If you take some of the most successful entrepreneurs of our generation, they all have one thing in common; they’re all voracious readers. And what better way to learn about running a business, than from greatest minds in the business world! These 6 books listed below (in no particular order) will not only introduce you to the personal lives of these entrepreneurs, give you valuable advice and tips, but also talk about the many failures they had to overcome on their way to success.
Must-read biographies for entrepreneurs
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Authored by the ex-chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time magazine, this book is a biography of one of the Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, pieced together over 40 exclusive interviews a couple of years before the Jobs’ death. Isaacson also conducted several interviews with Jobs’ friends, family, colleagues and competitors to give a candid portrait of one of the brightest minds of our time complete with his quirks, idiosyncrasies and brilliance.
TL;DR – Don’t rub off people the wrong way unless you are one of the greatest innovators to have ever walked the Earth
- Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson
The autobiography of billionaire business tycoon, author, investor and founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson, offers a look into the business and the lives of Branson and his co-founders. The book takes you through his journey from starting a business at the age of 16 to founding Virgin Records and beyond all while sharing his philosophies about business and life in general, making for an entertaining and inspiring read.
TL;DR – An appetite for risk, some charisma and a whole lot of great ideas will definitely take you places
- Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion by Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank
This is the story of the meteoric rise of two entrepreneurs, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, and their brainchild, The Home Depot. They went from being fired from their jobs to founding a business with 761 stores and $30 billion in sales all in a span of 20 years. Built from Scratch is a testament to the dreams, the effort and the sheer will to succeed of the entrepreneurs who really stand out from the rest.
TL;DR – Grit and determination to follow through on your dreams is sometimes all you need to re-write your destiny
- Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future by Ashlee Vance
This book tells the story of the real-life Tony Stark, and the man behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Despite the many setbacks he has faced early on in life and his career, here is a man who rises up stronger with every fall. Ashlee Vance covers the multiple aspects of Musk’s life and career and his larger-than-life goals and dreams in this entertaining book.
TL;DR – You too can change the world, one invention at a time, by rising up every time you fall like the phoenix…or Tony Stark
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, Nell Scovell
Facebook COO and one of Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business, Sheryl Sandberg talks about the fundamental issues women face at work while drawing from her own experiences. This is a book where a leader not just lists out the problems women face, but also gives her two cents on what the solution could be and what has worked for her in her years in powerful positions. This international best-seller has and is sure to continue inspiring women in business today and for years to come.
TL;DR – Nobody is born a leader, it is the will to learn and improve that defines a successful leader
- CK Prahalad: The Mind of the Futurist – Rare Insights on Life, Leadership & Strategy by Benedict Paramanand
This books talks about the life and career of the management guru, CK Prahalad, and is much more than just a biography. It gives the reader insights into leadership, strategy and ground-breaking ideas that change our view of life and business. For those of you who are unaware of his work and theories, he is the mastermind behind the concept of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid and a book with the same title which makes for a great read. This concept revolutionised the way the business world worked by introducing a business model that brought together the best of both worlds; profitability and fighting poverty.
TL;DR – If you can’t change the way the world does business, change the world’s perception of it
While there are many more books like The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built, How Google Works, Satya Nadella’s much-anticipated book, Hit Refresh, and many more that are worth mentioning, we hope the biographies mentioned above will help you get started on your journey to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality! Because like our real-life Tony Stark, Elon Musk, once said,
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”