best-startup-books

25 Best Books on Entrepreneurship for College Students

THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION TO START YOUR STARTUP.

Preparation is key when launching into your first startup. Just out of (or still in) college, we have a lot to learn from people who have tried and succeeded, and even more to learn from those who have tried and failed. This ultimate collection of 25 books contains the best information about creation, making the pitch, confidence, and how, when, and who to ask for an investment. Good luck.

25. THE INNOVATOR’S DILEMMA: WHEN NEW TECHNOLOGIES CAUSE GREAT FIRMS TO FAIL

This book doesn’t have the attention it deserves. Cited by both Steve Jobs and Malcom Gladwell, Christensen shares stories about young companies that do everything right and still fall behind.  This book is about abandoning tradition and becoming a leader in disruptive innovation. The fact that this book “forever changed corporate America” affirms that it’s a must-read. Great businesses can fail simply because they do everything just right.  Ignore the lessons in this book at your own peril.

24. SCALABLE INNOVATION: A GUIDE FOR INVENTORS, ENTREPRENEURS, and IP PROFESSIONALS 

Shteyn and Shtein very simply explain some key barriers to creativity in the area of innovation.  It’s regarded as a must read for anyone who is working to develop products, or anyone managing a team of highly developed thinkers.

23. THE LEAN STARTUP: HOW TODAY’S ENTREPRENEURS USE CONTINUOUS INNOVATION TO CREATE RADICALLY SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES

This book’s main principal relies on continuous innovation, christened “validated learning” by Reis.  He offers advise to companies of all sizes ways to constantly test their business and vision, allowing for adjustment before it’s too late.

22. THE ART OF THE PICTH: PERSUASION AND PRESENTATION SKILLS THAT WIN BUSINESS

You have a phenomenal idea – you still need to convince others of this notion.  Coughter manages to teach the reader how to enhance his or her own personal presentation style in his own humorous manner.  This book will help hone your pitch skills- striking the delicate balances between appearing natural and professional, as well as how to balance quantitative and qualitative explanation of your pitch. A great and useful read.

21. ZERO TO ONE: NOTES ON STARTUPS, OR HOW TO BUILD THE FUTURE

This book begins to explore the uncharted territories that are soon to birth the next big startup.  Our problem is that these new industries remain undiscovered.  In Zero to One, Thiel states “tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.” Be that next big business with help from Thiel.

20. INVENT IT, SELL IT, BANK IT!: MAKE YOUR MILLION-DOLLAR IDEA INTO A REALITY

Other than the simple fact that this book was penned by Lori Greiner from super-show Shark Tank (ABC), it’s brilliant.  This book gets into the nitty-gritty of starting your own business from the ground up.  We gain insight into her path to success as an entrepreneur as well as backstage access to Shark Tank and QVC. Lori holds fast to the idea that anyone can become the next overnight success.

19. GETTING TO YES: NEGOTIATING AGREEMENT WITHOUT GIVING IN

This bestseller has helped millions of people learn how to negotiate more effectively.  After 30 years, the book has been fully updated and revised but the basic lessons and rules of interactions unwaveringly hold.  Every entrepreneur not only needs these skills as they negotiate for value with VC’s and angel investors, but as they more forward in nearly every aspect of their business.

18. BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY: HOW TO CREATE UNCONTESTED MARKET SPACE AND MAKE THE COMPETITION IRRELEVANT

This book argues that “lasting success comes not from battling competitors, but from creating “blue oceans”—untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.”  What could be more powerful of an innovation strategy than rendering your rivals obsolete by creating a whole new market for yourself?   Kim and Mauborgne helps manage the risk and rewards of being truly innovative.

17. INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

This classic book on entrepreneurship was one of the first of its kind to provide a simple explanation of how to get a business off the ground.  This book analyzes the challenges of operating a startup in the modern era, explaining in a very practical way what new ventures need to do to succeed in todays economy.

16. INGENIUS: A CRASH COURSE ON CREATIVITY

This novel de-mystifies creativity.  With Seelig, anyone can be creative; we all have the tools to do so.  She expertly teaches us how to hone our natural creative talents – an excellent resource for those thirsty to be the next great thinker and innovator.

15. GAMIFY: HOW GAMIFICATION MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS

Gamification is defined as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems,” and in recent years, many startups and creative companies have been bringing this line of thought into their business models.  Even if you are not about to start your own business, this book is still an important read to plug yourself in to an emerging and newly popular way to operate a business.  About motivating and encouraging people working for you, this book would help just about anyone who works with others.

14. CRUSH IT!: WHY NOW IS THE TIME TO CASH IN ON YOUR PASSION

WOO!  In a highly energized and humorous fashion, Vaynerchuk teaches the reader what they need to do to boost their presence and power on the internet.  Learn how to enhance internet sales and have fun along the way.  Crush It is an instruction manual on finding your passion, transforming that passion into a living, and then turning your idea into a flourishing business.

13. PURPLE COW: TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS BY BEING REMARKABLE

“You won’t forget a purple cow.”  The idea behind this book is that all highly successful companies have something intrinsically unique and highly special about their business – something you can’t find anywhere else.  This book teaches you how to put a purple cow into everything you build, how to create something truly noticeable.

12. PRESENTATION ZEN: SIMPLE IDEAS ON PRESENTATION DESIGN AND DELIVERY

A great book for anyone who has ever been worried about a big presentation.  Reynolds aims to change the way you look at PowerPoint, encouraging the reader to redesign the way they present his or her greatest new idea.  Using lessons from the field and stories from the world of communication, this book helps you along the path to a better demonstration of your abilities and your product.

11. REWORK

Want a better, faster, and easier way to succeed in the world of business? Rework will show this to you.  Learn how and why plans are harmful, why you should be ignoring your competition, and why you don’t need outside investors.  This book shares many counterintuitive ideas and new concepts that will help you get your business running on your own.

10. HOW TO WIN FRIENDS & INFLUENCE PEOPLE

This book is written to be “The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success” and I’m inclined to agree.  Much success in a startup stems from those close to you.  Friends generally constitute early rounds of funding and support, which can make or break your venture.

9. THE $100 STARTUP

Easy to read, and well organized; this book is great for someone who is looking for an uncomplicated guide to starting their own business.  This would be a great first book to read to start getting the wheels turning in your head.  Not too heavy on the financials, and an uncomplicated read.

8. THE E-MYTH REVISITED: WHY MOST SMALL BUSINESSES DON’T WORK AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

Gerber expertly dispels the myths surrounding young startups.  Walk through the steps of the growth of a company akin to the growth of a child – infancy to adolescent growing pains to maturity.  Learn how to apply lessons from franchising into any business, looking at working ON your business vs. IN your business.

7. COLD CALLING TECHNIQUES: THAT REALLY WORK

If you have ever made cold calls you know how hard it can be.  From convincing someone not to hang up right away to forming a relationship it can be a challenge.   Schiffman guides the reader through this difficult processes right to success.

6. THE MILLIONAIRE FASTLANE: CRACK THE CODE TO WEALTH AND LIVE RICH FOR A LIFETIME

We have been hardwired to trust in very unpredictable markets: the housing market, the job market, even the stock market. With DeMarco, unearth alternate roads to wealth other than the typical path.  Overturn the typical, mediocre lifestyle and fast track your way to success.

5. INFLUENCE: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSUASION

Why do people say yes? The main principle of Influence centers on this topic, teaching the reader to use these understandings to his or her advantage. This book is great for people in all walks of life, but especially the young entrepreneur.

4. MASTERY

From bestselling author Robert Greene, Mastery follows the lives and teachings of great masters such as Darwin and Mozart, and draws connections between “Masters” and modern high-success individuals.  Their secrets are already in our heads, as we are hardwired for supremacy and achievement.  We just have to figure out how to unleash ourselves.

3. GOOD TO GREAT: WHY SOME COMPANIES MAKE THE LEAP… AND OTHERS DON’T

This book is a thorough description and in-part analysis of “Built to Last,” a defining management study of the nineties.  This study focused on creating a perfect company from the get-go.  Jim Collins daringly contradicts this thesis in Good to Great. Learn how a company even with “bad DNA” can still be successful with the right people and novel company culture.

2. THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK: ESCAPE 9-5, LIVE ANYWHERE, AND JOIN THE NEW RICH

There is no reason to wait until retirement to begin living the life of your dreams.  Timothy Ferriss teaches how he went from working regular hours for a normal wage to earning $40 thousand a month for 4 hours of work a week.  Learn from the “blue chip artists” and travel the world without quitting your job.  Heralded as “a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle” this book is a must read for the entrepreneur on the go.

1. DELIVERING HAPPINESS

I’m going to finish our list with a book focused on the reason many people work hard starting their own ventures – the pursuit of fulfillment and happiness.  Through his work starting and pursuing Zappos, Tony Hsieh shares his lessons to growing his profits as well as his passion and purpose.  An easy read in comic book format, a great book to bring the readers focus back to their genuine motivations.

We hope you can draw from this collection as you move forward in your venture. As always, if you have any great books to add to the list, leave them in the comments.



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