The Best Books to Read before Starting a Business

The Best Books to Read before Starting a Business

Our top five picks to see you through all your business needs.

Launching a startup is no easy feat, as any startup founder would testify. It involves rigorous planning, budgeting, working late hours and, occasionally, crying in a corner and rethinking all your decisions. A crucial element to launching a successful startup is knowing the ins and outs of the business world. Knowledge, indeed, is power. Given that, we have rounded up five books to help you navigate your business journey:

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Titled “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses”, the book, by author Eric Ries, made it to the New York Times best seller list in 2011. As the title suggests, the book is about helping startup founders establish a lasting business. How well do you know your customers? How can you find out if your business idea really works? How to build a startup in an uncertain environment? The book answers all your questions.

Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn

The biggest question most startups grapple with is: will our idea be profitable? That’s what this book—“Will It Fly?: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money”—helps you find out. Using real-world examples and practical steps, author and Founder of Smart Passive Income, an education and training company, Pat Flynn teaches you how to test a business idea to know if it will work and prepare your business for launch. 

The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur by Jim Horan and Tom Peters

A business plan is indispensable to any business. It encapsulates your startup’s vision, mission, goals and the steps to achieve that goal. It can be a tiresome task to create a plan. Author and Entrepreneur Jim Horan gets that. That’s why he came up with this hands-on guide, replete with interactive exercises, to create a single-page business plan. Within just 100 pages, he takes you through the process of defining your vision, mission, objectives, strategies and plans. In the end, you achieve a blueprint that you can mold and modify as your company grows. 

The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman

The book “The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup” echoes the adage, “better safe than sorry”. Author and Professor Noam Wasserman analyzes the early decisions that startup founders are required to make—should you bring in a co-founder? Should you involve relatives and friends? When should you fire an employee?—and offers solutions. As the title suggests, he also teaches you how to anticipate mistakes and errors, as well as working in advance to avoid them. Tapping on a decade of research, Wasserman equips you to deal with advanced business problems at the early stages itself.

The Four by Scott Galloway

An essential element of succeeding as a startup is learning from your peers, competitors and established companies. “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google” gives you the opportunity to take a leaf from the top companies today and get inspired from their journey to success. How have these companies grown to become indispensable in our everyday lives? What do they get wrong? How can you apply their strategies to your startup? The book delves into all these questions and more. 

Additionally, you can also read the autobiographies of successful business leaders, such as Steve Jobs, Indra Nooyi and more, to learn about how they navigated their business growth. When it comes to launching a startup, there is no such thing as too much knowledge. So, before you start your first business, read up!

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Alinda Gupta
I am a professional journalist and gourmand with an inexplicable love for caffeine. I admire old architecture and find comfort in fiction books. I am also an A1-level certified French speaker—bonne journée!


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