The 5 Best Books to Read at the Start of Your Business Journey


Hit the ground running.

A pile of books

Whether you’re ready to start your business or still trying to figure out which kind of business to start, these books will help you navigate a course of action, prepare you for the endless challenges and most importantly, get you ready to actually make your business dream a reality.

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Best selling Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert will have you thinking differently about the clever idea(s) you have. Have you thought about where ideas come from? And have you ever had an idea you didn’t do, only to see someone else doing it later? Elizabeth suggests that our ideas come to us through some kind of divine intervention, and if we don’t give them life (or at the very least, the time of day), they’ll move on to someone else. The author also shares the secrets to her own success – writing early in the mornings and keeping her day job until she had three books published. She encourages anyone with an idea to make it happen. In short, a great book to read if you feel overwhelmed by your ideas or lack thereof.

2. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Reis

With this cult favourite (Australian entrepreneur Julie Stevanja is a noted fan), you’ll learn how to do everything from effectively managing a budget, learn the best ways to innovate your ideas, how to ‘validate learning’ and measuring actual progress without relying on vanity metrics. This tome will encourage you to shift direction with agility, rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans.

3. The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer

If you’re starting a business, it goes without saying that you need to know how to sell. You’ll have to sell your vision to investors, your product to your customers, and a company culture to employees, and as this book guides you through a generic sales cycle, you’re halfway there. It’s a fast read, so a good one to knock over in a few hours.

4. The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank

Think of this as an encyclopedia to guide you through your start-up. Through a step-by-step process, this manual recommends a scientific approach to entrepreneurship, emphasising “rigorous and repeated testing” of your product or service, as well as the customer development process. Steve is a serial entrepreneur himself, and also an academic, so he certainly knows what he’s talking about. The principles in this book are taught at Stanford, Berkeley, and Columbia, and with learning institutions like that taking his advice onboard, we’d say this is an indispensable one to keep on your shelf as you go along the journey.

5. Do The Work by Steven Pressfield

If you’re lagging about getting your business butt into gear, this book is the book for you. A quick read – I polished it off on a flight from Sydney to Adelaide and managed to sketch out chapters for a book I want to write – Steven will get you doing straight away, rather than spending days, months or even years researching and preparing. The major takeaway? It’s not about having an idea, it’s about doing the work. Do The Work identifies common resistance points and challenges you to push through them.

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