5 Must-Read Business Books for Business Owners & Entrepreneurs

Written by
Zachary Pestana
Last Modified on
December 19, 2023

According to Forbes, approximately 11,000 business books are published each year - that is almost 1,000 books a month! To save you the trouble of reading book reviews to find out which one is worth your time, here is a narrowed down list of options to consider. As voted by 100 famous entrepreneurs, these are the top 5 must-read business books of all time.

5 Must-Read Business Books for Business Owners:

1. The Innovator's Dilemma

Author: Clayton M. ChristensenFirst Published: 1997Page Count: 336

Must-read business books | The Innovator's Dilemma

This book very much explains how good management is key to developing a business. Managers play an important role in making decisions. The book refreshes business owners and entrepreneurs with the small things that are crucial such as resource allocation, listening to customers, tracking competitors, and investing in resources for higher-performing and higher-quality products.

2. Good to Great

Author: Jim CollinsFirst Published: 2001Page Count: 320

Must-read business books | Good to great

This book uses a systematic approach and framework to make a good company great. The Good to Great framework has 3 main components:

  1. Process: From 'Build Up', setting up yourselves towards greatness, to 'Breakthrough', achieving an inflection point that takes you to greatness.
  2. Phases: The writer of this book found 3 different phases in the good to great journey for your company: disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action.
  3. Flywheel: This is more of a silent and deliberate process of figuring out what needs to be done for the best future results and taking those steps carefully.

3. Crossing the Chasm

Author: Geoffrey MooreFirst Published: 1991Page Count: 227

Must-read business books | Crossing the chasm

This book covers more on marketing and innovation based on technology development and the chasm that exists in a company. Before the chasm, a company often makes all kinds of commitments to get ahead. However, after the chasm, the needs of the company are different from those of a pre-chasm.In short, before the chasm, the company's goal is to reduce investor risks and to grow the company. Post-chasm, the goal will shift to make money. Hence, the company should be aware of their current state and how to adapt to the changes.

4. The Lean Startup

Author: Eric RiesFirst Published: 2011Page Count: 336

Must-read business books | The Lean Startup

The lean startup is merely a book, it is a famous methodology used for developing businesses that aim to shorten the development cycle. The main lesson is to build a minimum viable product and iterate base on customer feedback. This will guide the entrepreneurs to adapt to this very fast-paced industry.There are 5 key principles from The Lead Startup book:

  1. Entrepreneurship can be anywhere: The author defines entrepreneurship to anyone who works within any human institution to create new products, services, and solutions under extreme conditions.
  2. Entrepreneurship is management: Every entrepreneur has a different management style for a different environment. This is specifically pointing out to its context of adapting to extreme uncertainty.
  3. Validated learning: One of the advantages as a startup is that there is room to learn how to build a sustainable business and the learning can be validated scientifically by having frequent experiments to see what works and whatnot.
  4. Build-measure-learn:  The concept is to turn ideas into products, gather and measure customers' responds and learn whether to maintain or alternate.
  5. Innovation accounting: In order for a company to survive, one should not let loose the most basic pieces of stuff: measure progress, set up milestones, and prioritize work.

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale CarnegieFirst Published: 1936Page Count: 291

Must-read business books | How to win friends & influence people

Despite the age of the book's existence, it is probably one of the must-read business books for business owners of all time considering the number of copies sold up until today. This could also be addressed as a self-improvement book, but it could also be a guide for leaders and entrepreneurs.In short, the book covers techniques in handling people, ways to make people like you, win people to your way of thinking and a piece of leadership style on how to how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment.


Each book recommended above has a different focus and its own uniqueness.

  1. The Innovator's Dilemma is more for business owners trying to refresh their management style and priorities in handling a business.
  2. Good to Great is targeting business owners that are looking to grow the business as a whole.
  3. Crossing the Chasm may be relatable for business owners looking in a marketing or technology perspective.
  4. The Lean Startup is recommended for business owners looking more about product and early business development.
  5. How to Win and Influence People is about developing and learning leadership style for business owners.

Psst... You may also be interested in 4 Business Lessons to Learn from Marvel Studios

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About the author
Zachary Pestana
is a seasoned writer in market trends and business thought leadership. With a writing history at Incorp Global, MOQdigital, and AIESEC Australia, Zachary leverages his broad range of experiences to stimulate industry conversations and engage audiences.
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