russia has launched a full-scale war in Ukraine! Headway asks you to donate to the charity fund to protect Ukraine and the world’s peace. Support Ukraine


10 Books Every Business Owner Needs to Read ASAP

Are you an entrepreneur looking to improve your business skills? Check out this list of the best books for business owners, and start learning from the best in the industry!

As a business owner, you’re well aware of the importance of personal development. After all, it’s essential to continuously learn and grow if you want your business to succeed. But with so many different books out there on the subject, it can be difficult to know which ones are worth reading.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best books for business owners. Whether you’re looking to improve your communication skills or learn more about strategic growth, these books will give you the insights and advice you need to take your business to the next level.

10 must-read books for business owners

1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

This book is a must-read for business owners of every kind, industry, and experience level. It’s the product of five years of research by Jim Collins and his research team on the issue of success and what makes a company great. He looks at a number of companies that have made the leap from good to great and uncovers the common denominators that made them successful.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t was first published in 2011 and since then has become an internationally acclaimed book. It’s sold a whopping four million copies worldwide and is a common reference for leading entrepreneurs, business instructors, and aspiring CEOs.

2. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

If there’s one thing that we know about the future of the workforce, it’s that women will have a well-deserved place in it. Gone are the days of patriarchal systems and narrow-minded narratives — society has come to a place where it both appreciates and needs female talent.

This is a narrative passionately supported by Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. In it, the acclaimed speaker and business executive delves deep into the topic of women in business by discussing progress in the field, common obstacles, the reasons for them, and how they can be overcome.

The book was co-authored by Nell Scovell and has accumulated a massive following worldwide since its initial publication in 2013. While it focuses on the subject of feminism, Lean In is a highly-encouraged read for anyone interested in getting an eloquent, perceptive, and inspiring look at the modern business world from one of its top performers.

3. Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg

What three defining words can make the difference between mediocrity and true business success? According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author Charles Duhigg, the answer is smarter, faster, and better.

In his book, sharing the same name, Duhigg takes readers on a journey through the science of productivity in order to understand how successful people and organizations get things done. He looks into case studies and real-life examples in order to break down the concept of productivity into smaller, more manageable pieces that can be applied to any business.

This is a book that’s perfect for business owners who are looking to increase efficiency and optimize productivity within their company. It’s one of several prominent publications from Duhigg, an author that we highly recommend looking further into if you’re interested in the topic of entrepreneurial success.

4. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

‘Why’ is one of the most important questions that you can ask as a business owner. It’s a question of purpose — what is the fundamental reason that your company exists, and what motivates you to continue working hard day in and day out?

These are the questions that Simon Sinek attempts to answer in his book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action. In it, the world-renowned author, motivational speaker, and business consultant takes a look at some of the most successful companies and leaders in the world to see what it is that drives them to achieve greatness. Reading this book is like going on an insightful journey that you won’t want to come back from. It’s highly recommended for anyone interested in the philosophy behind great leadership or an engaging read in general. 

5. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Being one of the pioneers of the lean startup movement, it’s only fitting that we include Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses on this list. The book was first published in 2011 and has served as a bible of sorts for startup companies and entrepreneurs ever since.

In The Lean Startup, Ries outlines his methodology — a process through which businesses can reduce waste, save time and money, and increase their chances of success by following a systematic approach to innovation. He stipulates that there are five principles that every lean startup should adhere to: 

  • build-measure-learn;

  • validated learning;

  • innovation accounting;

  • entrepreneurs are everywhere;

  • entrepreneurship is management.

Explaining each concept in detail, The Lean Startup provides entrepreneurs with a comprehensive framework that they can follow to build and grow their businesses in the most efficient way possible. If you’re looking for a book that will teach you how to build a successful startup from the ground up, then this is it.

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

Anyone already initiated into the business world knows that it’s hard. Really hard. There are constant challenges and obstacles to overcome, and often it feels like there’s no blueprint to success. This is what co-founder and general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Ben Horowitz, discusses in his book The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers.

Based on the author’s own experiences, this book is a no-bull guide to business, covering everything from how to raise capital and hire the right people to how to deal with failure and manage difficult situations. Horowitz doesn’t shy away from the hard truths, and this is what makes his book so valuable.

7. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

While we’ve already covered a Charles Duhigg book on this list, The Power of Habit is simply too important not to mention. The book takes a close look at the science of habit formation and how it applies to both our personal lives and businesses. Duhigg argues that habit is one of the most powerful forces in our lives and that by understanding how it works, we can learn to harness its power to achieve our goals.

The Power of Habit is essential reading for anyone who wants to change their life for the better, whether it’s quitting a bad habit, developing a new skill, or growing their business. The book is packed with insights and practical advice, and it will leave you feeling inspired and motivated to make positive changes in your life.

8. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

There are a few key skills that every entrepreneur must hone to succeed in business, and negotiation is one of them. In Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss and author Tahl Raz share their secrets to successful negotiation.

They explain the human bond that exists between negotiator and hostage and how this can be used to create rapport and trust. They also share techniques for reading body language and using psychology to your advantage in any negotiation.

9. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

US Navy SEALs are notorious for their resilience, discipline, and ability to achieve their goals, no matter how difficult. This is a valuable trait that all entrepreneurs can learn from. In their book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin share the leadership principles ingrained in them during their tenures as Navy SEALs and apply them to the business world.

The book is full of inspiring stories and practical advice, and it will teach you how to take responsibility for your team’s success, make decisions under pressure and create a winning culture in your organization.

10. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

This book is a good one for any entrepreneur whose business model focuses on the sale of proprietary products. It delves into detail on how to design products that users will get addicted to and provides a framework for creating these types of products.

‘The Hook Model,’ as author Nir Eyal terms it, has four steps: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment. He goes into great detail on each step and how it can be applied to product design. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to create products that users will love.

Wrapping it up

There’s no instruction manual to owning a business. Success is something that comes with time, experience, and a whole lot of trial and error. However, there are a few key principles that all entrepreneurs can learn from, and these books are a great place to start. By taking a dedicated approach to your personal and professional development, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your business ownership goals.

Introducing Headway

Interested in advancing your business insight but don’t have the time to read a book cover-to-cover? Try the Headway app. It’s been designed with the modern learner in mind, condensing key takeaways from essential concepts into bite-sized, actionable insights that you can apply to your life immediately. And the best part is that all the books on this list are available on the Headway app, so you can learn the key ideas from each book by reading or listening to 15-minute summaries. Download it today to get started!


What is the best business book?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single answer to this question. What constitutes ‘the best business book’ will differ from person to person, depending on their individual circumstances and preferences. However, some popular titles that come to mind include The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco, and The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

Why should business owners read?

There are a number of reasons why business owners should make reading a priority. First and foremost, it allows you to keep up with the latest industry trends and developments. Additionally, reading helps to sharpen your mind and improve your critical thinking skills. Finally, books can provide valuable insights and lessons that you can apply to your own business.

Does reading make you more successful?

There’s no guarantee that reading will make you more successful, but it certainly can’t hurt. By reading books on business, you’ll gain insights into the minds of successful entrepreneurs and learn from their successes (and failures). You’ll also develop new skills and knowledge that you can apply to your own business. So while there’s no guarantee of success, reading can definitely give you a leg up.

Join our email list with 40K+ people for more helpful insights

Read more