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Must-Read Books for CEOs & Entrepreneurs & eCommerce Experts

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Often, a wealth of experience is crammed into the pages of good books for entrepreneurs and CEOs. If we look at the habits of successful people, you will see how much they find pleasure in reading books. Here we share some must-reads for success! 

When Warren Buffet started his career, he would read hundreds to thousands of pages per day. Even today, he spends more than 60 percent of his day reading. Elon Musk is a voracious reader; he grew up reading books obsessively – not just for pleasure, but also for knowledge. Believe it or not, he learned to build rockets by reading books. Bill Gates, the second richest person in the world, reads one book per week. Mark Cuban, another successful billionaire, reads for more than three hours every day. Oprah Winfrey is also an avid reader and so are Mark Zuckerberg, Danny Gilbert (Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers), and Arthur Blank (Co-founder of Home Depot).  

Whether you are a small business owner, an eCommerce seller, or an established entrepreneur, there is still much to learn – and you can learn a lot by reading books. Life-long learning is at the core of success. Here are 10 best books for entrepreneurs that should be on your reading list: 

The 10 Best Books for Entrepreneurs, CEOs and Amazon Sellers 

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki 

Part biography, part self-help guide, Rich Dad Poor Dad is about Robert Kiyosaki and his two dads—his real father (poor dad) and his best friend’s father (rich dad)—and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. 

Rich Dad Poor Dad explains the importance of financial literacy for a better meaningful life as well as the major differences between successful and unsuccessful people in the world. He reiterates that without financial know-how, one can end up as a failure despite his achievements and accolades in life.    

Robert Kiyosaki emphasizes six key points throughout the book: 

  • Lesson 1: The Rich Don’t Work for Money 
  • Lesson 2: Why Teach Financial Literacy? 
  • Lesson 3: Mind Your Own Business 
  • Lesson 4: The History of Taxes and The Power of Corporations 
  • Lesson 5: The Rich Invent Money 
  • Lesson 6: Work to Learn—Don’t Work for Money  

If you want to know why certain people succeed while others don’t, then this book is a good start. 

2. The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers, by Alex Banayan 

The Third Door chronicles Alex Banayan’s quest to uncover how successful people broke through and launched their careers. As a college freshman under great parental pressure to succeed, Alex Banayan set out from his dorm room to track down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and a plenty more of entrepreneurs and entertainers he admired.  

After his one-on-one personal encounter with these famous people, he learned the common denominator they shared: they all took the Third Door.  

The Third Door compares life, business and success to a nightclub, which always has three ways in. 

  • There’s the First Door: the main entrance, where 99% of people wait in line, hoping to get in. 
  • The Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through. 
  • The Third Door: It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen—there’s always a way. 

For budding entrepreneurs wanting to learn how the world’s most remarkable people succeeded and how to tackle seemingly impossible obstacles, this is the perfect book! 

3. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, by Seth Godin 

One of the must-have books for entrepreneurs is the Purple Cow. You see, cows are pretty boring to look at. A purple cow though is something else. It describes something phenomenal, counterintuitive, exciting and unbelievable. The book basically tells you to shine out from the crowd, to be remarkable and memorable. It is filled with new insights to help you make your business better, discover your “purple cow”, and then milk it in the most effective way. 

In this book, Seth Godin discusses how something normally bland can be made brilliant with a bit of innovation. He added the idea called the “Purple Cow” to the eight Ps of marketing (product, pricing, promotion, positioning, publicity, packaging, pass-along, and permission). Moreover, the book suggests that being new, different, and unique are integral components that should make up any type of business model. If you consider today’s business climate, you’ll find that most businesses look exactly the same. And as more and more businesses pop up, you can easily be left behind unless you are like a purple cow. 

Additionally, Seth Godin laid out concepts that are easily accessible and speak to people who have no clue about marketing as well as people who are in business leadership. With all that said, if you are in a hunt for fresh ideas in stale markets or ways to stand out and dominate a saturated market like Amazon, Purple Cow is a must-read.  

4. The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan 

In this book, Gary Keller tells us that behind every successful person is their ONE Thing. It explains how to define priorities, determine purpose and achieve productivity in order to perform focused work and attain success.  

The authors propose that there are six lies between you and success: 

  • Everything matters equally 
  • Multitasking 
  • A disciplined life 
  • Willpower is always on will-call 
  • A balanced life 
  • Big is bad 

At the heart of the ONE Thing concept, there is a powerful question:  

“What’s the ONE Thing I can do today such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary?” 

If you are bogged down by distractions from the one thing you really need to be working on, the ONE Thing would be very helpful. It will teach you how to focus on one thing so you can get extraordinary results in every situation. 

So if you’ve been wanting to eliminate interruptions and bring the right focus into your life, we highly recommend that you give this book a try and a time. 

5. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz 

Next on our list of the best books for entrepreneurs is Ben Horowitz’ The Hard Thing About Hard Things. This business advice book captures what it is really like to lead a startup, as Ben Horowitz recounts meaningful moments from his extensive career and shares advice drawn from the things he had learned the hard way over the years. 

The book includes both real-life anecdotes and sound management advice. But the most interesting part of the book talks about Ben Horowitz’ tale about desperately trying to raise money right after the NASDAQ crash when his business was on the verge of bankruptcy and his wife was undergoing a major health crisis. He shared his story with brutal honesty, narrating his own missteps when it came to being an engineer, founder, husband and more. 
 
Whether you are a CEO, an aspiring one, or simply interested in entrepreneurship, you’ve got to read this book. The Hard Thing About Hard Things certainly imparts practical insights for handling the toughest battles when building a start-up. 

6. Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight 

In this book, Phil Knight details the story of how he founded his Nike shoe empire. Each chapter of the book depicts a different year between 1962 and 1980, filled with stories of the company’s humble and fragile beginnings, tough mishaps, and numerous victories. Phil Knight teaches you things that you will not learn anywhere else and you will learn things that you can only learn from his story. 

Shoe Dog also highlights crucial aspects in a business – like managing processes and people, staying updated about the current events around the world, preparing for the changes, and hiring and meeting the right people. Phil Knight also humorously talks about the challenges he faced running his fledging shoe company and even details how he struggled with cash flow, low demand, rapid growth and taking the company public.  

Shoe Dog is all about a tale of a young entrepreneur with a groundbreaking idea who is headed down a straight path to success. If you want to learn insightful entrepreneurial life lessons, Shoe Dog is no doubt chock-full of them.  

7. Good to Great, by Jim Collins 

Have you ever wondered why one company can stand the test of time and yet another one fails so easily? In this management book, Jim Collins describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition. Good to Great is the result of meticulously researched study done by Jim Collins and his team on more than 28 companies to identify the key determinants of success and failure. 

These are the7 characteristics they found out along the way:  

  1. Level 5 Leadership: Leaders who are extremely humble, but incredibly driven to do what’s best for the company. 
  1. First Who, Then What: Assemble a team of great people first and then decide on the strategy or vision for the company to make it great. 
  1. Confront the Brutal Facts: This boils down to facing reality in order to truly make good decisions about the direction of the organization. 
  1. Hedgehog Concept: It’s all about finding what you can be best at, passionate about, and quantifying how to measure your success. 
  1. Culture of Discipline: This means putting the right systems in place and yet there is sufficient freedom for people to deliver results. 
  1. Technology Accelerators: Using technology to accelerate growth, within the three circles of the hedgehog concept. 
  1. The Flywheel: Companies never make a leap from good-to-great with a magnificent moment or grand program. It comes down to the additive effect of many small initiatives until there is a breakthrough. 

If you’re looking for principles that you wish to infuse in your company’s ethos to help you build a lasting business, Good to Great thoughtfully provided essential concepts that can drive your business toward greatness. No doubt this is another must-read book for entrepreneurs, leaders and managers alike! 

8. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport 

This self-help/business book explains what to do about distractions and how to focus on long-term projects and cognitively demanding tasks. Unlike a lot of other business books, it contains practical advice for creative people too. 

In Deep Work, Cal Newport lays out the science of productivity so you can lose yourself in work that matters and not get distracted by unnecessary stuff – such as social media, emails, and phone notifications. It teaches you the skills to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. 

The book is divided into two parts: The first part explains what deep work is and different ways to do it. The second part shows us how to actually do it and make deep work a regular practice in our lives, so we can put it right into action. It’s all about making you better at what you do and giving you the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. 

Do you long for productivity and achievement of gigantic results? You can never go wrong with this book! 

9. Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne 

Blue Ocean is packed with ideas and thoughts on how to create “blue oceans” of uncontested market space. It teaches you to seek avenues where your competition is not looking and to extend your products or services to those markets. 

In this book, Chan Kim and Renée use the metaphor of red and blue oceans to describe the market. Red oceans represent the known market space where countless of businesses compete with each other. Products and services become commodities and cutthroat competition turns the ocean bloody; hence, the term “red oceans”. 

On the contrary, blue oceans describe a market space that is yet to be discovered; it doesn’t exist yet. It is clean and free from the stain of competition, hence there is no need to fight over space. In blue oceans, there is vast opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid. 

In other words, the “blue ocean” strategy means that you find some aspect of your market that nobody is doing, and try to dominate that, rather than fighting it out with other business in your space – a “red ocean” strategy. 

If you want to equip your business with numerous tools and strategies to actively move it from red to blue ocean, this book is surely worth your while. 

10. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, by Brad Stone 

Last but not the least in our top 10 must-read books for entrepreneurs and CEOs is The Everything Store. Everyone of us probably know that Amazon started off as an online bookstore, delivering books through the mail. Now, Amazon has become literally “The Everything Store”.  

This book is the definitive story of Amazon.com and of its brilliant founder, Jeff Bezos. It is named after Jeff’s overarching dream to create an online retail outlet that supplies “everything to everyone.”  He came up with the idea back in the early 1990s when he was working at a quantitative hedge fund on Wall Street. He left soon after to open his digital bookshop. 

Whether you are a small business owner or the CEO of a large enterprise, here are a few of Amazon’s leadership principles

  • Have Backbone, Disagree and Commit: Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly. 
  • Vocally Self Critical: Leaders come forward with problems or information, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. 
  • Think Big: Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers. 
  • Bias for Action: Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk-taking. 

If you are interested in learning the history or the future of online entities, or simply want to gain a better understanding of Amazon.com, The Everything Store got you covered.

For anyone looking to start their own business, be it a brick-and-mortar store, a digital shop or on an eCommerce platform like Amazon, these 10 best books for entrepreneurs and CEOs can give you the push you need to finally take a step forward in reaching your business goals.  

For Amazon sellers who want to streamline their processes and take their business to greater heights, SellerMobile is here to help you. Get in touch so we can talk about your plans.  

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Stephanie Academia

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