This is a list of the best books to read for ecommerce entrepreneurs, founders, and CEO’s. I devour books to help me become a better entrepreneur and business owner. I am constantly wanting to improve my business through reading so the list is long and always growing. In January of 2018, one of my closest friends challenged me to read at least one book a week for the entire year. This complete list of the best books for entrepreneurs (although started well before 2018) will continue to grow at least one book per week for the entire year so be sure to check back.
The list is in no particular order. It is not the “best ranked books for entrepreneurs” or even the “top non-fiction books for entrepreneurs” but instead it is simply a list of books that I have some how stumbled upon through my educational business journey.
This entrepreneur book list contains both books from fiction and non-fiction and ranges in topics from finance to sales to branding to self-improvement.
Each title on the list will get a short (few sentences) about my take aways from the book. These sentences are not reviews of the book, endorsements, summaries, or anything of the sort. They are simply my thoughts on how the book might help you as a business owner.
My list of the best books for ecommerce entrepreneurs:
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Work in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
This book has completely changed my routine. I now feel in complete control of my time and as an ecommerce entrepreneur this is very important. It is so easy to become distracted by everything out there. The biggest change is that I’ve blocked off entire days for focus on projects and then each hour is accounted for within those days. Well worth taking the time to read this one.
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
Just as Deep Work has given me control of my time, Profit First has given me control of my finances for all of my ventures. I’ve completely changed the accounting of my ecommerce business and understand exactly where each penny goes and now I am able to pay my employees and myself more because of that! For my consulting business, I no longer spend on things that might help me get more business but instead only spend on things when I actually do get more business. Follow the percentage splits and make it happen. Mike also has a lot of free guides on his website www.mikemotorbike.com
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I had heard about this book for a very long time but never picked it up. My recently discovered obsession with Elon Musk lead my to read Douglas Adams because it was said to be one of Elon’s favorite books and inspirations for the way his mind works. A nice break from the non-fiction and perfect for the entrepreneur with a sense of humor.
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
Yes this book is written by the cartoonist of Dilbert. It is a fantastic narration of Scott Adams life with some comical wisdom built in. The main take aways for me were that goals are for losers and instead one should create systems for success that even when built to achieve a goal can surpass the goal indefinitely. The other is that affirmations work. He doesn’t know how… but they do.
- Traction: Get a Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman
This book is for the ecommerce entrepreneur or business owner that is a little further along in their business. I recommend reading the book when you start your business and then again after you have a few employees. There are a handful of tips and insights that you can implement for your business with a smaller or no team at all but it works best with organizations of 10 or more.
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
As I have mentioned before… I am a little obsessed with Elon Musk. This five part article on Elon Musk is what started my obsession and the follow up was the Elon Musk book. Although not as in depth as the article, you are still able to learn a little bit more about what makes Musk such a successful entrepreneur.
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel is very, very smart. That is no secret. This book is very helpful for entrepreneurs because it forces you to really questions why you are doing what you are doing. Although the questions may seem simple, the answers are much harder. Well worth the read!
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
A very long (but one of my all time favorite) fictional book about titans of capitalism. Atlas Shrugged is a favorite amongst many entrepreneurs and for good reason. A classic forever and I wish I had read it sooner.
- The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King by Rich Cohen
This story is fascinating! This book may be the best example of overcoming adversity and finding success through persistence and a lot of hard work. It helps that Sam Zemurray was also brilliant but brilliance only gets you so far. Read it once then feel obligated to tell everyone that they have to read it as well because it’s just that good.
- Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by Eric Conger
The story of Starbucks. Nothing fancy about this book just the story of Starbucks that I never knew. What I learned most from reading this book is that there is more than one way to create a large business and it all depends on what you truly want to accomplish.
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
This has got to be one of the most exciting memoirs. I knew that Nike was a company that had its bumps growing up but wow! Phil Knight must be the best risk taker I have ever heard of and the stories of how Nike became Nike will not disappoint! More of an inspiring novel than a put to action book for entrepreneurs… but sometimes that’s all we need.
- The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
Non-Fiction or Fiction or Fable or Fact this is one of the greatest books for entrepreneurs of all time. Every entrepreneur is their company’s best salesman (at least in the beginning) and this is the perfect guide to get started on a successful sales (business) career. Read it a dozen times and it is a short book so that won’t be hard!
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
Another book recommended by so many successful entrepreneurs, Influence is one of those books that makes you smack your palm to your forehead because it all makes sense once it is all explained. There is so much from this book that an ecommerce company can implement. Go Devils!
- Tools of Titans and The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
Love him or hate him, Tim Ferriss knows how to produce great work and he has been doing just that for years. He is also a very talented investor. Use his books as text books for optimizing your life and your business. Don’t let the titles fool you, read the books and you’ll understand the significance of them!
- Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff
Once you have finished reading The Greatest Salesman in the World, take your sales skills to the expert level with Oren Klaff. This book not only has a TON of actionable tasks but it also very well written with a ton of stories to inspire you right before you pitch that Angel Investor.
- Dot Com Secrets and Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson
Chances are you’ve seen Russell Brunson and his tactics first hand. You may be skeptical but if you read careful, take some time to map it out, build that funnel… and they will come. Russell has created a massive business teaching people how to use his marketing techniques by using his marketing techniques. They worked on me (probably too well) and although I don’t agree with everything in these books, they have definitely helped take my business to another level.
- Choose Yourself by James Altucher
James Altucher is one of the most unique individuals I have ever come across. I am lucky enough to be his “friend” on facebook and I truly feel like we are friends. His writing style and posts are always a treat (sometimes a shock) and he has done so much with his life. He is also one of those people who provides so much value to others without asking for anything in return that the universe give back to him tenfold (it has also taken everything away but follow along for a while and you’ll soon find out he is right back on top). Oh and his books are great as well. Big fan!