I’m a big reader. Huge in fact. When I came on board with Jungle Scout, this was a well-known fact. I knew joining the content team, that eventually I’d have to write something about the best entrepreneur books for entrepreneurs and Amazon sellers. Because that’s what happens when you’re a voracious reader and Amazon seller and write for Jungle Scout!
This “Best entrepreneur books for Amazon sellers” guide has been put together with the Amazon seller in mind, but really, these books are useful for any entrepreneur.
70 Best Entrepreneur Books for Amazon Sellers
Coming up with a list of books is never easy, of course. On my Instagram page, plenty ask, “Hey, Dave! What should I read?” Problem is, I don’t know what they’ve read or where they’re at in the cycle. So I have to ask, like a billion questions.
When writing this blog post, I had similar issues. However, unlike my Instagram account, there was no way for me to ask you, the reader, which books you’d already read. Therefore, it made sense just to list as many books as I could on as many important subjects as possible and then put them in order by difficulty.
Behold, my list of 70 Best Entrepreneur Books for Entrepreneurs.
But before dive in to the actual list, how about a few tips and tricks on reading more…
How to Read More Books
Moreso than book suggestions, the other thing I get asked a lot is “how to read 200 books per year.” Here’s the six reading basic rules I live by to help you read more books:
- Set a reading time for yourself every day.
- Create daily reading goals.
- Get rid of distractions.
- Don’t waste your time with boring books.
- Skim what should be skimmed.
- Reward yourself for meeting your daily reading goals.
200 books seems like an amazing feat. Something that only superhuman intellects can accomplish. However, I’m hardly a superhuman intellect, and reading a ton of books isn’t really that hard unless you’ve got some sort of disability that makes it more difficult (dyslexia, etc).
Reading is all about two things: commitment and consistency. That’s it. No big secret. You just have to do it.
Of course, in our smart phone dominated world, a book seems pretty boring, doesn’t it? After all, you can scroll through pics of cats on Facebook or see what your favorite nutty world leader is saying on Twitter.
So before I launch into the list of 101 best entrepreneur books for Amazon sellers, here’s five simple tips for effective reading:
Set a reading time for yourself every day.
For me, my reading time is just after my son goes to bed each evening at 8pm. I read in the living room in my favorite reading chair (unless one of my two fat cats has stolen the space) and I make it a point to knock out my reading for the day. Know when the best time for you to read is, and stick to it.
Create daily reading goals.
The average person reads roughly a page a minute. Therefore, in an hour, you should be able to read 45-60 pages in a book. If you’re slower, that’s okay. Even I get slow on some subjects. The first few times you sit down to read, time yourself to see how long it takes. Then, armed with that data, set daily reading goals for yourself. You’ll later use these to tie in rewards.
Get rid of distractions.
Next, I get rid of my cell phone. It’s the biggest hog for my attention and it’s deadly. I know the moment I click on the blue Facebook icon I’m going to lose about 15 minutes. So I put it into a drawer in the bedroom and try to get as far away from it as possible. Figure out what your biggest distractions are and distance yourself from them.
Don’t read it if it’s boring.
This one may come as a surprise to a lot of folks. But I preach that if a book isn’t holding your interest, it’s probably not worth reading. If I’m slogging through a book and I just want it to end, I do just that. I put it away and start on something more interesting. One thing I recommend, too, is that if you’re a beginner, start with beginner books. I understand the desire to jump ahead to the big stuff, but having that backlog of basic concepts will help when you’re up against complicated/boring books.
Skim what should be skimmed.
A lot of business books, especially those on the beginner level, are chock full of fluff and anecdotes. Gladwell, Duhigg, Seth Godin are all perpertrators of this. Fortunately, you can ignore a lot of that stuff and just find the nuggets. It may not be as exciting to read the book (and you’ll feel like you’ve cheated a little) but the purpose is to learn.
Reward yourself for meeting your daily reading goals.
I love binge watching TV shows. Next to my cell phone, Netflix and Hulu are probably the biggest thieves of my time. Therefore, I’ve given myself a system where I will only allow myself to watch 1 minute of television per page I’ve read that day.
So if I want to watch an episode of Black Mirror, I need to read at least 50 pages of a book. More often than not, I end up reading for two hours (because I get super interested in a topic) and totally forget about watching TV altogether.
I’m pretty hardcore, too. If I don’t use up my minutes for that day, I can’t use them the next day. You can reward yourself the same way. Find out what it is that you enjoy doing every day, and limit yourself based on the amount of reading you get done in advance.
How to Speed Read
Personally, I’m not a fan of speed reading, and a lot of the techniques that go into speed reading are a bit of a myth. Maybe that’s just me. Who knows? It could work for you!
Having said that, for those of you that are interested in speed reading techniques to help you get through some of the best entrepreneur books listed on this page, here’s the three basic techniques speed-readers use:
- Synopisization. Instead of reading line-by-line, speed-readers quickly create a synopsis of each “chunk” of text in their mind.
- Reduction of back-skipping and regression. This is when you go backwards to reread what you’ve already read.
- Increase of horizontal vision span. In other words, instead of reading each word, focus on the paragraph itself and find words in your peripheral vision.
Fortunately, a lot of business books and blogs (this one included) are designed to convey information faster. Regardless, if you’re interested in learning more, Tim Ferriss actually offers a more in-depth look into speed reading.
Dave’s List of 70 Best Entrepreneur Books for Amazon Sellers
Okay, without any further ado, here’s the list of books. I’ve broken them down like so:
- First, each book is in its appropriate category. Of course, there might be some overlap with topics, but the category the book lands in is the one I feel its most useful for.
- Each book is numbered in order of which I think you should read them, the first being “beginner” and last being “advanced.”
Best business books for entrepreneurs.
Here’s a few great business books to get started on the entrepreneurial path.
- $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. The perfect “gateway” business book for those who are afraid they need a ton of capital to start a business.
- Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hannson. A cool book that helps break the typical business mold. Supposedly, this is Greg Mercer’s favorite book.
- The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. This book more or less outlines the methods of private label and then goes a bit further and teaches you a few hacks for living the life of your dreams. This is the book I read just before quitting my full time job three years ago.
- The Everything Store by Brad Stone. This book is about Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s history. If you’re going to sell on Amazon, you should learn a little bit about the company, no?
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Cool methods for testing products without spending a ton of resources. Most of Silicon Valley treats this book like their bible.
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Did you know you have a better chance getting funds for your business wearing a Star Trek t-shirt than wearing a suit? From a super successful venture capitalist, this book has a ton of modern business theory in it.
- The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. Do you own a business or do you own a job? This book will help you decide.
- Alibaba’s World by Porter Erisman. If you’re going to learn about Amazon, might as well learn about Alibaba, too.
- Running Lean by Ash Maurya. This business book actually implements the methods laid out in The Lean Startup. Also, this book introduces the all-too-cool one-page business plan, The Lean Canvas.
- The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman. Businesses have troubles. This book will show you how others throughout history overcame their own.
Best self-improvement books for entrepreneurs.
Next, to get your mind right to be an effect entrepreneur, you’ll need a few books on self-improvement to get you going.
- Managing Oneself by Peter F Drucker. This tiny little book will help you figure out who you are and how you can best use your talents to achieve success.
- The One Thing by Gary Keller. Focus, willpower, and goal setting are the name of the game in this one. It’s one of my favorite books of all time.
- Make Your Bed by William McRaven. A retired Navy Admiral teaches the lessons that helped him through all his years in the service.
- Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Learn from the best of the best of the best in this cool compilation of interviews. It’s almost written like a “choose-your-own-adventure” novel, too. Kinda. Not really. But it’s fun!
- Choose Yourself by James Altucher. The world is changing, so you better change with it. Informative and funny!
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. The contents of this book will not only blow your mind, but almost feel too powerful to know. Dangerous stuff!
- Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnie led and interesting life, and his philosophies and world views are super inspiring.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Think your life is tough? Try being a concentration camp survivor. This book helps me find perspective when I’m complaining about “first-worldy” problems.
- The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. Hey, you gotta stay healthy, too. Fortunately, hack-master Tim Ferriss offers tons of cool tips on how to do just that.
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. A 2,000 year old classic that’s still revered as one of the greatest self-help books of all time.
Best psychology books for entrepreneurs.
When you’ve got a business, you’re dealing with people, regardless if those people are right in front of you or on the other end of the Amazon ordering channel. Here’s a few of my favorites:
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Tons of cool insights, but most importantly, it has notes on the infamous 10,000 hour rule.
- Why We Buy by Paco Underhill. What better way to learn what your shoppers are thinking than reading the research of those who dared to find out exactly that.
- Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. People aren’t as rational as they think they are. Here’s proof. By the way, this is my most gifted book.
- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. More cool behavioral economics stuff to complement Thinking Fast and Slow.
- Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. When you’re really into something, why does it seem like time disappears? This book helps you figure out why.
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. We’ve all got habits, good and bad. Here’s a book that will help you figure out how to improve the good ones and get rid of the lousy ones.
- The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. Like the 48 Laws of Power, here’s another book that could potentially be dangerous in the wrong hands.
- Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud. From the grandmaster himself, learn how to balance the desire for individuality and the expectations of society.
Best communication books for entrepreneurs.
Once you have a grasp on business and can understand how people think, you’ve got to learn how to communicate with them. The best entrepreneur books for communication aren’t just those that teach you how to speak to people directly, but also those that help you write well and speak in front of an audience.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. There’s a reason that this book is still in print more than 80 years later. It’s that good.
- On Writing by Stephen King. Writing well is not an optional skill; you need to know how to do it. So why not learn from the master of suspense himself? By the way, you need to learn about suspense to write copy, too!
- The Everything Guide to Writing Copy by Steve Slaunwhite. Good copy writing is essential to success selling products online since nine times out of ten you only have your words to help you sell.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. This tiny book with very black and white directions on how to write well still holds a ton of power. And it’s just about to celebrate it’s 100th birthday, too!
- Ted Talks by Chris Anderson. Public speaking is a big deal. So why not learn from the folks who do Ted Talks?
- The Hero of a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. A big part of writing copy is taking your customers on a journey. This look at myths and storytelling through the centuries can help. Fun fact: this is the philosopher who helped Lucas write Star Wars!
- Thank You For Arguing by Jay Heinrichs. Rhetoric (also called arguing) is a powerful skill to help convince others of your point of view. This tome of tips and tricks will help you get great at it.
Best sales books for entrepreneurs.
Sales is the next logical step for a great communicator. 50% of sales is getting into the head over who you’re selling to and another 50% of getting out of your own head and overcoming obstacles you might have closing. Here’s a selection of the best entrepreneur books for sales:
- To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink. It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, teacher, or standing on a used car lot. You’ve got to know how to sell.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. I was tempted to put this into the best books on psychology section, but I think it might work better as a sales guide. Highly recommended by nearly ever entrepreneur in the world.
- Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini. The perfect follow-up (ironically) to Influence, Pre-Suasion covers the things you do before you go for the sale.
- When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead by Jerry Weintraub. One of the craziest memoirs I’ve ever read, you won’t believe the number of people this guy worked with. Everyone from Elvis to George Clooney.
- The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone. This is definitely a skimmable book, but some of the ideas are still pretty good. More or less, Grant states if you want to be the best at something do 10x more work than the next best person.
Best leadership books for entrepreneurs.
Now that you can write and speak well and can sell, it’s time to start leading. Regardless of whether or not you want a big company with hundreds of thousands of employees or a small company where it’s just you, there’s always going to be someone you need to lead. Here’s some of my favorite best entrepreneur books for leading:
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek. At the core of every good company is a “why” not a “what.” Powerful stuff. I was tempted to put three Sinek books on this list, but decided to go with just the two.
- Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. A blend of military leadership methods, human psychology and physiology, and just plain good business sense–I almost prefer this Sinek over Start With Why.
- Give and Take by Adam Grant. Is it better to give more than you get? Wharton School of Business professor, Adam Grant, helps us decide.
- Good to Great by Jim Collins. Collins breaks down why certain companies are just “good” and why others are “great” using tons and tons of research data.
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu. A ton of wisdom can be gained through reading the strategies and tactics of 2,500 year-old Chinese general.
Best marketing books for entrepreneurs.
As a business owner, you’re marketing 24-7. And marketing isn’t just throwing money at ads, either. You’ve got to understand a whole lot of different things before you can even get started (hence why all those other categories came first). Here’s some of the best entrepreneur books for marketing:
- Purple Cow by Seth Godin. It pays to stand out from the herd. I mention this book a lot in my marketing resources.
- Jab Jab Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. If you’re always going for the sale–aka throwing “right hooks”–you’ll tire yourself out and “lose the fight.” While some of the social media stuff in this book is a little outdated (it was published in 2012), the broader ideas are still sound.
- Blue Ocean Strategy by W Chan Kim. The recurring theme you’ll get from a ton of marketing strategists is the push to start with niche markets and expand outward. This is the book that started it all.
- Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson. If you ever want to build a website that makes a whole lot of money, start with this book.
- Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson. This is the companion piece to Dotcom Secrets. It’s a little more advanced, but just as useful.
- Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. It’s amazing that this book was written back in the ’90s and understood then what still so few understand now: you can’t constantly attack people asking for a sale. They’ve got to come to you, first.
- Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. I just read this one this year and it’s already at the top of the list for best reads of 2018. Moore gives the exact strategy for starting in a niche market and expanding outward.
Best design books for entrepreneurs.
I’m tempted to put this one just one step above the best marketing books for entrepreneur, but design is a pretty important part of creating products, too. Here’s a few best entrepreneur books for design:
- Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” And if Picasso isn’t an old enough reference for you, then remember what King Solomon said: “There is nothing new under the sun.” So if you can’t be totally original, why not just emulate what already works and make it better?
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Want to learn design? Start by reading about the guy who was so obsesssed with design perfection he couldn’t even buy furniture for his house. And, oh yeah, he also started a little company called Apple Computers. Biographies, if you weren’t already aware, make some of the best entrepreneur books you can read.
- The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. It’s crazy how much bad design is out there in the world. Part comedy and part design strategy guide, this book helps you avoid shit design methods.
- UX Strategy by Jamie Levy. Once you have a good understanding for the principles of design, start learning how to tie it all together through UX–or user experience. This book was written with the technologist in mind, but some of the practices can be put to great use for Amazon product designers, too.
Best technology books for entrepreneurs.
Okay, you don’t have to be a hardcore information architect or anything like that, but you do need to understand at least some of the basics of computer science. And yes, I definitely recommend learning a few coding languages.
- Understanding the Digital Age by Brian Kernighan. If you’re going to make money online, then one of the best entrepreneur books to start getting an idea of how everything works is this recent book which covers… well, everything. It actually breaks down how it all works from the difference between decimal and binary number systems to the super advanced world of cryptography.
- The Innovators by Walter Isaacson. Understanding the Digital Age will give you a brief view of the history of computers, but if you really want to learn about the movers and shakers, this big, fat Isaacson book will give you the roadmap from automated looms in the 1800s to the internet pioneers of today.
- HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett. Yep. You should probably learn some coding, too. But don’t worry, HTML & CSS, the two most basic front end languages out there, are super easy to learn. While I recommend an actual course or bootcamp for learning these languages, this book makes the perfect reference document to help your studies.
Best money and investing books for entrepreneurs.
Next, money is the name of the game, innit? After all, even if it’s not top of your mind, you need it to run a business. So here’s the best entrepreneur books I love for money and investing:
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley. One of the best entrepreneur books around that’ll help you dream big (yet think conservatively) is Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door. If you think that the average American millionaire is a guy wearing $500 Ray-Bans sitting on the hood of a Lamborghini, guess again. It’s probably the plumber living next door to you.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Stanley’s Millionaire Next Door shares the secret to millionaire lives with you, and Kiyosaki’s classic Rich Dad Poor Dad actually gives you a few pointers on how to get there.
- Buffett by Roger Lowenstein. Want to be rich? Then why not learn from one of the richest men in the world? Buffet’s life story is pretty nuts. Plus, he’s a fundamentalist investor, which is probably the purest form of investing there is.
- Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb. Here’s another book that sheds light on those “successful” people you see everywhere, especially stock brokers. Most were just lucky souls who you’ve only heard about thanks to the survivorship bias. This is, in my opinion, Taleb’s best book, too (he gets kinda crazy later on).
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel. Another book that steals the glitz and glamour away from the world of stocks, bonds, trading, etc. But if you want a crash course in the history of markets and how everything works, look no further than this classic.
- The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. This is considered by many to be the fundamentalist investor’s guidebook. Written by Warren Buffett’s mentor way back in the ’40s, like How to Win Friends and Influence People and the Elements of Style, it’s almost impossible to top this one when it comes to being one of the best entrepreneur books for aspiring investors.
Other great books to read (which are all secretly best entrepreneur books, too).
Finally, not all best entrepreneur books are easily lumped into one category or another. Here’s a handful of books I recommend to help you expand your mind:
- Sapiens by Yuval Harari. It’s about the history of the human race. So obviously, this book is huge. Don’t let that scare you, though, it’s a pretty fun read. Plus, you’ll find this on the top recommendations list of countless successful people (including those I pictured throughout the post).
- Cosmos by Carl Sagan. And if you think the history of the human race is a big topic, try the Universe. I absolutely adore this book, and I often put it at the top of my reading recommendation lists. It helps me put everything into perspective.
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Believe it or not, this Hemingway classic is one of the best entrepreneur books you can read. After all, being an entrepreneur means struggling with your desire to create something–and sometimes that struggle is like being at sea fighting a giant fish.
- The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo. One of the most published books in the history, it’s full of great insights. “There is only one way to learn. It’s through action.”
So there you have it! Of course, there’s probably still a whole bunch of best entrepreneur books that I’m forgetting about (when you read 200-some a year, it’s easy to forget what you’ve read), but this is a list to get you started on the right path.
Talk to me!
Now it’s your turn! What are some of the best entrepreneur books that you’ve read?
Let me know in the comments below.