If you’re planning to launch your own company, we don’t have to tell you what a big decision it is--you know. Chances are, you’ve already spent more than one sleepless night agonizing over your plans. Whether you’re an MBA or self-taught, being a successful entrepreneur means knowing when to seek good advice, and understanding that there is always more to know. While there is no definitive guide to launching an instantly successful business, there are plenty of books written by experts that can inspire you and steer you in the right direction.
Here are our picks:
1. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Your business plan started with one single idea. Chances are, you’ll have to pitch that idea over and over while developing your company. This book is all about how to make your idea “sticky”--that is, how to make it win and thrive with concrete strategies that improve communication.
2. And What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber
Originally published in 1986, this best selling book is still relevant today and exists in many updated and industry-specific versions as well. The takeaway from Gerber’s philosophy is this: it’s a myth that most entrepreneurs are business-savvy from the beginning (the Entrepreneurial Myth). In fact, most of them are merely technical experts in their field, with no experience running a business, which is the reason that they fail. Gerber instructs readers on the reality of operating a business and how to implement systems for success.
3. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, by Tony Hsieh
In Delivering Happiness, Hsieh, CEO and founder of the wildly successful online shoe retailer, Zappos, explains his customer service-focused business philosophy and shares anecdotes from both his personal and professional lives. Not only does he offer advice on achieving success in business, he explains how to create a company culture where employees are truly happy--both in and out of the office. A fascinating and refreshing read about a leader who does things differently.
4. The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup, by Noam Wasserman
The title says it all. Wasserman hashes out some of the most common risks and entanglements that an entrepreneur will face when launching their business, and examines in depth some of the early decisions that can make or break a business.
5. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink
Launching your own company means eventually having employees. Whether you’ll have two interns or 10 full-time, salaried employees working for you, you’ll need to know how to motivate them effectively. In Drive, Pink examines the traditional methods of inspiring motivation and proposes new methods to inspiring high performance and employee satisfaction.
6. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
Featured on Mark Zuckerbook’s “Year of Books” for 2015, Creativity, Inc. is all about fostering the right creative environment in the workplace. Written by one of Pixar’s founders, Ed Catmull, the book discusses the methods he has employed there to keep creativity at the forefront and to flout convention in favor of innovation.