Discover more from Entrepreneur Office Hours
Entrepreneur Office Hours: Issue #204
Questions for you and some book recommendations from me
After getting tons of positive feedback for my mini-course on audience building from a couple weeks ago, I’m excited to pull together another one. This time, however, I’d love it if you all would help choose the focus.
If you’ve got a specific entrepreneurship-related topic you’d like me to write about, would you mind taking three minutes to fill out this quick survey?
When you’re done with the survey, be sure to come back to this issue of EOH and check out the Q&A because I love my answer.
The question this week is about the Top 5 entrepreneurship books I’d recommend.
I got so excited that I pulled together a list of eight books that should be required reading for every entrepreneur… and I could have kept going.
It also got me thinking that I’d love some recommendations, too. Do you have a favorite book about entrepreneurship? If so, share it in the comments!
The best startups are like relationships. If you want them to succeed, keep your expectations reasonable.
I Learned an Unforgettable Lesson About Entrepreneurship From the Mechanic Changing My Car’s Battery
The most valuable startup wisdom doesn’t always come from the places you’d expect, and that’s a good thing.
Office Hours Q&A
Hello Professor Aaron,
I have been keeping up with the stories about Sam and I can see myself relating to them. Especially for my clothing brand and my other social medias which I post content to.
Lately, I’ve been reading this book recommended to me called Contagious: Why Things Go Viral, by Jonah Berger. I really think it’s a good read. And wanted to know a couple books you would recommend if you had a top 5. So that I can check them out.
I sometimes worry about recommending books related to entrepreneurship because books tend to have long and slow publishing cycles, which means the content in them can go stale without the person recommending them realizing that’s happened. For example, lots of entrepreneurship educators will recommend Lean Startup, but it was published over a decade ago, and some of its premises are a bit out-of-date.
However, I also love entrepreneurship books. So, with apologies if any of what I’m sharing is wildly irrelevant, here are eight books that have been influential in my career and that I still use in my classes to teach entrepreneurial concepts. To be clear, they’re not all 100% good, but, as I like to tell my students, they’re wonderful tools to think with.
1. Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margins of Error by Kathryn Schulz
First of all, Schulz is one of my favorite writers. Every sentence reads like a paragraph, so it’s a very meaty book, but it’ll completely change your worldview around the concepts of “right” and “wrong.” Simply put, there’s really no such thing. The quicker you learn that, the quicker you’ll be prepared to successfully operate in an entrepreneurial world that’s filled with ambiguity.
2. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
A book that will help you understand how wildly irrational human decision making is. This matters for entrepreneurs because, to be successful, you have to sell to humans.
3. Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
I’m not suggesting anyone should follow everything described in this book. But, you should definitely read it in order to understand how so much of what we encounter in the media is manipulated to evoke certain responses in order to make publishers money.
4. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
Another book with advice I don’t 100% endorse. However, the fundamental concepts are interesting. As you read it, keep in mind that this isn’t a book about only working four hours per week. It’s a book about learning to see the world differently and how an ability to see the world differently will help you identify and execute on valuable entrepreneurial opportunities.
5. Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
This book is part of the Freakonomics series. I love almost everything from Freakonomics… the books, the podcasts, whatever. I’m singling out this book because it’s the most directly applicable to entrepreneurship since it’s focused on teaching people how to think in what I’d describe as a very entrepreneurial way.
6. Influence by Robert Cialdini
Cialdini basically wrote the textbook for proper marketing and sales messaging. If you want to acquire customers, you need to be familiar with the principles he describes.
7. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
A classic book from the early 20th Century that somehow still manages to be the best book ever written about how to sell things.
8. Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen
Honestly, all of Christensen’s books are must-reads for entrepreneurs. (He’s literally the dude who coined the phrase “disruption”... as in “we’re going to disrupt an industry.”) Competing Against Luck is the most actionable book in terms of explaining a concept you can directly apply to building startups.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!