real business.

What I know now from running my own business for three years is: the most important lesson is to get up every day, push aside all the distractions, and move the goddamn business forward, every single day. Do something, make a call, send an email, make a connection, send a pitch, follow up with prospects that guarantees you’ll be in business in a day, a month, a year. How do you know what to do? Tim Ferriss’ approach is to do the three things you most don’t want to do, first thing in the AM before doing anything else. Those tend to be some of the most important tasks. Everything else is secondary. Do it whichever way you can. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to happen at 9 AM, you don’t have to play any politics and the best part is you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission. Just get it done.

You’ll find someone to take care of the accounting, the website is good enough for now, you can blog when you’ve closed more deals this month, put aside the potential pretty sounding business partnership, stop tweaking the business model and pitch deck and get some customers! You want to impress investors, get someone to pay for what services or platform you provide. Lose track of this rule, and you will get swamped in the incidentals that you might confuse as essentials. Do it enough days in a row, and you’ll be risking the business.

As Mark Cuban says, “Sales solves all problems.” Get out and sell like your life (or business) depends on it. It does. If you take that attitude, you’ll find a way to drive in revenue. If you’re not careful, busy work and distractions  will suck up your life and destroy your business. If you don’t run a business, taking this approach will help drive your career forward as well.