12 Must-Read Book Recommendations From Millionaire Entrepreneurs

February 22, 2016

A good book is every successful entrepreneur’s constant companion. Here are top recommendations and reviews from millionaire entrepreneurs.


Most successful people have mentors and coaches. Every successful person has a favorite books list. These millionaire entrepreneurs say their favorite books have had a significant impact on their success, and they have shared their must-read lists with me. Enjoy!

Karen Hough, founder and CEO, ImprovEdge, LLC

1. Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

Everyone on the planet should read this book. Although it focuses on gender discrepancies, I give it to my male colleagues and they all are bowled over by it. The book explores the mistakes and social pressure on women in negotiation situations and the ways we ruin deals for ourselves throughout life. It was incredibly eye-opening.

2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath

This book is a knock-down, storytelling marvel. It explains why simplicity, analogy, and storytelling are so powerful. It helped me focus on how I talk about my company, engage my employees, and take our message of improv and learning to the world. Read it.

3. Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever: Break the Rules, Make Mistakes and Win Them Over by Karen Hough

Busted! This is my book. It’s authenticity and passion that win people over, not polish. This book lets presenters off the hook, and allows them to be their living, breathing, occasionally clumsy selves.

The book debunks over a dozen myths about presenting, to make it more fun and natural for everyone. I explain why you should never practice in front of a mirror, end on questions, and much more. You’ll be able to tear up the old rules, and embrace and develop your own style.

Candice Galek, founder and CEO, Bikini Luxe

4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

“Always avoid strength and attack weakness.”

In business, especially when starting out, it is vital that you know not only your own strengths and weaknesses, but your competition’s as well. This means looking for niches that your competition is either overlooking or lacking in.

5. Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso

This book was really inspirational to me in the creation of Bikini Luxe. Sophia Amoruso details how she went from a dumpster diving hobo to the head of a $100 million e-commerce website. She outlines some of the key points to her success, as well as pitfalls to avoid when starting an online business.

I found it not only a fantastic read but a great step-by-step guide to succeeding in selling online.

6. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

My favorite quote from this book is “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” I have taken this to heart by always working to make negative situations positive ones.

When interacting with negative influences or obstacles, I look to find the good in both to not only view the world differently, but also to create a positive outcome from the situation. Just by changing my view of the situation, often the situation itself changes.

Leon Rbibo, president, The Pearl Source

7. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White

Yeah, I already know what you’re thinking. A writing book? Are you kidding me? I already know how to write. Here’s the problem: You probably think you already know how to write, but it’s likely you don’t–or at the very least you could use some improvement.

I’m absolutely astonished on a daily basis when I read poorly written sales pitches, partnership plans, marketing proposals, etc. You’d be amazed. If you can’t write–if you can’t clearly and concisely express yourself, your goals, your objectives, and your strategy–you’re not going to make it very far as an entrepreneur.

Rewrite your elevator pitch after reading this book. I guarantee you’ll impress yourself

8. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

If you don’t know how this country came to be–and the stories of the people who got us here–you’re doing yourself a major disservice. You cannot propel yourself forward until you discover, not only the mistakes, but also the brilliant minds and innovations of the past.

This book takes a look at business, politics, and culture through the eyes of everyday people: immigrants, factory workers, businessmen and the founders of this country. This is no U.S. history textbook. It goes beyond what you might learn in today’s classrooms.

Marsha Lindsay, founder and chair, Lindsay, Stone & Briggs

9. Ten Types of  Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs by Larry Keeley, Brian Quinn, and others at Doblin

It turns out that for years, many of us have erroneously assumed that the fastest way to grow a business is with an innovative new product or service. Fifteen years of research, detailed in this book, reveals that product innovation is just one type, and in fact it is the one that generates the least return. It turns out launching a concept built with three or more of the 10 types dramatically increases one’s odds of success.

10. Drinking From the Fire Hose: Making Smarter Decisions Without Drowning in Information by Christopher Frank and Paul Magnone

Today, we can measure thousands of things in finance and marketing. And all the data that’s produced can be overwhelming. This book has given me a method for sorting out what data to gather that is most critical to my business and the clients I serve. So now, not only is my “data anxiety” quite low; I’m also better at separating noise from insight, and faster at making better decisions.

Karen Kane, designer, founder, and CEO, Karen Kane and Fifteen Twenty

11. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Anyone who works in a creative industry should read this book. As a designer, I’m fascinated by trends and changes in shopping habits. This book dives deep into this subject, and provides great insight into the lifecycle of trends. The anecdotes included are very relatable, and it gives you a key takeaways that you can apply to your business strategy.

12. Yves Saint Laurent by Florence Chenoune and Farid Muller

Whatever industry you’re in, it’s important to understand its history. I love reading about icons in fashion who have made lasting contributions to our industry and changed the way our business is run. I find it inspiring and exciting to learn about how much has changed in such a short time.

How many of these books have you read? Share your must-reads with us here.

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