Want to Ace Your Entrepreneurship Goals? Read These 5 Books.

Want to Ace Your Entrepreneurship Goals? Read These 5 Books.
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Peep into the most brilliant minds  of all time and nurture your business acumen with these life-changing books.

Growing a business from scratch is no mean feat.

You walk alone on uncharted territory, without anyone to show you the way.

In that sense, books can be your best friends. You can learn from the most brilliant minds of all time and gain insights that are only taught by hard experience.

In this post, I have curated the five books that helped polish my business skills and gave me a taste of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. They have taught me a lot, and I share them with you in the hope that you’ll find them life-changing.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson

Image: Goodreads

What the book is about

Businesses are supposed to be money-making machines. Isn't that the whole point of running a business?

Not quite, according to serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Richard Branson.

Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, considers solely profit-making an outdated approach to running a business.

Instead, he views business in a unique context.

He demonstrates that the planet and its people need you. If you’re winning at business by exploiting precious resources, emitting tons of waste, and endangering people’s health, you need to redefine winning. Your business must collectively uplift people, safeguard the planet and make profits.

That’s called doing business right.

Here’s why this book is effective

What remarkably stood out for me in this book is Branson walks the talk. When he asks businesses to have a social bent, he does it first. His enterprise Virgin Group, which has multiple business spokes, has done groundbreaking service work. From sustainable housekeeping practices to charity — this man has touched lives in umpteen ways.

I also learned how his airline, Virgin Atlantic, was the first to introduce non-smoking flights. This move shows how innovation and sustainability can be in sync.

Lastly, he doesn’t give empty business advice. Instead, he packages them with influential case studies. It’s astounding how he’s embedded theory and practicality in his book.

If you want to dive deep into a business tycoon’s thought process and catch a glimpse into this phenomenal man’s extravagant lifestyle — you’ve found your next must-read.

My favorite quotes from Screw Business As Usual by Richard Branson

“It is time to turn capitalism upside down — to shift our values, to switch from a profit focus to caring for people, communities and the planet.”
“For those who think business exists to make a profit, I suggest they think again. Business makes a profit to exist. Surely it must exist for some higher, nobler purpose than that.”

Buy a copy of this book here.

2. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

Image: Goodreads

What the book is about

Will AI outsmart humans and take over their jobs?

We are increasingly interacting with machines. Will it influence human behavior?

AI pushes more deepfakes — won’t it endanger the privacy of ethical users?

These are the most obvious questions the mystical yet practical field of AI poses.

But how and where do you get uncomplicated answers to these questions?

Reading Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark is the most straightforward way to uncover these answers — even more if you’ve only dipped your toes in this mind-boggling parallel universe.

Here’s why this book is effective

Tegmark is the one person who should be authoritatively speaking about AI by all means. He is an MIT physicist alongside one of the founding members of the Future of Life Institute. He spends hours researching the threat to human existence from multiple sources.

In Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Tegmark deep dives into what happens when humans are no longer the most intelligent species parading this planet. He talks at length and breath about our future partner — Artificial intelligence.

The book has the most thought-provoking insights into AI’s present, future, and distant future possibilities.

If you want to voice your opinion on the most critical discussions of today, this book is your most loyal companion.

I felt some parts of the book were infused with dramatic future speculations. But it’ll remain my go-to choice to understand the world of AI.

My favorite quotes from Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

“If we don’t know what we want we’re less likely to get it.”
“We invented fire, repeatedly messed up, and then invented the fire extinguisher, fire exit, fire alarm and fire department.”

Buy a copy of this book here.

3. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Image: Goodreads

What the book is about

How do I manage the cash flow in my 6-month-old startup?

Do I do it all alone or start recruiting a team?

Should I start my company solo or look for co-founders?

You’re bound to have these dilemmas if you’re a startup owner.

But where do you find experience-backed answers to your pressing questions?

Be sure to find them in Zero to One by Peter Thiel.

Thiel, the co-founder of Paypal, was invited as a guest lecturer to Standford University. He was teaching CS138 Startups — a course on the A-Z of startups.

This outstanding book became a compilation of his phenomenal course teachings.

Truth be told, this isn’t a book. It’s an almanac for startups. It’ll make you forget everything you’re taught about marketing, selling and monopoly. But it’ll instill a fresher perspective on building a sustainable, resilient startup.

Here’s why this book is effective

Thiel shares a unique perspective on how the next Mark Zuckerberg will not build a social network. The next Bill Gates will not create yet another operating system.

Through his business insights, he pleads you to stop copying them. Because that’s not going to take you too far in life, but he’ll inspire you to learn from these legends and build something fresh. Create something the world hasn’t seen yet.

Another idea that stayed with me was how being a first mover has no advantage — if another company takes away all your customers. He instead insists you be the last mover.

Look at the situation like this:

You make a late entry into the market — but — you dominate. Your customers display unwavering loyalty. They love your product/service. With that, your business revenue compounds for many years.

Isn’t that an incredible way of running a business?

If you’ve been tinkering with the idea of startups or are purely intrigued by how the startup ecosystem works — — you have to devour this book.

Be ready to come across some strange, head-shaking concepts. In many instances, Thiel’s ideas will make you scream, “How can this man think like this?”

My favorite quotes from Zero to One

“Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.”
“All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.”

Buy a copy of this book here.

4. Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

Image: Goodreads

What the book is about

The world lay at Howard Hughes’ feet when he was only 18. But he had to grow up fast. After all, he became a millionaire and inherited his father’s flourishing company, Hughes Tool Company, at such a young age.

But this gain happened at a tragic cost. Hughes lost his parents.

How was he to run this company and also grieve the loss of his parents?

Would the family business thrive or scramble into pieces?

Reading Howard Hughes’s biographical account is like witnessing the rise and fall of the most brilliant yet eccentric business tycoon the world ever saw. This book is a sad diary of his flawed life and business decisions.

Here’s why this book is effective

Unfortunately, there are barely any business or life lessons you’ll derive from this book. But what you’ll surely learn is how not to run a business.

Howard Hughes embarked on his entrepreneurial journey with his father’s oil drill technology company. His intense love for glamour turned him into a Hollywood movie producer. At the same time, his passion for aeronautics propelled him to manufacture aircraft. He later diversified into multiple businesses.

While he had an unquenchable thirst for hard work and success, they got the better of him. So much so that he went from a revered public figure to a pitiable recluse.

My favorite quotes from Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

“Passion will make you crazy, but is there any other way to live?”
“Do the impossible, because almost everyone has told me my ideas are merely fantasies.”

Buy a copy of this book here.

5. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Image: Goodreads

What the book is about

Benjamin Franklin was the only person to have signed the Declaration of Independence, the Peace Accord with England, and the Treaty with France.

He must be a man of politics, you conclude.

Yes, it’s true, but that’s not all he was. He donned many hats — that of an exceptional writer, business strategist, scientist, inventor, and diplomat.

From a humble printer to one of America’s founding fathers, Franklin has lived many lives in a single lifetime.

Here’s why this book is effective

The most astonishing part of Franklin’s life?

He took his first apprenticeship when he was only 10. His life is a testament to how you’re already far ahead when you start early.

I discovered how invention was Frankin’s effortless second nature. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals and also the Franklin stove. But what’s remarkable is he constantly reinvented himself. He was his biggest competition.

Feeding his questioning spirit, staying curious, taking pride in his middle-class values, and showcasing a relentless drive to serve his country — this man was all things a true leader should be.

But his life wasn’t all sunshine.

He missed his children’s wedding and stayed absent at the death of his wife. He embraced sociality but discounted emotional intimacy.

But isn’t that how all human beings are — partly flawed and partly marvelous?

If you’re looking for a powerful zest to feel inspired and make the most of your life, you must pick this book.

My favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

“Knowledge, he realized, “was obtained rather by the use of the ear than of the tongue.”
“There was never a good knife, made of bad steel.”

Buy a copy of this book here.

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