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30 Life-Transforming Books Every Entrepreneur/ Business Owner Should Read


The list of books below is a reading list for any entrepreneur or business owner who feels there is still much to be known about the risky adventure entrepreneurs are destined to go through. Once you have chosen this life, your awareness of the tools, skills and information you need might boggle you sometimes. ConnectNigeria has compiled a list of 30 life-transforming books we believe every entrepreneur should read.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Steven R. Covey.

Short Description:

If you have not read this book, we will try our best to contain our reflex surprise. A book every entrepreneur should read to learn how to be effective; it is also one of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written. It has captivated its readers for 25 years and has transformed the lives of presidents, CEOs, educators and parents — in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations. This is not the type of book to skim. Study it. When you are done with the book, we are sure you will have ‘post it notes’ on your wall and you’ll feel like you have just attended a powerful seminar by Covey.


2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Short Description:

This is a motivational personal development and self-help book. Although the title might suggest the idea of tips on getting rich, but the philosophy taught in the book can be used beyond that to help you succeed in all lines of work and to do and be almost anything you want to be. A classic. The examples Hill made in his book are as relevant today as they were in the early twentieth century.


3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Short Description:

This is a self help book for all time. Everyone should read it. It has become, in our opinion, a more relevant book for these global times for entrepreneurs. It is a no-nonsense guide to being a better person. Its timeless prescriptions are practical and easy to understand.


4. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Short Description:

The book provides financial advice through a collection of parables. What can a book written in the 1920s tell modern investors about their finances? A whole lot. The author uses a delightful set of parables to explain the basics of money – parables that are still very relevant in modern times. This is a great gift for a graduate or anyone who seems baffled by the world of finance. It is also a wonderful and refreshing read for even the most experienced investor.


5. The Parable of the Dollars by Sam Adeyemi

Short Description:

This book is intended on one hand to be a reminder of things you have learned on finances from the Bible, and on the other, to motivate you to take practical steps towards wealth creation. It goes a little beyond conventional teachings on giving to explore.


6. Understanding Financial Prosperity by David Oyedepo

Short Description:

Many people couch in poverty wishing they were lucky enough to prosper or connected enough to make it, but Dr Oyedepo asserts in this authoritative volume that, “Prosperity is not luck, it’s not connection; it’s not fortune! There is nothing called luck or fortune in the kingdom. Light is what makes the difference between the winning Christian and the losing one; between the poor Christian and the wealthy one. The difference is light; otherwise, we have a common destiny.”


7. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Short Description:

You might ask why we are taking you back in time with this book but we believe it might help if we understand what must have helped nations back in time to build wealth. Adam Smith was a Scottish economist and moral philosopher who reflected in his book, ‘The Wealth of Nations’ over the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. The book touches upon some other broad topics that might be of some interest such as the division of labor, on productivity and free markets.


8. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Reis

Short Description:

The Lean Startup is about a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, this book offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before its too late. Reis provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.


9.The Four Masteries by Leke Alder

Short Description: This book is a small book of great wisdom. It is a book containing four life principles that is to be read within a four day period. It was written considering the bedside notes of the late Harry Eastman, a successful businessman and philanthropist. Mr. Alder writes of this book: “In four days, your life will change, just like the lives of thousands who have read this book!”



10. Brandit by Leke Alder

Short Description: Leke Alder takes us back in time to our own history and our own story in his book, Brandit, teaching his readers how to brand their company and steal market share. In his words, he said of his book, “Historically therefore, branding would seem to be an expression of compact, or covenant, or social contract. A contract presupposes an exchange of promises between two parties.  The modern day concept of brand promises is not a pole vault away from this historical root.”


11. The Great Alchemy by Leke Alder

Short Description:

This book is a business innovation book on how to convert problems into business. What we all have are a surplus pool of ideas and problems to solve. Alder puts it this way, “Every subject matter is either a need or a solution”. He therefore enjoins us to look around us and inside us to find opportunities we need to solve the problems we see.


12. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to do about it by Micheal E. Gerber.

Short Description:

This book looks at the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read it, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way. The point of the book is this: “Your business is not your life”. Business owners tend to think working 16 hours a day is some kind of heroic effort. There’s nothing glamorous about working in your business until you fall over. How, then, does the author propose to solve this problem? The key according to the author is to make your business into a system like McDonald’s that anyone can run.


13. Outliers – The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.

Short Description:

This stunning new book takes its reader on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. The question that keeps popping up as you read is this: “What makes high-achievers different?” brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously entertain and illuminate.


14. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach their Kids That The Poor and Middle Class Don’t by Richard Kiyosaki

Short Description: Termed as the #1 personal finance book of all time, the book explores the myth that you need to earn a n income that will make you rich, and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.


15. The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur: The tell-it-like-it-is guide to cleaning up in business, even if you are at the end of your roll by Mike Michalowicz

Short Description:

Apart from it being a highly entertaining book that teaches you entrepreneurial truths after it has disarmed all your defenses while you laugh, it gives rock solid advice straight from its trenches. This book will change the way you look at everything about business. The author did a great job of making the complex – simple to understand.



16. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Short Description:

Don’t be put off by its number of pages. We believe it is worth reading as it is based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred of his family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues. The story Walter Isaacson has written is a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.



17. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell

Short Description:

This book is a fascinating study of human behavior patterns, and shows us how the smallest things can trigger an epidemic of change. Though loaded with statistics, the numbers are presented in a way that makes the book read like an exciting novel. There are several examples in history which the author presented in the book where one small change in behavior created a bigger change on a national level. If you want to change the world for the better, this book will give you an insight into the methods that work, and those that will backfire. It is all in knowing where to find “The Tipping Point”.


18. The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki

Short Description:

In this book, Guy Kawasaki brings two decades of experience as one of business’s most original and irreverent strategists to offer the essential guide for anyone starting anything, from a multinational corporation to a church group. From raising money to hiring the right people, from defining your positioning to creating a brand, from creating buzz to buzzing the competition, from managing a board to fostering a community, this book will guide you through an adventure that is the art of the start.


19. The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker

Short Description: Peter F. Drucker, in this book, reminds us that the measure of the Executive is their ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.



20. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Short Description: A classic book on persuasion, it explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. You will learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. This book is perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.



21. Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson

Short Description: With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, it is the perfect playbook for anyone who has ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Real entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate and artists who want to show the world their talents will find valuable guidance in its pages.


22. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Short Description:

The book tells us that making the transition from good to great does not only require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy but that at the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great companies, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider.



23. The Go-Giver: A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg

Short Description:

This book presents its ideas in the guise of a story. Some of its reviewers have pointed out that the basic premise of the book is to use one’s network of contacts to give rather than get, providing more value than customers expect. More than that, it is a metaphysical romp that shows what happens when we let go of fear and control and find ourselves in a place we never expected to be with no immediate way out. It shows the law of attraction at work, and how our vibrations can and do rise not only when we are doing what we love but when we stop pushing and prodding life to be as we demand it to be.



24. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen

Short Description:

This book shares breakthrough methods for stress-free performance the author has introduced to tens of thousands of people across the country. Allen’s premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our creative potential.



25. Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action by John Spence

Short Description: The book takes a hard look at businesses to evaluate how it is succeeding in the six most critical areas for lasting success. Businesses must have a) Vivid Vision it runs with. b) Best People in house c) a Performance-Oriented Culture d) Robust Communication e) A Sense of Urgency and f) Extreme Customer Focus. The book examines each principle to readily understandable action items, offering countless tools, strategies, and measurements of success to make these concepts both come alive and be put into practice.


26. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Management of Innovation and Change) by Clayton Christensen

Short Description:

The book explains why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. It states that no matter the industry, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know how and when to abandon traditional business practices. Offering both successes and failures from leading companies as a guide, the book gives you a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.


27. Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love by Jonathan Fields

Short Description:

This books shows the reader how to discover the seven career renegade paths to prosperity, use technology to turn a seemingly moneyless passion into a goldmine, quickly test and tune your idea for free, from the comfort of your couch, establish yourself as an authority in a new field with little or no investment, cultivate the mission-driven, action-oriented career renegade mindset and rally others to your cause by convincing them.


28. Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success by Kevin Frieberg

Short Description:

This book reveals the ingredients that have made Southwest Airlines a consistent successful story. A potential entrepreneur or an already established entrepreneur looking at the airline sector might want to pick up this book to understand what has made Southwest Airlines a consistently successful story. This is an airline that has defied industry norms of either red ink on the bottom line or very low profit margins of 1-4 percent. The airline invented its own business model, avoiding the usual management fads such as business process re-engineering, total quality management, change management and balanced business scorecard among others.


29. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Short Description:

This is a candid and indispensable primer on all aspects of advertising from the author TIME magazine has called “the most sought after wizard in the business” of advertising.


30. Rich Dad’s Retire Young Retire Rich: How to Get Rich Quickly and Stay Rich Forever by Richard Kiyosaki

Short Description: This book focuses on the power of debt leveraging in order to work less and earn more. Beginning with the principle of changing attitudes about financial freedom, the author explains the difference between earned income and passive or investment income, managing good debt that makes money for you, such as in real estate and the need to create a long-term financial freedom plan and the emotional discipline to stick to it. The solid, practical insight into how to put together a plan to financial freedom will require a commitment to changing lifestyles and personal attitudes about work and, of course, enough time left in life to allow the investments to succeed.


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