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Don't Start a Business Until You Read These First!

For the past 9 years, Gabriella has assisted small business owners with product development and business backend organizational strategies.


It Seems Like Everyone is Starting a Business These Days.

And there’s good reason:

  • Social media has now become a permanent fixture
  • Businesses are becoming digitized
  • Mom and pop shops are getting absorbed by e-commerce monopolies,
  • And the adage of “work till you’re 65 then retire on the savings of your 401k plan and Roth IRA”, is just not cutting it anymore.

When you see people capitalizing on something they did that becomes viral and virtually (no pun intended) are millionaires overnight, you begin to ask yourself, “9-5, what?” So what are you gonna’ do about it? Chances are you already know or else you wouldn’t be reading this. You’ve decided to welcome the changing climate by starting your own business. But don’t think you have to go it alone; there are PLENTY of resources out there to help you get started yet finding those that will directly solve your entrepreneurial needs can get overwhelming amidst a sea of information. I’ve got good news. I decided to do a bit of the grunt work for you and compiled the top 5 books that I believe will answer your burning business questions. I’ve chosen these books based on the following criteria:

  • They’re bestsellers
  • I felt they solved major pain points based on online business and financial surveys
  • I’ve successfully applied the insights from these books in my career as a digital marketing manager.

Today’s business tycoons, such as Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, and Oprah Winfrey, credit reading as part of the key to their success. And even though they’re at the top of their game, they continue reading, because reading= education. And as it goes, “the more you know, the more you grow.” So jumpstart your business faster by reading this list of the best business books to help you start a business.


1. No Excuses

Before you get your business right, you gotta’ get yo’ life right. I’m not even playin’. Before you even decide to tackle a business, you need to rid yourself of the toxic habits you currently have because I’m here to tell you, those habits will follow you into your business and corrupt your relationship with it (I’ve witnessed this working with small business owners). No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline revolutionized my life. I was living in South Korea working as a university professor, and though my life was comfortable, I wasn’t happy. I was burnt out from over 17 years of teaching and felt restless, and my mind, body, and soul were telling me I was taking a meaningless detour on the road of life. With one google search on “self-discipline,” and the power of the cyber-Gods, No excuses popped right before my eyes. No excuses encourages you to do a bit of soul-searching, it wants you to ask yourself the hard questions; define your goals. If there is anything in your life that’s not working for you, be committed to changing it before you take the entrepreneurial plunge. Luckily, someone’s already figured this all out or you. His name is Brian Tracy. In No Excuses you’ll be faced with questions I’m willing to bet my life on, that no one has ever asked you. And these questions matter because they will make you:

  1. Reflect on the choices you’ve made in your past
  2. Change how you evaluate your present
  3. Plan how you’ll shape your tomorrow

Who’s this book for?

This book is for anyone, but it’s primarily for those who:

  • Tend to lose focus or interest prematurely and are prone to throwing in the towel when things aren’t working as QUICKLY as they’d like.
  • Get super pumped up at starting a new and exciting project, jump into that project aggressively only to get burnt out way too early in the game and unable to pull it together to continue. (I’m guilty!)
  • Recognize that whatever habits or behaviors they’ve been doing for most of their life, is no longer working, and want to change.
  • Want to get better at applying self-discipline in their life

Pro Tip

  • Keep a journal handy (i.e., hard-copy, digital) write down the questions and your answers to the questions asked in that journal. It’s one thing to read something on a page and answer it in your head; it’s an entirely different thing seeing it written down. You’ll connect with it more honestly.
  • If you’re not one for self-help (or self-development, as I like to call it), then this book isn’t for you, but at least give the first chapter a go before you decide to abandon ship!
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2. Start Your Own Business

Pardon me for sounding blasphemous, BUT THIS IS THE BIBLE of start-up guides. I really wish I would have known and read this book earlier because it is genuinely a treasure trove of information and resources. If for no other reason than the simple fact that the last three books on this list offer their own set of awesomeness, I would say this is truly the only startup book you’ll ever need. But I’ll leave that for you to decide, and frankly, you should. The table of contents alone, demonstrates impressively organized content.

Pro Tip

  • Take your time with this book and absorb all the information it gives you. It’s a lot to digest. It’s an easy read, but a lot of information, so don’t try to rush through it.
  • Check out the websites the book offers the moment you read about them or at least have a highlighter handy, to mark them so when you come back later, you can easily find them.
  • Read a few pages from each chapter to get a feel for what lies ahead for you on this journey. You’ll be able to tell right away if you’re ready to embark on what it takes to get a business going

Who’s this book for?

This book is for those who…

  • Are entirely new to the business world and haven’t quite decided if they’re ready to dive in yet.
  • Already have their product or brand in mind and need some guidance on how to get it off the ground.

3. Will it Fly?

Like Brian, Pat asks the kind of goal-setting questions crucial for your business success and development; the only difference is that Pat asks you to use your answers to those questions to help craft ideas for your business. You then run your ideas through a series of mini-tests (don’t worry it’s not as scary as it sounds) and then determine how they will perform in the market. His book also contains links to resources that you can use as you follow along in the book, all of which you can access on the website through his online course. I suppose it depends on you but having a guide that goes along with what I’m reading is a fantastic way to organize my ideas and get more out of the experience.

Who’s this book for?

This book is for those who…

  • Have NO idea what to do for a business.
  • Are unclear of how to organize their plans for their business
  • Want to learn ways on how to “test” their business ideas to see if they’ll work

Pro Tip:

  • The author's online course is a helpful resource. Some stuff I used, others I didn’t, but I highly recommend checking it out from time -to- time.
  • Don’t put it down for too long. I made this mistake and found myself struggling to remember what I read before.

4. Crush It!

I read all 142 pages of this book in an hour and never put it down once! AND I wanted more. All I wanna’ say is: Chapter 10 folks. Chapter ten.

Who’s this book for?

This book is for those who…

  • Are looking to find ways to optimize their social media presence that will increase sales
  • Are eager to learn strategies for driving traffic to their social media platforms
  • Need help with branding
  • Are aiming to build a “legacy.”
  • Like people who give it to you straight with no chaser. Gary is no bullshit; he cuts right to the chase. See Chapter 9 on “Care.”

Pro Tip

  • This book came out in 2009 so check up on the sites mentioned; some of them have changed names or have integrated with another company. For example, Gary talks about which is now Hootesuite.
  • Good news, Gary has a more recent extension of this book that called, Crushing it: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence and How You Can,Too.

5. The Millionaire Fastlane

Speaking of another author who cuts right to the chase, is last but CERTAINLY NOT least MJ DeMarco. Not only does his direct delivery move you to take action in your life, but it impacts you to change how you look at success, completely. Demarco’s metaphors for perceptions of wealth establishes that people choose to take one of the three following paths: The Sidewalk: Also referred to as “Judge Judy” people, don’t have a financial path, are impulsive with money, live paycheck to paycheck, are looking for a big “hit “(e.g. the lottery) to make them rich and don’t see how the skill sets they have today could be applied towards creating exponential wealth for the future. The Slowlane: Are those who don’t take too much risk, work a 9-5 they hate just for the sake of stability, wait until they retire and end up saying, “If only I had” or “I wish” way more than they should. The Fastlane: Those willing to dive in and take a risk to enjoy long-term gain. Who look at the infinite possibilities of wealth instead of the finite. Quite simply fastlaners can be summed up in the following example:

You’re walking down the street and come upon a mansion. Which of the following do you say to yourself?

a.) “Must be nice, I’ll never live in one of those.

b.) “I’m gonna’ live in one of those one day.

As you probably already guessed someone in the Fastlane would choose option “B” and every choice and action they make in their life from that moment on will be ….to get that. But don’t be mistaken into thinking that this book focuses only on “materialistic” gain because it doesn’t. It focuses on achieving happiness. And as much as we might gripe over how money can’t buy happiness, think of it this way: Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you freedom and freedom=happiness. This book unpacks outdated beliefs and choices surrounding success. Our generation is nothing like our parents, and we don’t want to be 70 enjoying our dream home or traveling the world only to be in bed by 9. This book will, however, change how you think about wealth and money, and the choices you make in life to attain it.

Who’s this book for?

This book is for those who…

  • Are busting their ass at a 9-5 they’re sick and tired of and need the pep talk to do the thing they know they should have done years ago. Quit.
  • A corrupted relationship with money and is DEDICATED to changing that.
  • Are eager and willing to live a “Fastlane” life, but don’t have the support of others to cheer them on. DeMarco understands this very well, and in his own way, becomes your cheerleader.
  • Don’t want their investment plans to only include saving in a 401K and Roth IRA just to end up being 60 or 70 to reap any of the rewards.

Pro Question

Any additional books you think should be added to the list? Comment below with the title and author. I’ll check em’ out and review them for a future post. Happy reading!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Gabriella Gelir

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