Books to read before starting a business?


I'm starting an online store with a partner. Because there will be lot of students and other people working directly under me, I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. I have no practical or theoretical experience in running a business. I'm in-charge of website as well as management, promotion and finances.

I have started to create a business plan, project plan, I have read a lot about these in books and internet.

What I wanted to know if there are certain books / resources that will help me in better management and running of my business. Books that will help me better promote my product and services as better manage my finances. How to conduct market research and analysis.

I know there are other post mentioning about what book to read, but the problem here is specific. A purely technical guy wants to learn how to run a business. Also please mention if the book you mention is beginner / intermediate / advanced.

Getting Started Resources Books

asked Jul 25 '11 at 14:09
145 points

12 Answers


Anything on Lean Startups would be helpful, especially for new technology companies:

answered Jul 25 '11 at 18:55
Roy Dictus
343 points


I've read almost everything in this thread and they are all good books for the entrepreneur.

However, since you say you are a technical guy (I consider myself the same) I strongly suggest you read whichever book, blog, or article that addresses the biggest business challenge you currently face.

Since you are feeling a bit overwhelmed E-Myth and The One Minute Manager are great for helping you deal with that.

This is off topic, but I also STRONGLY SUGGEST you spend an hour or two with a good small business accountant and maybe another hour or two with a small business lawyer. This will be money very well spent. People told me this early on, but I never took the advice. I wish I did.

answered Jul 26 '11 at 06:56
Dave Feyereisen
963 points

answered Jul 25 '11 at 15:49
Robin Vessey
8,394 points


My top 3 is:

answered Jul 26 '11 at 03:29
355 points


Here is my list:

  1. The Book of Proverbs from the Bible, I read the New King James Version.
  2. Competitive Strategy by Michael E. Porter. This book will teach you how to analyze markets at the industry level. The Porter 5 forces are legendary. It's a part of the business lexicon. Every consulting firm uses it, and all businesses need it.
  3. Kellogg on Marketing. This is a must-read! Peter Drucker says that the goal of every business is to create a customer, and the only ways to create a customer is through INNOVATION and MARKETING. Period. Read Kellogg on Marketing and you'll have one-half of the equation down.
  4. Anything and Everything written by Peter F. Drucker (as in all of his books, there's no book called anything and everything). He is the Godfather of the Consulting Profession and his books (all 39 of them) are loaded with case studies.
  5. Make yourself an expert in your industry. Read every journal, book, blog, article, and magazine related to your industry. Remember that innovation always stems from knowledge of the industry and knowledge of the customer. Stay in the know!
answered Jul 26 '11 at 05:38
Rayce Rollins
91 points


For startups, I particularly found these books interesting:

The Knack - Fantastic for understanding the essence of street smart

The 4 hour week - For getting your life back

Rich dad, poor dad - Understanding while being a worker is not good a long term strategy

I would also recommend more "formal" educational books like Inventor's Dilemma and Solution already mentioned.

answered Jul 28 '11 at 20:11
11 points


Smarter, Faster, Cheaper by David Siteman Garland

I just finished this book last week, it was a quick read and had some great ideas regarding promoting products, networking, and building a good strong presence on and offline with potential customers and people that matter in your space.

The content is easy for a beginner to understand and implement, and an advanced person will probably learn something new from it as well.

answered Jul 26 '11 at 11:24
Tom Harrigan
373 points


They're not highly related, but I'd suggest you to look at following books:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu

Those books will give you an insight on how people think, believe and decide and fail.

answered Aug 22 '13 at 00:22
An?L Çelik
101 points


I am a huge believer in Seth Godin's philosophy. I read his blog, which is very inspiring. He is someone who understands what the consumer wants, which may help you develop your business strategy. I found some of his books better than most others. 'Linchpin', 'The Purple Cow' and 'Tribes' to name a few.

I advise you to also watch his videos on YouTube. He has a technology background and started his own startup. He went through the same growing pains most start ups do.

answered Jul 28 '11 at 05:53
44 points


Check these books out:

Success Built to Last: This book is written based on research and interview several built-to-last people. You can know how they think, how they react to their failures and etc.
Built to Last: It is same as above. It is written based on research of several companies that survived for more than 50 years.
It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: A good book which teach us how we face failures.
Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite: This book teaches us how to think.

answered Jul 28 '11 at 11:10
245 points


I suggest to you Richard Branson's autobiography if only for inspiration and enjoying the process because entrepreneurship is about having fun too, also this list is useful:

answered Jul 29 '11 at 23:32
101 points

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Getting Started Resources Books