12 Best Self-Help Books for Entrepreneurs

Man reading book on couch.

British novelist Roald Dahl said, "If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books." As some of the most goal-driven and motivated among us, this is especially true for entrepreneurs and startup founders.

Self-improvement books help entrepreneurs hone their most valuable tool — their own minds — and can serve as sources of motivation, inspiration, and new knowledge alike. With that said, let's take a look at the best self-help books for entrepreneurs.

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Top Self-Improvement Books for Startup Founders

Below, we've compiled a list of some of the best startup books on the market today. If you are looking for some must-read books to help you reach your entrepreneurial goals, be sure to check out these 12 informative and inspiring volumes.

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

1. ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear

Habits can be good or bad, but they have a big impact on an entrepreneur’s outcomes either way. The ability to control your habits is a crucial skill for entrepreneurs to possess.

Even if you don’t feel as if your habits control you, learning how to control them can still be highly beneficial. In “Atomic Habits,” author James Clear offers evidence-based strategies for transforming your habits, eliminating bad habits that are holding you back, and encouraging new, good habits that will set you up for success.

2. ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie

First published in 1936, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is the oldest title on our list. Just because it's old, though, doesn't mean its wisdom is outdated.

"How to Win Friends and Influence People" teaches you the art of motivating others and rallying them behind your cause. And when it comes to succeeding as an entrepreneur, few skills are more valuable than the ability to motivate others.

3. ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’ by Carol S. Dweck

The right mindset can take you a long way — both as an entrepreneur and in life in general. Best of all, your mindset is one of the few things you can directly control regardless of your circumstances.

In “Mindset,” Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck covers the psychological principles that people can use to adopt and foster a growth mindset that will set them up for success no matter their pursuits.

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

"Rework" is a book that is said to be written for "hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of 'downsizing,' and artists who don't want to starve anymore." Unlike many business books, rework doesn't focus on the specifics of starting a new business. Instead, it focuses on how entrepreneurs can improve their own productivity and gain exposure.

It's always nice to have a few books that approach the topic of entrepreneurship from a different angle, and "Rework" is certainly one of the more unique business books that you will find.

5. ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Timothy Ferriss

How would you like to eliminate 50% of your workload in just 48 hours? While that may sound ambitious, it's exactly what "The 4-Hour Workweek" promises to deliver.

"The 4-Hour Workweek" teaches readers how to structure their work week, delegate, and outsource so that they have more time and freedom. It's a book about productivity and time management for entrepreneurs and one that is sure to make your life as an entrepreneur a little less tedious.

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

6. ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill

Becoming wealthy may or may not be your primary goal as an entrepreneur. If you are like most entrepreneurs, though, then wealth is certainly a key motivator.

Said to be inspired by business magnate Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill published “Think and Grow Rich” in 1937 as a personal development and self-improvement book designed to help people adopt the same growth mindset of the wealthy.

7. ‘The $100 Startup’ by Chris Guillebeau

One of the biggest obstacles that keeps many would-be startup owners from chasing their dreams is a lack of funds. But what if you were able to launch a successful company for less than what it costs to go out on a date night?

In "The $100 Startup" Chris Guillebeau teaches readers how to turn their passions and skills into a microbusiness that costs less than $100 to get started. It also provides plenty of motivation and inspiration to help readers figure out exactly what they want to do with their lives.

8. ‘Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business’ by Charles Duhigg

“Work smarter, not harder” is a piece of advice that every entrepreneur should take to heart. By learning how to be more productive without overburdening yourself, it becomes much easier to accomplish your entrepreneurial goals.

In “Smarter, Faster, Better,” Charles Duhigg dives into the science of productivity, offering actionable advice that readers can use to improve their productivity by working smarter rather than harder.

9. ‘Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less’ by Greg McKeown

Sometimes less is more. This is especially true when it comes to how much labor and effort it takes to reach your goals.

“Essentialism” is a book designed to help readers make the wisest possible use of their time by focusing on the most essential tasks. If you are like most entrepreneurs and feel as though there simply isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished, then this is a great book to check out.

10. ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead’ by Brené Brown

Succeeding as an entrepreneur requires being open to vulnerability. Those who are risk-averse and afraid to put it all on the line need not apply.

In “Daring Greatly,” author Brené Brown makes a case for how having the courage to be vulnerable improves how we love, parent, lead, and live life. If the risks of chasing your dreams have got you worried, “Daring Greatly” is an inspiring book to read.

11. ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ by David Schwartz

People are far too often limited by their own ambitions. If you want to live the life you’ve always wanted, it is essential to dream big.

Today renowned as one of the most influential self-help books of all time, “The Magic of Thinking Big” details how to adopt a more ambitious mindset and the value that is gained when you are able to eliminate the limits that you place on yourself.

12. ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson

The only constant in the world is that everything changes. In order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to embrace and capitalize on change rather than being intimidated by it.

The humorously titled “Who Moved My Cheese” is a book about dealing with change and finding the opportunities within. It’s also told in the form of a parable, making it one of the more unique and entertaining books on our list.

What’s your favorite self-help book for entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments!

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