10 Must-Read Books For New Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs

Over the past thirteen years I worked side-by-side as Chief of Staff to a multi-passionate entrepreneur. Now, as I embark on my own solopreneurship journey, I’ve been diving back into many books that helped inform my work while building several businesses alongside my former leader.

Thousands of business books are published each year, so while this list is certainly not exhaustive, it is a great place to start. And with so many options out there, it’s important to be intentional about the books you choose. If there is a particular challenge you have in your business, start there. Need to learn more about leadership? Lean into the lessons from those who have come before you. Want to maximize your productivity? Pick books that focus on time management tips and mindset shifts.

So, now, without further adieu, check out the following books!

10 Must-Read Books for New Entrepreneurs and Soloprenuers

Building a StoryBrand: Clarifying Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

MY TAKE: If you can’t clearly explain your business (product or service), then it will be virtually impossible for anyone else to understand it, and therefore buy from you. This book helps you identify your ideal client, and most importantly, how to communicate to them by making them the center of the story. The frameworks and easy to implement models are gold!

FROM AMAZON: Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides listeners with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching listeners the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the real reason customers make purchases, how to simplify a brand message so people understand it, and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

MY TAKE: This is the entrepreneurial playbook you (and your team) need. Traction is a step-by-step guide to streamlining your business and ensuring you have the right systems in place to run and grow a profitable business. Tip: Take it a chapter at a time and implement each of the six components along the way.

FROM AMAZON: All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 80,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do.

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

MY TAKE: We often see “overnight” successes that were decades in the making and discount what came before we first heard about them on Instagram or CNN. The Hard Thing About Hard Things peels back the curtain and shows us how messy it really is behind the business. My favorite part of the book is the discussion about wartime vs. peacetime leadership. It is so important to understand and embrace the difference when building and running an organization.

FROM AMAZON: While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in. Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan

MY TAKE: This book has been my manual for productivity, goal setting, and accountability in my personal and professional life for over a decade. Instead of focusing on your seemingly endless to-do lists and “someday” goals, The ONE Thing gives you the tools to bring clarity and results into your life. Don’t forget to check out my interview with Jay Papasan and his Executive Assistant, Carly Fox, on The Founder & The Force Multiplier podcast.

FROM AMAZON: What’s your ONE thing? People are using this simple, powerful concept to focus on what matters most in their personal and work lives. Companies are helping their employees be more productive with study groups, training, and coaching. Sales teams are boosting sales. Churches are conducting classes and recommending for their members. By focusing their energy on one thing at a time people are living more rewarding lives by building their careers, strengthening their finances, losing weight and getting in shape, deepening their faith, and nurturing stronger marriages and personal relationships. Authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan teach you the tricks to cut through the clutter, achieve better results in less time, dial down stress, and master what matters to you.

Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit Your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want, and Change the World by Amy Porterfield

MY TAKE: This is a must-read for anyone thinking about leaving their 9-5 and launching an online business. While the book skews towards coaching and consulting businesses, service-based work, online courses and communities, the basic strategies will guide you to make the leap and create success on your terms.

FROM AMAZON: Ever wish there was a step-by-step blueprint to design your life for financial freedom, lifestyle flexibility, and major impact? Are you ready to go from being stuck and complacent to courageous and capable of creating a business offering you the time and financial freedom you never dreamed possible? This book is a step-by-step roadmap for the mindset shifts you need to make and tools you need to start your own online business, from the host of Online Marketing Made Easy.

Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect by Will Guidara

MY TAKE: If you are ever in doubt about what truly extraordinary customer service looks likes, just turn to any page in this book. When I first listened to Unreasonable Hospitality, my first thought was, this is how great executive assistants operate. Hospitality is a mindset first and this book shows you how to harness that mindset into systems and process that transforms companies. Check out season 2 of The Bear on Hulu for a look at Unreasonable Hospitality in action.

FROM AMAZON: Will Guidara was twenty-six when he took the helm of Eleven Madison Park, a struggling two-star brasserie that had never quite lived up to its majestic room. Eleven years later, EMP was named the best restaurant in the world. How did Guidara pull off this unprecedented transformation? Radical reinvention, a true partnership between the kitchen and the dining room—and memorable, over-the-top, bespoke hospitality. Guidara’s team surprised a family who had never seen snow with a magical sledding trip to Central Park after their dinner; they filled a private dining room with sand, complete with mai-tais and beach chairs, to console a couple with a cancelled vacation. And his hospitality extended beyond those dining at the restaurant to his own team, who learned to deliver praise and criticism with intention; why the answer to some of the most pernicious business dilemmas is to give more—not less; and the magic that can happen when a busser starts thinking like an owner.

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz

MY TAKE: As an entrepreneur, the last person to get paid is usually you! But, according to Profit First, there is a better way. With practical, step-by-step advice, you’ll create streamlined and sustainable financial systems that will put money in your pocket and help you grow a profitable business.

FROM AMAZON: Conventional accounting uses the logical (albeit, flawed) formula: Sales – Expenses = Profit. The problem is, businesses are run by humans, and humans aren’t always logical. Serial entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz has developed a behavioral approach to accounting to flip the formula: Sales – Profit = Expenses. Just as the most effective weight loss strategy is to limit portions by using smaller plates, Michalowicz shows that by taking profit first and apportioning only what remains for expenses, entrepreneurs will transform their businesses from cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows.

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

MY TAKE: How are you showing up as a leader? Are you making those around you better or diminishing their talent? The topic of an accidental diminisher leader is particularly interesting. The six types outlined can look like a positive leadership style at first, however, the outcome of the behavior is not always favorable for the team or the organization. Use this book to take a self-inventory and then learn how to become a leader who inspires and influences their team to new levels of success.

FROM AMAZON: We’ve all had experiences with two dramatically different types of leaders. The first type drain intelligence, energy, and capability from the people around them and always need to be the smartest people in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment. On the other side of the spectrum are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, lightbulbs go off over people’s heads; ideas flow, and problems get solved. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers. And the world needs more of them – especially now, when leaders are expected to do more with less.

Four Thousands Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

MY TAKE: This book seriously put things into perspective. Not just another time management book, Four Thousand Weeks focuses on creating a meaningful life instead of trying to pack as much productivity into the limited time we have.

FROM AMAZON: Time is our biggest worry: There is too little of it. The acclaimed Guardian writer Oliver Burkeman offers a lively, entertaining philosophical guide to time and time management, setting aside superficial efficiency solutions in favor of reckoning with and finding joy in the finitude of human life.

The Founder & The Force Multiplier: How Entrepreneurs and Executive Assistants Achieve More Together by Adam Hergenrother and Hallie Warner

MY TAKE: What can I say? I’m biased. And, yet, I still think this is an essential read for leaders who want to learn how to maximize their time, work more effectively with their assistant, and get back to focusing on their one thing. For force multipliers, this book offers a guide for owning your role, leading up, and becoming a true strategic business partner. Read it together, compare notes, and use it as a catalyst for fierce conversations, so that you can achieve more together.

FROM AMAZON: A Force Multiplier is a strategic partner for any entrepreneur, an invaluable asset to a Founder working toward building a thriving business. Known as an Executive Assistant or Chief of Staff, they are an entrepreneur’s competitive advantage in accomplishing goals and scaling growth. But what happens when a Force Multiplier is kept out of the conversation and left unfulfilled? And how does an entrepreneur work with their Executive Assistant without burning them out? In this updated version of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, Adam Hergenrother and Hallie Warner provide the candid insight they’re known for. You’ll learn the basics of forming a successful partnership, solutions to common communication challenges, and how to form a united vision that moves the business forward.

For more book recommendations, as well as useful insights, trending business and leadership topics, quotes, questions, career advice, and more, subscribe to The Work Flow. The Work Flow weekly newsletter is designed to keep you informed and inspired to keep doing the work to create your vision of success. SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

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Hi, I'm Hallie!

Need a strategic co-pilot to help you navigate your next step? My job is to help you build a career, book, or business you love that works for you.

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