11 business books that will improve your ability as an entrepreneur

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants," Isaac Newton famously said.
Seeing farther than others hasn't hurt anyone, if anything, it has paid off nicely. Ask Henry Ford, Steve Jobs or Sim Shagaya. Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires consistent attention to your intellectual well-being. Reading is always a scalable way to keep the brain ticking in tune with the different times. Most importantly,  it enables you to step out and see the world through other people's eyes. We live vicariously through the authors and much of their experiences become ours. In this article, we will share 11 books you must read as an entrepreneur to stay ahead of the curve.

1. The hard thing about hard things - Ben Horowitz

Business School teaches a lot of business strategy, but even the best students still get smacked in the face by the harsh reality of entrepreneurship.
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Ben Horowitz, the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, draws on his own story of the founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies to offer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools don't cover. If this isn't the best book you'll ever read on entrepreneurship, it'll be close to the top.

2. The Psychology of selling - Brian Tracy

At the center of entrepreneurship is the entrepreneur's ability to sell dreams. "The most successful organisations in the world are all superb selling organisations. They recognise they have certain products, but they rise or fall depending on the quality of their sales efforts," writes Brian. This Brian Tracy's masterpiece teaches you how to make more sales, faster and easier than ever before.

3. Who moved my cheese? - Spencer Johnson

This book is an enlightening and amusing story that illustrates the vital importance of being able to deal with unexpected change. We have summed up in about five words: things change, get over it. However, it's a memorable 96-page book you should consider investing two hours of your time on.

4. The Startup of you - Reid Hoffman

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Reid Hoffman's revolutionary composition is "Permanent Beta". The concept encourages readers to constantly be experimenting with an open mind. This book has enough insight to go around for both the employee and the employer. Reid shows that the best way to advance a career today is to manage your career as if it were a startup -- a growing startup of you. He spotlights practical entrepreneurial strategies a founder can simply pick up and apply to their business.  

5. The 4-hour workweek - Tim Ferris

Tim Ferriss takes another look at the concept of retirement in the 4-hour work week. Tim teaches, from personal experiences, how to escape the rat race, experience high-end world travel, and earn more while working less. One big takeaway is Tim's rallying cry for entrepreneurs to be business owners as opposed to business runners. Being a business runner consumes your life while being a business owner gives you lots of free time to live.
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6. The Lean Startup - Eric Ries

We love the Eric Ries's Lean Startup. The guys at Starta have a comprehensive Cliff Notes version of the book. In it, Eric Ries teaches a way for entrepreneurs to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries shares a refreshing scientific framework for creating and managing successful startups in this age where companies need to innovate more than ever. You can download the ebook summary from Starta here.

7. Where good ideas come from - Steven Johnson

“The trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation and try to think big thoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table,” writes Steven Johnson in his classic book, Where Good Ideas Come From. In his book, Steven Johnson puts the idea of the "lone genius building up logic-defying solutions" to the test and finds it wanting. He argues that in innovation, there are no Eureka moments, only slow realizations, serendipity, hunch and a half a dozen other suspects. From Darwin and Freud to the AI-infested halls of Google and Apple, Johnson investigates modern innovation and pulls out applicable approaches and commonalities that seem to appear at moments of originality.

8. Rework - Jason Fried and David Hansson

Jason Fried and David Hansson moved past the over-romanticized ideas around starting a business to the hard and gritty details of building a company in today’s sprightly internet age. Jason and David coloured heavily outside the lines in this book. Rework teaches a better, faster and easier way to build a successful business. Some contrarian ideas shared in the book will blow your socks off. For example, why you don't need outside investors; why you're better off ignoring the competition; the fact that don't need to be a workaholic; and that you don't even need an office.

9. Life is what you make of it - Peter Buffett

Peter Buffett is the Emmy-Award-winning musician and songwriter son of Warren Buffett. But he didn't enjoy life-long wealth from his rich father. Instead, he inherited a philosophy: To forge his own path in life.
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In the book, Peter shares other timeless values given to him by his trusting and broadminded mother, his industrious father, and the many life teachers he has met along the way. 

10. Purple Cow - Seth Godin

Marketing has changed since the forbears of the industry passed down the P's of marketing: Pricing, Promotion, Product, and Placement. These aren't working by themselves anymore. They need another essential 'P'. And Seth Godin has added that to the marketing mix - Purple Cow. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive, exciting and flat out unbelievable. In Purple Cow, Seth Godin teaches practical steps to introduce remarkable elements into any product and create something truly noticeable.

11. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

This list would be hardly complete without the single most influential book in modern business. Originally published in 1936, How to Win Friends & Influence People draws on the philosophy of the time, and on lessons from the lives of people like Abraham Lincoln to teach business leaders the one quality that will help build their influence - empathy. "Any fool can criticise, condemn, and complain — and most fools do," Carnegie writes. "But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving." Warren Buffett is known to have applied all the recommendations in this book when he had difficulty fitting in at school. Though the lessons took a while to pay off, the techniques worked on the long run. So, there 11 books to make you a better entrepreneur. Which of these books have you read that you can recommend? And which one do you plan to read next? Please share in the comments. ___ Are you a Nigerian entrepreneur with a transformative idea? Cranium One is a premium coworking hub that provides space for people to connect, collaborate and bring their ideas to reality. Learn more.