The 8 Best Start-Up Books of 2020

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If you're in need of a little inspiration in your quest to build the next unicorn, these books about start-ups are the perfect self-motivator. The American dream of owning a highly successful and lucrative business is still a highly cherished ideal for millions. It takes an incredible amount of determination, fortitude and tenacity to build a start-up. We’ve gathered together a list of the best start-up books to buy on the market today.

Best for Growth Strategy: The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz

The Pumpkin Plan
Courtesy of Amazon

Mike Michalowicz shares his experiences first trying to grow his company and how he drew his inspiration from an unlikely source—pumpkin farmers. It all started from an article he read about a local pumpkin farmer who had success in growing giant pumpkins. Here is the farmer’s theory that Mike based his book The Pumpkin Plan on, plant the right seeds, weed out the losers and nurture winners. He thought he could base this same theory on growing his business, and he was right: He has grown his own company into a multimillion-dollar industry. You’ll find unconventional strategies to guide you into building your company into something truly profitable.

Best for Inspiration: The Worst Business Model In the World by Danny Schuman

How would you like to find a career and make a business out of doing something you truly love? The Worst Business Model in the World by Danny Schuman is all about following your passions and doing what you love to make a living. He goes through in-depth interviews with over 100 entrepreneurs to find solutions to real problems that entrepreneurs face. He shows how you can stay independent and make a business out of doing something you are passionate about. Each of the 24 insights is accompanied by an actionable tool to help you find joy in your work while making a profit.

Best for Gaining Insight: Escape From Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim

Ever thought of escaping the cubicle farm? Millions of office employees dream about it every day. Author Pamela Slim was once one of those dreamers when she left her job of 12 years as a corporate training manager to run her own business. In her book, Escape From Cubicle Nation—which is based on her very popular blog—she writes about the emotional struggles of leaving the corporate world to launch her own business. She shares her own stories as well as stories from coaching clients and her own blog readers. It is sure to give you inspiration and valuable insights on how to follow your own dream of starting a business and escaping the cubicle for greener pastures.

Best for Learning from Entrepreneurs: Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

Wouldn’t it be great to learn from the success stories of all the famous entrepreneurs you admire? You'll find a wealth of experience from the businessmen and women who started some of the biggest companies in the world in this collection of interviews by author Jessica Livingston in her book, Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days. Some of her interviews include company founders who are now celebrities such as Steve Wozniak (Apple), Max Levchin (PayPal), Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail), Mitch Kapor (Lotus) and Caterina Fake (Flickr). You’ll read about all their secrets on the road to building successful companies. Their advice is solid gold and sure to be something you’ll find valuable on your own road to success.

Best for Managing Stress: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

We all need less stress in our lives. Learning how to manage stress is the key to productivity and getting things done in both our personal and professional lives.  Author David Allen first published his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity nearly 15 years ago. It is filled with tips on personal organization and tools to help you organize your professional life and become more productive. The book is completely revised and updated. Lifehack calls it “The Bible of business and personal productivity.” This book is filled with fresh perspectives on personal and professional organization with tons of useful tips on managing stress in the workplace. Its proven principles put it on the best-seller list and it is sure to become a treasured tool for a whole new generation of readers.

Best for Women: In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

Recent statistics show that women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than any other demographic. However, women still face many adversities in the workplace, despite great strides made over the past few decades. The New York Times Bestseller by Author Grace Bonney, ​In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs details the accounts of over 100 women who prevailed in a male-dominated workforce and overcame tribulations to become realize their dreams of entrepreneurship. These are women from all walks of life and industries: Media professionals, hoteliers, tattoo artists, ceramicists, architects and comedians. They all have an important story to share of how women who embrace their dreams can become successful entrepreneurs. 

Best for Innovative Thinking: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Did you know that most new startup companies fail? The Lean Startup by Eric Riles reveals a new and innovative approach in building a company and launching a new product. He details ways to utilize human creativity to shorten product development times. It shows methods of testing products and making strategic changes in the process to prevent startup failure. His innovative approach is inspired by the concept of “lean manufacturing” and his experiences as a technology entrepreneur. Eric Riles has advised all sorts of companies—from startups to Fortune 100 companies—on the successful launch of new product lines through innovation and eliminating waste. It is invaluable advice to any potential startup launching new products. 

Best for Habits: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

What makes a person successful? Stephen R. Covey reveals seven habits that are key to professional success in his book, ​The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book has been giving timely advice to entrepreneurs for more than 25 years and has become an international bestseller. Millions of people have transformed their professional lives based on advice given in Dr. Covey’s book. He takes you step-by-step on how to utilize 7 habits to become more effective in your personal and professional lives. These habits are: Be Proactive, Begin With The End In Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First To Understand Then Be Understood, Synergize and Sharpen The Saw. The book looks at the average person’s personal and professional habits with a focus of first becoming aware of your habits and then changing the bad ones. You’ll learn how to improve work relationships with coworkers, colleagues and managers as well as how to incorporate the techniques into your social relationships. Infographics are included which make this book easy to read and make it easy for you to apply these seven habits that lead to success in your own personal and professional life.