Top Ten Self Help Books for Entrepreneurs


Being a successful entrepreneur is both an art and a science, requiring a lot of talent, skill, luck, and knowledge to make it in the big world of business.

While there is no clear-cut formula for success as an entrepreneur, a good way to gain some insight and inspiration is to take it from the many business gurus that have made the effort to distill some of the guiding principles at hand.

1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

This landmark book comes in at the top of many entrepreneurs’ lists of must-read material, and for good reason. A businessman, teacher, public speaker, and author, Covey became famous and respected around the world for the indispensable business advice contained in this and other books.

In The Seven Habits, he outlines seven holistic principles centering on themes of independence, interdependence, and continuous improvement, that he sees as fundamental to achieving one’s goals in business as well as life itself. With over fifteen million copies sold, Covey’s central message – that a paradigm shift is necessary to activate these principles in one’s life – has hit home with a great number of people worldwide.

2. Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson

Richard Branson is one of the world’s most successful and well-known entrepreneurs, having spent twenty-five years creating and growing highly popular brands in a number of different market sectors, from airlines to record labels.

virgin airlines

In this autobiography of his business life, Branson details the strategies and personal principles that took him from being a business ‘Virgin’ to one of the wealthiest men on the planet. Perhaps the most inspiring part of his story is that he found success within markets in which there existed stiff competition from the start, and encourages others to do the same.

3. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

Another account of one of the great entrepreneurs of our time (albeit not written in his own words), this biography of Steve Jobs is an inspiration to any budding businessperson looking to attain his level of success.

Meticulously written by Isaacson, a former executive at both CNN and Time, and based on hundreds of interviews with Jobs himself as well as those around him, the book describes the way in which Jobs’ intense personality and inventive imagination combined to ensure his great success – and provides an instructive message on how others can use the same abilities to their advantage.

4. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Another self-help book on top of many entrepreneurs’ lists, and in fact the bestselling success book of all time (with over seventy million copies sold since its publication in 1937), Think and Grow Rich asks the question: what makes a winner?

Hill was one of the earliest writers of the ‘self-help’ genre, and drew on philosophies both old and new, as well as some of the millionaires of his generation such as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, to answer this question. His ‘Law of Success’ is an enduring principle that continues to provide an answer to this question even today.

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Carnegie was another writer of the 1930s who contributed a lot to the development of the self-improvement genre, and whose work and philosophies continue to inspire and inform similar works today.

This, his first book, focuses on the essential role of communication and relationship-building on the road to success, in business as in life. Carnegie believed that the most important message of his book lay in the value of making people feel appreciated and important rather than aiming to manipulate them.

6. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t – Jim Collins

Jim Collins is one of the foremost experts on businesses and how to grow them, and put more than a decade of research into answering the question posed by the title of this, his most successful book.

For entrepreneurs who are just starting out in the business world, it provides valuable insight into the big-thinking world of big business, and contains a useful message on how to change your mindset to think in this way from the start.

steve jobs quote

7. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki’s personal history plays a large role in the formation of a business philosophy that draws influences from his two fathers, each of whom came from very different socioeconomic backgrounds.

In this fascinating book on finance, he addresses many myths surrounding wealth, while also emphasising the importance of passing on this kind of knowledge to your children in order to ensure their success as well. Perhaps the most intriguing message he conveys is that it’s not essential to have a high income in order to become wealthy.

8. Awaken the Giant Within – Anthony Robbins

Robbins is well known as a charismatic motivational speaker and a leader in the field of personal improvement, and this book contains a great deal of his most effective strategies for mastering your own life and business, as well as step-by-step techniques for doing so. The core of his philosophy lies in the idea that mastering the self is a necessary first step along this pathway.

9. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen

An experienced management consultant and corporate coach, Allen brings his understanding of the often stressful world of business to bear in this extremely practical book. In it, he outlines various techniques, such as delegation, planning, and management of emotions that help to clear then mind and reduce stress. His central message boils down to a simple concept: that we are more productive when relaxed.

10. The Magic of Thinking Big – David J. Schwartz

One of the world’s foremost experts on motivation, Dr Schwartz is well renowned for his practical philosophies on life and business, many of which are contained in this book. In it, he focuses on the central message that mindset, rather than talent or intellect, is the most important factor in achieving success. The book aims to help readers understand the habits of thought and behaviour that can help to promote this way of thinking.

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