In this article, we’re sharing 19 of the best business books for beginners. As we begin a new year, it’s the perfect time to take the leap and start your own business. Whether you’re looking for inspiration to start your own business or tips and tricks to enhance your skills as a manager or leader, this selection of business books is the perfect place to start.
Some of the books on our list are factual case studies, some are written in a narrative, story form. But all are powerful and inspiring, guaranteed to make an interesting addition to your bedside table. So if you’re looking for a great book to inspire your next business venture, read on to find out which of the best business books for beginners you should choose.
The Best Business Books For Beginners
Starting a new business can often feel daunting. Knowing where to start, how to approach decision-making, and how to overcome obstacles can often leave us feeling a little lost. The beauty of reading business books is that you get to learn from others.
On this list are some of the world’s richest businesspeople, up-and-coming entrepreneurs, scientists, and researchers. They share the knowledge they have accrued through their own experiences, helping you get started on the right foot and avoid rookie mistakes.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad is an international bestseller, and there’s a good reason why it’s at the top of our list of the best business books for beginners.
The book is a passionate testament to the importance of good financial education. It’s told through the author’s reflections on his real-life experiences with two ‘fathers’. First, his biological dad (the poor dad) and second, the father of a close friend as he was growing up (rich dad).
Rich Dad Poor Dad was first published in 1997. It has quickly become a must-read, particularly striking a chord with those who are interested in finance and business but who have not had exposure through their family or education.
The book emphasizes the differences in mindset between families with money and lower-income households. Robert Kiyosaki advocates that in order to improve your financial situation, you can learn lessons from the wealthy and upper classes on how money is conceptualized and used as a tool to achieve goals.
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is a self-help book designed to inspire people tired of monotonous working lives to imagine a better future. Although controversial, the book has proved very popular, particularly in the digital marketing and tech space.
Why did the book have such a big impact? First, startup founder Tim Ferris draws on his real-life experience of swapping an average income and long working week for a six-figure salary and acres of free time. A very appealing prospect! But the book is more than just the reflections of an entrepreneur. Tim shares the productivity tips and tricks he utilized to achieve his goals.
While a 4-hour workweek might not be feasible, or even desirable, for everyone, this book provides plenty of creative ideas. It provides tips on how to make the most of your time, plan to succeed, and think outside of the box.
Overall it’s one of the best business books for beginners. It’s an absolute must-read for anyone looking to escape the 9-5 and start a business!
Ideas on Demand: A crash Course on Creativity. Bust Creativity Blocks, 10x Your Ideas, and Become an Idea Machine. (10x Impact) by Miliind Harrdas
Creativity is the name of the game in this stimulating—if long-titled—work by Miliind Harrdas. The author shares a wealth of knowledge on how to generate winning ideas for your business. The book is targeted at entrepreneurs and people in jobs or industries that require frequent creativity and idea generation.
As well as providing the benefit of the author’s extensive experience and research, the book is filled with references for further information. Each chapter gives practical examples of exercises and practices for the reader to try.
The book makes the case that negative experiences in school can suppress creative instincts and enthusiasm for many people. It provides encouragement to ‘unlearn’ these unhelpful lessons from the classroom. It also aims to motivate and re-energize the reader in day-to-day experiences.
Generating Product Ideas: Actionable Techniques for Finding New Business Ideas by Artiom Dashinsky
Looking to start your own business? Inspired by radically successful businesses and entrepreneurs but unsure where to start? Artiom Dashinsky’s book is a must-read for anyone considering a new business venture. And it’s particularly useful to those who are uncertain of how to generate profitable business ideas.
Each section is structured around 17 techniques identified by the author to develop commercially relevant business ideas.
The main principles outlined are that to find a successful niche, entrepreneurs should consider problems or gaps in the market. These problems can then be solved by a new digital or real-world product solution.
The book even provides guidance to wannabe business owners who have amassed too many ideas and are looking for a tool to help prioritize which ventures are worth pursuing. Overall, it’s one of the best business books for beginners looking to generate winning product ideas.
47 Profitable Small Business Ideas You Can Start With $1000 Or Less. The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Business and Making Six-Figures by Jesse Anderson
Jesse Anderson has written one of the most practical and down-to-earth business bibles of recent years. This book sets out to bust the myth that you can only start a successful business with significant financial investment.
It’s aimed at tech entrepreneurs and ‘side hustlers‘ looking for encouragement to monetize existing skills. It shares how to make use of online marketing and promotional resources which, prior to the internet, would have made up a substantial part of the budget for any new business.
This book is mainly aimed at an American audience. However, many of the suggestions for becoming a successful freelance or business owner are applicable internationally.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Published in 1989, Stephen Covey’s book sold millions of copies and has been translated multiple times. The book hinges around a simple theme: the idea that there are certain, universal character traits, or habits, shared by successful people that can be emulated.
Starting with the first habit, to ‘be proactive,’ the author draws on a powerful encouragement to move from a dependent to an independent model of being and eventually to interdependence.
Covey states that the best leaders and strongest members of society embody interdependence. This is the idea of bringing people together towards a common goal, as captains of sports teams and the most inspiring of politicians and community leaders do.
This book is as much a work of philosophy as a beginner’s guide to business. It is full of inspiration and instruction on how to think and work mindfully and build the life we want for ourselves.
Outliers, The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell is one of the most well-known, critically acclaimed, and best-selling non-fiction authors on the planet. It is no wonder that one of his books made it onto our list of best business books for beginners!
Why Outliers? It’s a hugely entertaining and absorbing read. It’s engaging, without a lot of the commercial jargon and faux sincerity that you often find in business books.
Weaving through a complex narrative of different stories and experiences from across the twentieth century, Gladwell explores the factors that lead to success and failure. He draws together the lessons in a highly enjoyable read!
Unlike many business books, Outliers shoots down the notion that the only element to commercial or financial success is hard work and determination. Instead, it explores the many factors of people’s backgrounds, characters, and experiences that determine the course of their lives. It also looks at how some extraordinary individuals have navigated setbacks and disadvantages.
Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders by Srinivasan S. Pillay
Reading a book by a Harvard psychiatrist and brain researcher might not seem the obvious choice for inclusion on a list about the best business books for beginners. But we beg to differ! This book by Dr. Srinivasan S. Pillay explores the fascinating lessons neuroscience can teach us about management, decision making, and even office politics.
Unlike many academic works, Pillay’s work is a hugely practical read. It offers access to the latest research and thinking in brain science, while explaining the lessons to learn from the exciting advances and how to apply them in real-life situations.
Although a little long, this book provides useful insights and scientific justification for building effective and productive relationships not just in the world of work but across our lives.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Some Don’t by Jim Collins
Have you ever wondered what separates the businesses that becomes wildly successful from those that steadily plod along? If so, this is the book for you!
A great company, defined by Jim Collins, is one that can sustain financial profits significantly better than the market average for multiple years consecutively. He spent several years deep-diving into the business development of some of the most successful corporations on the planet. This enabled him to understand what separated them from the millions of businesses that start every year.
This book focuses on experiences across multiple sectors including:
However, the lessons on building effective teams and prioritizing effective recruitment have ramifications that would be useful for many aspiring and current business thinkers.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel has become known as a notorious and controversial figure over recent years. However, his business acumen and financial success are certainly never in question.
In Zero to One, Thiel sets out to concisely explain how to start and manage a new business. He provides his own insights from decades of enviable investments into how to set a new company up to succeed.
The basic premise is that too many would-be entrepreneurs and captains of industry try to replicate the success of other businesses. Instead, they should be investing in becoming a monopoly themselves.
Thiel advocates the principle that the common thread that the biggest companies share, especially in the fast-changing world of tech, is to offer a unique product or service.
It’s a simple message but one that has added impact when explained by an investor of Thiel’s caliber.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Made to Stick is written by brothers, Chip and Dan Heath. This book is the result of over a decade’s extensive research into the question – why do some ideas work and others don’t? The answer may seem straightforward at first glance. However, taking inspiration from some of Malcolm Gladwell’s work, this book exposes the layers of input and external factors that need to be at play for an idea to become ‘sticky.’
We like this book because it provides thought-provoking insights that impact day-to-day working situations. It also shares plenty of ideas on becoming better communicators, public speakers, and advocates for ourselves and our ideas.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How to Win Friends & Influence People was first published in 1936. It is one of the most famous and best-selling self-help books on the planet. And for good reason!
You may think that a book written nearly a century ago may not have much to say about the challenges of twenty-first-century life, but you would be dead wrong!
Dale Carnegie’s opus remains as interesting and insightful as ever. The key message is that in order to get ahead, both professionally and personally, we should be liked and respected.
Interpersonal skills do not come naturally to everyone, so Carnegie explains some simple and effective ways to help meet people, network, and bond with others.
Some of the advice in this book may seem simple. However, coming out of a pandemic, many of us have lost the habit of conversation, active listening, and normal interactions. This book is the perfect reminder to invest in other people when we want to invest in ourselves.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is the author of dozens of international bestsellers. This is Marketing breaks down this self-styled marketing guru’s accrued wisdom and experience of leadership and vision within the sector.
If you’re looking for insights into how to promote and identify opportunities in a rapidly changing landscape, this book has something to offer.
A little on the dense side, this is the type of book you might want to dip in and out of before bed, rather than absorb in an afternoon. However, there’s still plenty to learn from and enjoy in this extremely personal and inspiring book.
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
This is an extremely interesting book for small business owners or those struggling with financial difficulties.
Mike Michaelowicz’s premise is fairly simple. By changing the traditional profit model most businesses run on, your company’s finances can transform.
He advocates that instead of the usual way of identifying profits after sales and expenses have been deducted, each sale should have profit identified as a first principle.
Tens of thousands of business owners have read and recommended Profit First. As well as giving practical insights and suggestions, Mike is also very funny and tells real-life stories to illustrate his points. Definitely not your typical grey business tome.
The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawaski’s seminal work has gained even more popularity through this second edition. And it’s easy to see why! Throughout this book, Kawasaki explores the opportunities that technology provides. He helps readers to dispense with some of the conventional wisdom of business acumen, such as the importance of an established business plan.
Equal parts inspiring and realistic, this is one of the best business books for beginners looking to make waves with a new business idea. It offers a wide range of tips and tricks to take advantage of new developments in business such as online marketing and crowdfunding tools.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup is now over twenty years old. It is celebrated across the business world as a bible for understanding how to analyze and plan a new business’s conception from problem identification to building a robust and adaptable team.
Eric Ries has founded multiple businesses, and his real-world experience shines through in this book. He describes the potential pitfalls to avoid for new businesses.
The Lean Startup outlines five principles for ensuring that startup leaders remain engaged and focused on building success and growth. It shares tools and tips on how to keep employees engaged and committed to the project.
Well worth a read if you are leading a team or considering building a new business of your own.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz brings together the lessons learned as a venture capitalist and CEO. This book expels the notion that there is one straightforward solution to business success. It encourages business leaders to trust their instincts and rise above difficulties to flourish.
Unlike many business books, this work emphasizes that there are many situations where a quick fix or easy win is impossible. The author provides dozens of examples from his own career to illustrate the point.
This book provides reassurance that while the business world can be tough, the struggle is part of the game and can be handled maturely and stoically.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Written in 1937, Napoleon Hill’s self-help business book shares the author’s philosophy that to become rich, you need one simple thing: a deep desire to achieve and find a purpose.
This book is so much more than a romantic treatise on following your dreams. Think and Grow Rich is the result of the examination of several hundred self-made millionaires in the 1930s. It explores the common threads these business leaders shared while offering a simple foundation upon which readers can seek to emulate their drive and determination. Because of this, it’s a great read for anyone looking to build their own successful business.
While some of the content may seem a little dated, the visualization of your ambitions that the author describes is popular and appealing to readers. It expresses a simple truth about our work ethic and how we can center ourselves on achievement. Even in the face of an uncertain future.
It’s one of the best business books for beginners looking to get themselves into the right mindset to start a successful business.
The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
Last but not least, we have The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer. First published in 2004, this book is a timely reminder to salespeople that the product or service they are touting isn’t everything. What really matters in interactions with prospective customers is the salesperson and the relationships they can build with others.
Drawing on psychological research and insights from decades working in sales, Gitomer identifies principles for a successful salesperson. These include:
- Investing in self-motivation techniques
- Building a winning business image
- Using humor as a way to engage and win over customers
It’s a must-read for anyone selling a product or service.
The Best Business Books for Beginners: Final Thoughts
We hope you’ve enjoyed this exhaustive list of the best business books for beginners. Don’t forget that many of the world’s top business people commit to reading as many as three books a week. The desire to keep learning and expanding your horizons is a worthwhile lesson from those who are enjoying success, and one we can all replicate.
Absorbing the wise words of others can give you practical tips for how to face challenges when starting your own business. Of course, talking to others in business is a great way to learn. However, it’s rare that you get the opportunity to listen at length to the collected wisdom-often spanning whole careers-of people we admire. Above all, reading allows us to slowly absorb the lessons and experiences of others and use this information to succeed in our own business adventures.