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Essential Reading List for New Entrepreneurs

Everything you need to know to become a successful entrepreneur is in these six essential books.
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Few of us are born knowing everything it takes to be an entrepreneur.  You may have the spirit, the personality, the drive, but often we still need to learn the tricks of the trade in order to become truly successful.

My education at Columbia University and corresponding course work at the business school during my undergraduate years served me well. I have been involved with start-up ventures both successful and not. But nothing has helped me hone my skills as an entrepreneur like these books. In my opinion, they are the best books on the market for new entrepreneurs and should be required reading for all that want to start their own businesses.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

To me, this book sets the tone for anyone who is preparing to run their own business. It provides an insightful look into the author’s views of why you go into business for yourself and who you should be looking out for once there. That is why it tops my list as required reading for all new entrepreneurs.

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

Sure we all want the freedom provided by owning our own businesses. But how do you transform your job into a business and actually attain the freedom sought? Gerber expertly breaks down what it takes to structure a new company so that you can create an entity that exists without you thus providing the freedom you desperately desire.

Secret Service by John DiJulius.

Every business model can benefit from superior customer service. What is it and how do you provide it? Read Secret Service. DiJulius, a self-taught customer service guru, breaks down every aspect of the customer service cycle revealing amazing insights as to how every business can benefit from providing world-class customer service.

The Real Secrets of the Top 20% by Mike Brooks.

If your business is a sales organization and, let’s face it, most businesses must have some component of sales to survive, The Real Secrets of the Top 20% is a must read. Brooks breaks down sales and the techniques to increase the same so that you can make more with the same leads and customers you already have.

Trump: The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump.

Trump is a polarizing figure, there is no doubt about it. But there is little debate about one thing–the man knows how to be successful. Unlike some of the other books on the list it is difficult to neatly fit this now iconic book in any one particular category. For me, however, I feel that it offers great lessons in tenacity and attitude that are requisite for every entrepreneur.

Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons.

"Really?" you may be asking yourself. He put a book on this list that’s cover is the picture of the iconic Gene Simmons’s tongue? Yup. Read it. You may know him as a rock-and-roll mega star. But underneath the leather, the wild antics, and incomparable showmanship lies the heart and soul of a brilliant businessman. If for no other reason read it to learn about work ethic and the dedication it takes to build a successful business.

Last updated: Mar 29, 2012

MATTHEW SWYERS | Columnist | Founder, The Trademark Company

Matthew Swyers is the founder of The Trademark Company, a Web-based law firm specializing in protecting the trademark rights of small to medium-size businesses. The company is ranked No. 138 on the 2011 Inc. 500.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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