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12 Books That Make You Smarter and That Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Updated: Jul 20

The most important investment you will ever make, is the investment in yourself.

It will yield the highest return on investment in the long run, and it's unlikely that you'll succeed if you don't put your personal development first.

A popular proverb says: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best time is now". The time and money that you invest on your development now will have a significant impact on your quality of life in the future.

If you love reading, like me, then this shouldn't be too difficult for you. Just swap your usual read for one of the books below, or another book that will help you succeed along your chosen path.

If reading is not for you, don't worry, it's not just books that increase your intelligence - there are many other options available to you:

  • Courses

  • Internet resources

  • Podcasts

  • Audiobooks

  • Experience



Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you. Any information contained in this post is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation.

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Please read our full disclosure here.

image showing covers of all 12 books

An aspiring entrepreneur should look for development in a variety of areas, such as:

  • Mindset

  • Money management

  • Starting and running businesses

  • People skills

  • Investment

  • Marketing

I have picked the following books because they collectively cover all of the above topics, and are a great place to start on your self-development journey.

Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill

If you're not sure where to start on your self-development journey, then I would highly recommend starting with Think and Grow Rich. The best way to become a millionaire is to think how rich people think, and that's exactly what Napoleon Hill had in mind when he wrote this book.

He spent his life studying some of the most financially successful people of his time, and getting to know their money-making secrets. He summarised his findings and broke them down into 13 distinct steps, and in my opinion, it's one of the best Millionaire Mindset books out there.

The Richest Man in Babylon - George Clason

This book is a classic work of personal finance advice, told through the medium of parables set in ancient Babylon, 4,000 years ago.

Originally written as a series of pamphlets in the 1920s, it has been bound and published as a single book and is a great one to read if you want to learn about money management.

The fictional Babylonian character advises the readers on the "Seven Cures" (how to make money) and the "Five Laws of Gold" (how to protect and invest money).

Money - Rob Moore

As far as books about money go - this one is pretty thorough.

Rob Moore explains the origins of money and why it is necessary, and explains how to "Know More, Make More and Give More".

See money in a way that you've never seen it before, because only when you understand it completely, can you learn to attract it and use it to your advantage.

Rob Moore started out as a property investor, but has since moved into the training business and his company run some great courses on entrepreneurship and property investing.

Rob also has two podcasts: The Disruptive Entrepreneur and The Money Podcast.

Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki

An absolute must-read, and a favourite for property investors, but also for entrepreneurs in general - Rich Dad Poor Dad covers many areas.

Robert Kiyosaki demonstrates the importance of having the right business mindset, as he observed it from his father (his poor dad) and his friend's father (his rich dad).

His poor dad discouraged taking any financial risks and was an advocate of holding a 'safe, secure job'. Unfortunately it didn't do Robert's dad any favours, whereas his rich dad spent his life taking risks and building assets which made him very wealthy in the long run.

The key takeaway from this book is the importance of building assets (things that put money in your pocket) and limiting your liabilities (things that take money away from you). This is the key to long-term passive income.

The Slight Edge - Jeff Olson

Another great book on mindset - Jeff Olson demonstrates that the key to success is to start with your philosophy, and the rest will follow.

Books that make you smarter: graphic from The Slight Edge showing how philosophy effects attitude, which effects actions, which effects results which effects your life.

Change your philosophy (mindset) and that will change your attitude. Your changed attitude will cause you to take different actions which will give you different results. Different results will change your life.

Jeff also explains the importance of consistency in order to succeed at anything.

If you stick at something for just 21 days, it will become a habit and will no longer feel like a chore - it will just be part of your daily routine.

Change your bad habits for productive habits, and you will be well on the way to success.

Check out this blog post, for a list of productive things you can do to replace your bad habits.

How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

The number one self-help book for people skills - published in 1936, it has now sold over 30 million copies, making it one of the best selling books of all time.

The book is split into 4 distinct categories, each broken down into smaller, more manageable steps:

  • Techniques for handling people

  • How to make people like you

  • How to win people to your way of thinking

  • How to be a leader

Good interpersonal skills are one of the most useful assets you can have. I honestly believe that if you're a charismatic people-person, you can get anything you want in life.

If you read this book and implement the steps recommended by Dale Carnegie, you might as well be rich already.



books that make you a better person (pictures of all 12 books)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Steven R. Covey

Another best-seller at over 30 million copies, but published more recently in 1989, Steven Covey's book is another must-read that primarily covers productivity, personal development and people skills. The 7 Habits are split into 3 categories:

  • Independence (self-mastery)

  • Interdependence (working with others)

  • Continuous improvement

The book has been so influential that Bill Clinton invited Steven Covey to counsel him on how to apply the 7 Habits to his US Presidency.

The E-Myth - Michael Gerber

This book completely changed the way I viewed my business. I now understand how my business must operate in order for it to succeed in the long-term.

It's one of the best books for aspiring entrepreneurs, and an absolute must-read if you're considering starting a small business.

Michael Gerber explains why most small businesses fail, and how to avoid these mistakes. He explains the importance of having business processes, and treating your business as the product.

Follow his advice, and you can't go far wrong in the small business world.

The 4-Hour Work Week - Timothy Ferriss

Tim Ferris' book explains how you can automate your business by outsourcing tasks elsewhere, meaning that you only need to spend 4 hours per week running the business yourself - that's the theory anyway.

Outsourcing is an important part of business and is essential to allow your business to grow. You can't do every task yourself right? If you try to do it all yourself, you will likely fail.

Join the 'New Rich' and work from anywhere in the world by implementing Tim Ferris' 4-Hour Work Week strategy.

This is one of the best self-help books for entrepreneurs - I would highly recommend reading it if you're thinking of starting a business.

Key Person of Influence - Daniel Priestly

Become the most influential person in your industry with Daniel Priestley's 5 step method.

What does it meant to be a Key Person of Influence?

  • You are well known to the industry

  • You are highly valued

  • You are highly paid

  • You attract opportunities and money, without having to seek them out

  • You have the power to change the industry

If that doesn't sound awesome to you, then don't read this book.

The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham

Investing is something that everyone should learn to do. Why trade your time for money when you can have your money working for you?

In reality, you'll probably have to do both for a while.

Investing is a long-term game - so it's a good idea to start it early, and reap the rewards in later life.

If you want to learn about investing, then who better to learn from than the 'Father of Value Investing', Benjamin Graham.

Value investing focuses more on the intrinsic value and long term prospects of a company, rather than just it's stock price. If you can accurately value a company using fundamental analysis, you can purchase shares when the price is below the intrinsic value.

Warren Buffet, a former student and colleague of Graham's, and one of the wealthiest men in the world, summarises it as: "Finding and outstanding company at a sensible price".

The Compound Effect - Darren Hardy

The Compound Effect is a term that is commonly heard when referring to investing. It's used to describe the long-term effects of smaller, regular contributions.

For example, say you invest £20 per month, which might seem like a small sum. If the annual interest on that is 8%, in 10 years' time, your investment will be worth in the region of £3,730. £1,300 of that will be interest.

In 20 years' time, your investment will be worth somewhere around £12,000. In 30 years your investment will be worth nearly £18,000!

Imagine what you could do if you applied the Compound Effect to other areas of your life such as your personal development, or your health, or your finances.

Imagine where you'd be in 10 years' time if you spent 30 minutes per day working on a new business venture, or reading 10 pages per day of a business book.

This is the power of the Compound Effect, and if you want to learn more about it, I'd highly recommend hearing about it from Darren Hardy.


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