10 Best Startup Books Recommended by Successful Entrepreneurs

Man in library on tablet.

Reading startup books is a great way to increase your business knowledge as an entrepreneur, but how do you know which books are best? While there are plenty of ways to find your next great read, checking out the recommendations of famous and successful entrepreneurs is one great option to consider.

In this article, we'll take a look at 10 must-read books recommended by successful entrepreneurs — from Warren Buffett's favorite business book to the book that Mark Cuban wished he had read when he was young. 

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Business Books Recommended by Entrepreneurs

Here are the top ten books recommended by famous startup owners and entrepreneurs. Note that these books are not ranked and are listed in no particular order. 

Also Recommended: Check out our list of the best startup books.

1. ‘The Intelligent Investor’ by Benjamin Graham

Recommended By: Warren Buffett 

Warren Buffett made his wealth primarily as an investor, so it's no surprise that a book on investing is the one that he most highly recommends. The ability to choose investments wisely is a skill that every entrepreneur needs to possess, and reading "The Intelligent Investor" is a great start to mastering this all-important skill. 

“Of all the investments I ever made, buying Ben’s book was the best (except for my purchase of two marriage licenses)," Warren Buffett said in a 2013 letter. "In contrast, Ben’s ideas were explained logically in elegant, easy-to-understand prose (without Greek letters or complicated formulas)."

2. ‘Principles’ by Ray Dalio

Recommended By: Mark Cuban 

"Principles" is a book about what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur, but it's also a book about what it takes to succeed in life. In it, investor and entrepreneur Ray Dalio offers a treasure trove of advice on life, management, economics, and investing. 

In a review of the book, Mark Cuban said, "'Principles' is the book I wish I had as a young entrepreneur, stressing over not knowing what I didn't know." 

3. ‘Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future’ by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel

Recommended By: Elon Musk 

Have you ever felt that there are no good ideas left in the world for you to capitalize on and turn into a successful company? While it may sometimes seem that capitalism has reached its limit, there will always be new opportunities for innovative startups to create value. In "Zero to One," authors Peter Thiel and Blake Masters teach entrepreneurs how to find these opportunities.

In a review of "Zero to One," Elon Musk said, "Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and 'Zero to One' shows how."

4. ‘Creativity Inc.’ by Ed Catmull

Recommended By: Mark Zuckerberg 

In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg started his own book club, giving him the opportunity to review a wide range of books. One of his favorite books on startups, though, is "Creativity Inc.". Written by the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, "Creativity Inc." details how to find creative solutions to business and leadership challenges and overcome the unseen forces that stand in the way of inspiration. 

"I love reading first-hand accounts about how people build great companies like Pixar and nurture innovation and creativity," Zuckerberg said. "This should be inspiring to anyone looking to do the same, and hopefully there will be lessons we can apply to connecting the world!" 

5. ‘Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole’ by Anthony Scaramucci

Recommended By: Arianna Huffington 

Every entrepreneur likes to dream about making their company an overnight success. However, failure is something that every entrepreneur must face at some point in their life. It isn't a matter of whether or not you fail; it's a matter of how you respond and move forward when you inevitably do. In "Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole," Anthony Scaramucci discusses this uncomfortable truth and teaches entrepreneurs how to make the most of their failures. 

"The most valuable thing Anthony Scaramucci teaches us about success is how important, even necessary, failure is," Arianna Huffington said in a review of "Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole." "As he shows, we all face setbacks ― but it’s how we learn from them that governs whether we ultimately succeed or fail."

Looking for more book recommendations? We asked startup founders to share their favorite books on entrepreneurship, and here's what they said.

6. ‘Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street’ by John Brooks

Recommended By: Bill Gates 

First published in 1969, "Business Adventures" is one of the older books on our list. However, the business stories that John Brooks reports in the book's twelve essays (all of which were previously published by “The New Yorker”) still contain plenty of wisdom and insight for modern entrepreneurs. 

In 2014, Bill Gates penned an entire article on his blog on why "Business Adventures" was the best business book he had ever read. In one of his quotes from this article, Gates says, "Brooks’s deeper insights about business are just as relevant today as they were back then. In terms of its longevity, “Business Adventures” stands alongside Benjamin Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor,” the 1949 book that Warren says is the best book on investing that he has ever read."

7. ‘Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead’ by Sheryl Sandberg

Recommended By: Richard Branson 

In a TED Talk that has since garnered over 11 million views, Sheryl Sandberg explains how women sometimes unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. The talk was so well-received that Sanberg decided to write a book on the topic.

As evidenced by the fact that this book comes recommended by Richard Branson, though, "Lean In" isn't just a book for women entrepreneurs. Its insights and wisdom apply to anyone who wants to be more successful in the business world. In a review of the book, Richard Branson said, "If you loved Sheryl Sandberg’s incredible TEDTalk on why we have too few women leaders, or simply believe as I do that we need equality in the boardroom, then this book is for you."

8. ‘Rework’ by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Recommended By: Jeff Bezos 

"Rework" is a book that promises to teach entrepreneurs a "better, faster, easier way to succeed in business." If you are looking for a startup book that shrugs the conventional at every turn in favor of bolder and more innovative ideas, then "Rework" is a must-read book. 

In a review of Rework, Jeff Bezos said, "Unperturbed by conventional wisdom, [the authors] start fresh and rewrite the rules of business."

9. ‘High Output Management’ by Andrew S. Grove

Recommended By: Ben Horowitz

According to former chairman and CEO of Intel Andrew S. Grove, the art of entrepreneurship can be summed up in a single word: management. In "High Output Management," Grove provides a powerful management manifesto and discusses his perspective on how to build and run a successful company. 

Fellow business magnate Ben Horowitz enjoyed "High Output Management" so much that he agreed to write the forward for the book. He also had this to say about it: "One of my favorite management books by far. In fact, I think it might have been the only management book that I ever read that I liked."

10. ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ by Ben Horowitz

Recommended By: Larry Page

Speaking of Ben Horowitz, he wrote a business book of his own — one that comes highly recommended by Google co-founder Larry Page. In "The Hard Thing About Hard Things," Horowitz offers practical wisdom for managing the toughest challenges of starting and running a business. 

"Ben's book is a great read - with uncomfortable truths about entrepreneurship and how to lead a company," Larry Page said. "It's also an inspiring story of a business rebirth through sheer willpower."

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