What's a good book for learning business law?


Most books on business rarely talk about the legal side of business. After reading some business books I have realised that there's so many things about legal side of business that we have to understand, like taxation, pension (401k), patent, stock, etc. What are the books where we can delve into business law?

Thank you all.

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asked Jan 30 '10 at 20:32
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6 Answers


Paying an attorney to cover the basics of business law is an expensive education; you need to know at least the basics.

Gene Landy, the IT/Digital Companion is the book you want. http://bit.ly/aEcGl6 It covers Business issues like employing contractors, IP issues like trademarks and copyrights and IT business issues like strategic agreements. And it has about 20 very good contracts/agreements you can use. Gene is a partner with a major IT legal firm in Boston.

The best part of the book is the intro to each of the many chapters - the law you need, in language for non-lawyers.

answered Jan 31 '10 at 06:38
Bob Walsh
2,620 points
  • thanks for what sounds like a good suggestion. – Tim J 14 years ago
  • Thanks. Sounds like a good book. – Jpartogi 14 years ago


I can't say that I have ever see a book that covers all the topics to a level of depth that make sense for a person running a business but I ran across the Both Sides of the Table blog a while ago and I have to say I find it very useful.

The thing I have found about law topics is that it's so much easier to learn them when you actually need to solve a problem. You could read a book about founders equity but unless you need to do it right now it won't make much sense or be easy to remember. On the other hand learning about it when you're in the middle of trying to split equity with your partner will make it relevant and you will be able to learn it to a depth you never could in the abstract.

I think the goal of legal resources (including your lawyer) is for them to be able to teach you what you need to know when you need to know it, not way before when it's just abstract.

answered Jan 31 '10 at 04:14
1,866 points


I agree with the general sentiment about Dane and Tim's answer that learning business law in depth can be a waste of time, but only if you already know a good deal about the basics.

I think if you are contemplating starting a business you need to have at least a minimal knowledge of the law. In startups you need to know about NDAs, contract/tort law, employment laws, corporations/partnerships, intellectual property law (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets), vesting contracts, and so on.

Not knowing the basics about these will certainly get you in trouble. I disagree with Dane's statement that you should only learn about this when you need to solve a problem. That is the costliest time possible to learn that you broke a law or that your contract is not valid, or that you don't own or control the intellectual property you worked hard to create.

You should become conversant about day to day topics before you do anything that might bring you big problems in the future. Some questions on this board have been very indicative of the problems you can run into if you are not proactive: The guy that wanted to know how to force his employee to work 60 hours a week; the other person that wanted to know how to use trade secrets he knew about his current employer to start a competing company (plus poach customers, if I remember correctly); the guy confused as to whether or not he had to release the source code of his application if he extended an existing open source product; the list goes on. There have been many really good questions about law on here.

These issues have a huge impact on a startup, especially if they are ignored until they blow up. And they are everyday issues. So I think you are wise to be proactive and learn about business law.

Having said all of that, you asked for a book title, so there is a book I like, called "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law." It's got good stuff on there. There might be other good book out there, maybe other people can suggest more.

answered Jan 31 '10 at 06:39
Gabriel Magana
3,103 points
  • Thanks for the book suggestion. – Jpartogi 14 years ago


I use The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law as my reference, when calling an attorney is not something I want to do. Best $50 bucks I've spent in a while. It is very well written, well organized, and does not spare you the details.

P.S. Apparently there is also Kindle edition of that book.

answered Jan 31 '10 at 13:09
Apollo Sinkevicius
3,323 points


I'm surprised West's Guide to Business Law isn't mentioned here. The NOLO guides are great, but if you want to get your hands dirty, go for West's.

answered Dec 19 '10 at 19:05
204 points


Nolo publishes many books (and CDs of legal forms) that address specific areas of business law.

answered Feb 1 '10 at 06:09
Dana Shultz
6,015 points

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