30 Must Read Books for Entrepreneurs in 2021

Last year I shared a list of 20 books to read in 2020. It was well received and many people wrote back to me how they continued working on the list and read many titles out of the list. Well, this year I am sharing with you the new titles for your reading wishlist 2021.

As books are timeless, I have decided to keep the 20 from my last year post and add additional 10.

Here you go:

  1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
    Amazon Link

Zero To One teaches you the way Peter Thiel thinks, how he approaches to drive his business, how you can build your own startup’s future, and how you can give a shape to the industry. Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places. After reading this book, I understood founders need a vision that helps them to take their business from “zero to one.”

2. The Lean Startup: Eric Ries
Amazon Link

In 2011, Eric Ries published his book “The Lean Startup” to guide entrepreneurs about methods that can entrepreneurs to develop and manage their startups. He believes, standard or specific business practices are not the ultimate solution for startups. Entrepreneurs can set their policies and strategies according to the business need; they will not make it without method or conscious decision. You should read this book to understand how today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses.

3. The Greatest Salesman in the World
Amazon Link

What you are today is not important, for in this runaway bestseller you will learn how to change your life by applying the secrets you are about to discover in the ancient scrolls. The Greatest Salesman in the World is a book that serves as a guide to a philosophy of salesmanship, and success, telling the story of Hafid, a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance.

4. The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank
Amazon Link

This book is an out-and-out reference guide for entrepreneurs who want to start a company. Steve Blank and Bob Dorf wrote this book to give businesses the right direction. As we all know that during initial days startups face many challenges and difficulties, keeping this in mind, The Startup Owner’s Manual delivers a step-by-step guide to build a great company. This book follows the theory of customer development, agile, and lean engineering.

Related Read- How To Be An Entrepreneur In 2021

5. ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by Jason Fried
Amazon Link

No, all business books do not give you the same old advice. Rework indicates a faster, better, more natural way to achieve success. Read it, and you will know why pre-plans are harmful to your business. It also shows why you do not require outside investors, and why you should ignore the competition. The truth is that you do not need to be a workaholic to be successful. Believe in your actions, not your plans.

6. Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg
Amazon Link

In the words of Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup — ‘Anyone trying to break through to new customers can use this smart, ambitious book’.

Traction will teach you the nineteen channels you can use to build a customer base and offers a three-step framework to figure out which ones will work best for your business. No matter how you apply them, the lessons and examples in Traction will help you create and sustain the growth your business desperately needs.

7. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t by Nate Silver
Amazon Link

In The Signal and the Noise, the New York Times political forecaster Nate Silver, who accurately predicted the results of every state in the 2012 US election, reveals how we can all develop better foresight in an uncertain world. From the stock market to the poker table, from earthquakes to the economy, he takes us on an enthralling insider’s tour of the high-stakes world of forecasting, showing how we can all learn to detect the true signals amid the noise of data.

8. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
Amazon Link

The Hard Thing About Hard Things has been the most recommended book for startups today. Most business books focus on how to do things correctly, whilst Ben acknowledges upfront that there is no such thing as a perfect business and however much planning you make, screw-ups will inevitably happen. He addresses all the major screw-ups that have occurred during his time leading billion $ corporations and how his team made decisions to turn things around and to avoid screwing things up further.

9. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
Amazon Link

Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business — and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.

10. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston
Amazon Link

Jessica Livingston, author of the Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days, gathers a collection of unique interviews from some of the founders of great startup enterprises such as PayPal, TiVo, Yahoo, and TripAdvisor. The book focuses on the importance of having a talented team, investment, and listening to your customers.

11. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson
Amazon Link

An evergreen book, Losing My Virginity, gives a mirror to Branson describing the many life events that shaped his character — his naivety, his sense of adventure and steely resolve — and led him to revolutionize the music and airline industries. Overall an awe-inspiring journey of a self-made man.

12. The Thank You Economy: Gary Vaynerchuk by Gary Vaynerchuk
Amazon Link

The ThankYou economy tells about how one-on-one customer care and relationships have returned to business, thanks to social media, and why companies will lose a lot of money if they don’t engage with their customers and fans on this two-way street. The book talks about how customer courtesy went from essential, to useless, back to super important. It also packs useful lessons on social media and managing your brand.

13. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
Amazon Link

I think the best sentence to summarize the essence of this book is a line by Seth Godin himself:

“The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.” The book teaches you all about it.

14. Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age by Paul Graham
Amazon Link

An entrepreneur’s classic, Hackers, and Painters by Paul Graham paints a prototype of how tech entrepreneurs can become successful. It also teaches you about the history of the tech industry so as to plan the future in the tech industry.

15. The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs
Amazon Link

To achieve unimaginable business success and financial wealth — to reach the upper echelons of entrepreneurs, where you’ll find Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sara Blakely of Spanx, Mark Pincus of Zynga, Kevin Plank of Under Armour, and many others — you have to change the way you think. In other words, you must develop the Entrepreneur Mind, a way of thinking that comes from learning the vital lessons of the best entrepreneurs.

Related Read- 20 Habits To Take Up As An Entrepreneur In 2021

16. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen
Amazon Link

The Innovator’s Dilemma is a business classic that explains the power of disruption, why market leaders are often set up to fail as technologies and industries change, and what incumbents can do to secure their market leadership for a long time.

17. The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Battelle
Amazon Link

This ambitious book comes with a strong pedigree. This book is your key to understanding search from a business perspective — past, present, and probably well into the future. Battelle draws on more than 350 interviews with major players from Silicon Valley to Seattle to Wall Street, including Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt, as well as competitors like Louis Monier. For anyone who wants to understand how Google really succeeded — and the implications of a world in which every click can be preserved forever — THE SEARCH is an eye-opening and indispensable read. Ofcourse it motivates you to the core as well.

18. Think With Full Brain: Strengthen Logical Analysis, Invite Breakthrough Ideas, Level-up Interpersonal Intelligence, and Unleash Your Brain’s Full Potential
Amazon Link

Think with full brain is all about how to harness the full potential of your brain by developing multiple thinking approaches. The book offers a holistic approach to empower you to unleash your left brain’s logical, organized thinking as well as your right brain’s emotional, and creative thinking preference. This is your guide to avoid thinking in silos and develop a full brain thinking approach to take your decision making and problem-solving skills to the next level.

19. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Amazon Link

Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers” — the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

“His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way, he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.”

20. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Amazon link

This book enables you to be friendlier and seem a positive person to others; it helps you become a famous person who is liked by the majority, and in business terms, it enables you to win new clients. It increases your earning power by helping you use your potential to the fullest, and it helps you to become a better public speaker and to be liked by the mass audience. Written by Dale Carnegie and published in 1936, it has sold over 30 million copies. It was on Time magazine’s 100 most influential books list in 2011. This book is a guide in improving a person’s aura in the world. It is about changing how the world views and treats you by changing your own behavior- Must have skills for any entrepreneur.

21 The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge
Amazon Link

This was one of my favorite reads in 2020. Mark was VP and employee number 3 at Hubspot. He shares great insights into how they built their sales team sharing recipes for hiring, training, and execution. Must read for sales leaders. The Sales Acceleration Formula provides a scalable, predictable approach to growing revenue and building a winning sales team.

22. The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson
Amazon Link

Based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions. Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer’s specific needs and objectives.

23. Fanatical prospecting by Jeb Blount
Amazon Link

Step by step, Jeb Blount outlines his innovative approach to prospecting that works for real people, in the real world, with real prospects. Learn how to keep the pipeline full of qualified opportunities and avoid debilitating sales slumps by leveraging a balanced prospecting methodology across multiple prospecting channels.

Fanatical Prospecting is filled with the high-powered strategies, techniques, and tools you need to fill your pipeline with high-quality opportunities.

24. The Sales Development Playbook
Amazon Link

This book encapsulates author Trish Bertuzzi’s three decades of practical, hands-on experience. It presents six elements for building a new pipeline and accelerating revenue growth with inside sales. There’s a lot to learn about quota setting, measuhe book has different parts covering strategy framework for aligning your sales development model with your specific market and buyer’s journey, segmenting, recruiting, retention and execution.

25. What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence
Amazon Link

The book takes the reader on the journey of Stephen Schwarzman from college, his days at Lehman Brothers to the formation of Blackstone, the financial crisis, and his philanthropic work outside of Blackstone. For those that do not know, Stephen is one of the best private equity investors of all time. Through this journey, you learn many lessons that Stephen Schwarzman faced at different points of his life.

26. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
Amazon Link

Just as the most effective weight loss strategy is to limit portions by using smaller plates, Michalowicz shows that by taking profit first and apportioning only what remains for expenses, entrepreneurs will transform their businesses from cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows. Using Michalowicz’s Profit First system, readers will learn 4 simple principles that can simplify accounting and make it easier to manage a profitable business by looking at bank account balances.

27.Atomic Habits by James Clear
Amazon Link

Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving — every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

The book will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits — whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress or achieve any other goal.

28.Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
Amazon Link

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

29. Extreme Ownership by Jacko Willink et.al
Amazon Link

Extreme Ownership has revolutionized leadership development and set a new standard for literature on the subject. Required listening for many of the most successful organizations, has become an integral part of the official leadership training programs for scores of business teams, military units, and first responders. Detailing the mindset and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult combat missions, Extreme Ownership demonstrates how to apply them to any team or organization, in any leadership environment. A compelling narrative with powerful instruction and direct application, Extreme Ownership challenges leaders everywhere to fulfill their ultimate purpose: lead and win.

30. Contagious by Jonah Berger
Amazon Link

Contagious provides specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread — for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.

Yes, there are many more to recommend, but these were the ones that I had my hands on in 2020.

Let me know in the comments when you read one of these and how you find it. Also, share the names of any books that I may have missed. You can contact me at ayush@mindbowser.com.

Ayush Jain

Ayush is the CEO of Mindbowser Global Inc, a top-notch agency providing software development services to renowned companies like Dell, Pepsi as well as to a lot of growing startups. Ayush is also the director of the StartupGrind community and editor of The IoT Magazine and Chatbots Journal. Ayush serves on the board of several startups and is a seed investor. Click here to read more blogs.

Sculpting ideas and turning them into reality, CEO and Founder of Mindbowser, Chapter Director of StartupGrind Pune

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store