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If you really want to get ahead and be successful in business, reading is essential. It will expose you to new ideas, and will give you access to different ways of thinking.

Whatever form of business you’re in, the knowledge you gain from books will be a foundation to sustain you through ups and downs, and can help you increase your successes. In no particular order, here are some of the best books for business owners to instigate ideas, creative thought, and put you on right track.

1. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable 

by Seth Godin


In a farmyard, a purple cow would most likely grab your attention. Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow, this is the secret to successful marketing strategies — be different and exciting, generate interest and be remembered. Standard tactics are dull and leave your business faceless and characterless. If you want to be outstanding and get ahead of competitors, you have to make people take a closer look at you.

2. Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life 

by Gary John Bishop


In this straightforward handbook, author Gary John Bishop gives readers the tools and advice to break through the crap that’s weighing them down. Bishop wants you to become the best version of yourself that you can be. First, though, you need to stop getting in your own way by filling your head with negative self-talk. Unfu*k Yourself will help silence that hateful inner critic and get you feeling more positive about yourself and your life.

3. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World

by William H. McRaven


Inspired by a powerful commencement speech that Naval Admiral William H. McRaven delivered to the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin, Make Your Bed presents 10 life lessons McRaven gleaned during his military career. Building on the core tenets of his original speech, which went viral with over 10 million views, McRaven recounts tales from his own life and from those he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor and courage.

4. The Lean Start-Up 

by Eric Ries


Before you create any sort of business you’ll want to read The Lean Start-Up, as it can save you time and money you’d likely have wasted otherwise. Eric Ries looks at why most startups fail, and how those failures are preventable. His approach builds companies that are both more efficient and leverage human creativity more effectively. His methods rely on “validated learning,” rapid experimentation and specific practices that shorten product development cycles.

5. Rework: Change the way you work, forever

by David Heinemeier Hansson


With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs who want to get out, and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable inspiration and guidance in these pages.

6. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

by Donald Miller


Whether you’re the marketing director of a multi million pound company or the owner of a small business, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the unique value you bring to your customers. The StoryBrand process is author Donald Miller’s solution to help businesses clarify their marketing messages and connect with customers. Miller focuses on 7 universal story points that all people respond to and that will drive customer purchases.

7. The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

by Tim Ferriss


Solo entrepreneurs can learn a lot from Tim Ferriss, who made lifestyle design popular. This is a must read for anyone with an entrepreneurial itch, or anyone who dreams of escaping the rat race to live their life the way they want. Ferriss details smart strategies like outsourcing, following the 80/20 rule and automating processes. Forget the concept of working decades for retirement. The 4-Hour Work Week is a blueprint for how to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements.”

8. How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie


Dale Carnegie’s groundbreaking and enduring best-selling book has carried countless people up the ladder of success. How to Win Friends and Influence People offers simple advice than can help you build popularity points and expand your network. Among the important lessons it offers: 6 ways to make people like you, 12 ways to win people over to your way of thinking and 9 ways to change people without arousing resentment.

9. Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

by Gary Vaynerchuk


If you’d like to turn your hobbies and passions into internet gold, Crush It! is a great playbook. Gary Vaynerchuk explains the why and how of creating irresistible personal brands and how to turn your interests into a real business. Vaynerchuk provides readers with step-by-step advice on how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

10. Hacking Growth

by Morgan Brown


How today’s fastest-growing companies drive breakout success
There was a time where Facebook played second fiddle to MySpace. Oh, how time flies.

Hacking Growth examines the ins and outs of growth hacking – one of the hottest business methodologies in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Learn the tactics that multi-million dollar organisations, startups, entrepreneurs, marketers, managers and executives alike use to supercharge growth.


Ryan Nesbitt

Founder of Startr and lover of all things Business, Design, Tech & Sport. Ryan can usually be found writing on Startr, working with clients for his Digital Agency Eastworks, out on his bike, or at the side of a sports-field being Dad.