Reading is a habit which is highly correlated with success. It's good for your brain's wiring, elevates your thinking, and can even prolong your life. Need ideas for which titles to get your hands on next? Look no further.
1. Dimensions of Citizenship edited by Nick Axel, Nikolaus Hirsch, Ann Lui, and Mimi Zeiger
"Dimensions of Citizenship is a colorful, digestible guide to the late 21st century and the role that architects play or don't play in shaping our collective understanding of citizenship. Connecting theory with social, ecological, and aesthetic concerns, [this book] maps the social dimensions of indifference across people and cultures making it a compelling read for any entrepreneur or business leader who is passionate about instilling ethics and values into their work."
--Milton S.F. Curry, dean of the University of Southern California School of Architecture, which has been educating students in architecture for over 100 years and is currently ranked 12th in the 2018-2019 DesignIntelligence Top 25 Undergraduate Programs list
2. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
"Lencioni's model underscores the critical need to put into practice essential team-building lessons that every company executive should strive to master. This book has been incredibly influential in how our company now builds, attracts, and retains productive teams. Lencioni incorporates modern business fiction to make his point about why teams fail and how to prevent them from failing. He asserts five dysfunctions, in the form of a fable, which can cause lack of teamwork: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. As an entrepreneur, I've learned that everything we do--for our employees, our clients, our brand--is based on the success of our team's combined capability to deliver on whatever the task is at hand. This book does a great job of expressing what it takes to build a successful business. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to lead an effective team."
--Vikas Khorana, co-founder and chief technology officer of Ntooitive, a digital ad agency and resource for publishers with triple-digit year-over-year revenue growth that serves as a software partner for some of the largest newspapers across the U.S. including the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, and San Diego Union-Tribune
3. Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges by Steven M. Southwick and Dennis S. Charney
"I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say most people are constantly experiencing stressful events in their lives. In the relief and development field, facing difficult and traumatic events such as devastating natural disasters, war, or civil conflict comes with the territory and it can be a lot to handle. Reading this book about resilience over the summer was helpful because it dives into how people experience and process traumatic events and explores both positive and negative coping strategies. It takes a psychosocial-meets-medical approach and even features people like John McCain and how he was able to use his horrendous experiences as a POW to give hope and inspire so many others. As a CEO, I think it's important to be aware of the mental health needs of both my staff and the people we serve, and this book provided powerful insights and practical applications. It was so good, in fact, that I don't have it anymore; I passed it along to another CEO so they could benefit from it, too."
--John Lyon, CEO of World Hope International, a relief and development organization that works with vulnerable and exploited communities in 15 countries to alleviate poverty, suffering, and injustice
4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
"The title of this book first grabbed me because one of my early mentors would frequently remind me of the difference between being right and being effective. I found many of the principles synergistic with my experiences in building and leading teams for new business ventures and it has stuck with me. Effectiveness starts with being proactive and prioritizing that which leads to the intended outcome, leaving behind that which is urgent but not important to the goal while being aware of the strengths realized in a team that shares a vision because you invested in them."
--Bill Waid, general manager of Decision Management at FICO, a provider of predictive analytics and data science, with over 185 patents in the U.S. and abroad, to improve operational decisions and empower people and businesses in 100 countries
5. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
"[T]his book provides a ton of insight via case studies on the creative and strategic process from ideation to launch. What's really cool about this book is the range of topics and industries covered, from the arts to technological inventions. Grant highlights both successes and failures, tying them all back to the same core principles and their respective justifications, [which] are very well researched and evidence-based. As we are a relatively data-driven organization, his point on becoming a prisoner of prototype really resonated with me and helped me to be cognizant of the blinders that can result from experience. His breakdown of output quantity and its correlation to success and the use of strategic procrastination at the right time are tactics that have helped me overcome many roadblocks and challenges I've faced as an entrepreneur. This book provides great insight in a creative fashion and I recommend it to any aspiring entrepreneur."
--Victor Davanzo, founder and CEO of RSP Nutrition, a nutrition brand distributed at retailers such as Amazon, Bodybuilding.com, GNC, and Vitamin Shoppe in over 5,000 U.S. retail locations and over 80 countries
6. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
"This book has been hugely influential in shaping my mindset. It's a life-changing collection of routines, tools, and learnings gathered from interviews with world-class people from across the globe. The book touches on everything from business to health to wisdom from conversations with people like Tony Robbins, Paulo Coelho, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's one of those books that you cover in highlighter and sticky notes and you need to revisit every few months. It's taught me to be a better leader, to invest in relationships above all else, and to step out of my comfort zone. One of my biggest takeaways was from the interview with Jocko Willink, retired Navy SEAL Commander. He says that he responds to every situation with the word 'good.' Adopting this habit has helped me stay focused through failure. We got beat? Good. We learned and we have something to prove."
--Andy McCune, co-founder of Unfold, an app with over 11 million users that creates social-media stories with minimal and easy-to-use templates, with users including Equinox, Revolve, Soho House, and Topshop, along with Emma Watson, Katy Perry, and Selena Gomez
7. Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
"Having your head in the right place day in and day out is essential for successfully driving your business forward. This is a book I consistently revisit, as it helps me keep a clear head with respect to moving forward aggressively and logically in our business, so that I'm not making decisions based on ego or emotion. The book is full of historical stories and anecdotes about the treacherous nature of an unchecked ego (while at the same time not discounting the importance of confidence). The book is a consistent, encouraging reminder that you need to keep working, not pay too much attention to your own hype, and keep in mind the big reason why you got started doing what you are doing."
--Michael Roussell, PhD and co-founder of Para Bellum Partners, the parent company of memory supplement brands Neuro Coffee and Neutein, which has experienced a 50 percent growth in sales over the last year
8. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
"I love this book because it philosophically celebrates capitalism, but more specifically the entrepreneurial spirit. It values using individual talent, intuition, and ambition to be successful, versus being a work cog and obediently following in someone else's footsteps."
--Alix Greenberg, founder and CEO of ArtSugar, a charity and Instagram-driven affordable contemporary art retailer available on ArtSugar.co, Wayfair, Zola, Dormify, and select local retailers which has experienced a 45 percent growth in month-to-month revenue in 2018
9. Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone
"My mentor presented me with this life-changing manual that taught me how to crack the entrepreneur's Da Vinci code. It's a distillation of all the great principles of higher achievement in one easy access reference book that is absolutely packed with positive ideas that will lift your thought process to a higher vibrational level. Thoughts, ideas, and action are essentially what make up the sum total of an individual's life...so the 17 principles outlined in this book have helped me to focus my 'attention on the things that I want and off the things that I don't want.' Thought control is the ultimate discipline...and this book shows the student exactly how to 'direct your thoughts, control your emotions, and ordain your destiny.' After interviews with over 500 men and women of accomplishment, the authors discovered the secrets to success and then gave those principles to future generations lucky enough to discover this hidden gem."
--Roy Taylor, seven-figure Millennial serial entrepreneur and cryptocurrency investor recognized in Entrepreneur as one of 2018's top 10 entrepreneurs under 30 who helped market crypto projects with budgets over $15 million in 2018
10. Small Giants by Bo Burlingham
"Small Giants was a great read and helped me redefine what it meant to be successful. It taught me that, as an entrepreneur, I don't have to have 4,000 employees, don't have to go public, and don't have to become something that my team isn't. After reading this book, I doubled-down on what I liked doing best and felt better and more successful as a result."
--Eric Termuende, co-founder of NoW Innovations, a movement to democratize access to innovative people and culture and operational practices of leading organizations around the world, as well as an award-winning entrepreneur and speaker who has spoken on more than 200 stages
11. The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
"This is the absolute book for the person who wants to achieve more in less time. The premise of the book is to think of each 12 weeks as a calendar year, and to get extremely focused on the few goals that you want to achieve that would be the most impactful for those 12 weeks. As an entrepreneur, it's easy to get distracted with tons of new ideas, tactics, and strategies, and essentially get nothing done. I was able to focus and cut out all distractions from things that were not a priority as a result. Prior to reading 12 Week Year, my company broke six figures in its first year (2016). After reading this book, my company generated 38 percent of 2016's revenue in January of 2017 alone."
--Kevin Stimpson, branding expert and founder of Strive & Grind, a Millennial-run branding company which has helped hundreds of clients across world
12. Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
"If you're going to work hard on something, you have to first make sure that your ship is headed in the right direction. You do this with a great strategy. It's tough to succeed in business, but the best way to win is to have a strategy that differentiates you from your competition and creates a market of your own. Authors Kim and Mauborgne give a simple yet powerful exercise in Blue Ocean Strategy to help you do just that.... Whether it's for company direction, a new product, or any business initiative, [this book] will have you thinking about what things matter and what doesn't so you can differentiate yourself in the right way and not have to battle on price. Start there and set yourself up for big success."
--Austin Netzley, founder and CEO of 2X, a systems and operations focused consulting company helping entrepreneurs and small businesses generate over $44 million in sales in the first 10 months of company existence
13. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
"[This is] one of my go-to books.... [It offers g]reat pointers on finding market relevance and understanding consumer types and behavior."
--Igor Bekker, co-founder of Made Of, a brand which offers transparency in manufacturing by disclosing the whole product development from ingredient origin to actual test results and location of factories in the U.S., which has managed e-commerce businesses over $100 million in revenue for brands like Alex & Ani, Swatch, and others
14. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
"[This] is the best book ever written on practical human psychology (I recommend the pocket-size concise version). This book hits you with sucker-punch after sucker-punch of insights into human character and behavior that seem blindingly obvious in retrospect. I read it when I was living on social welfare, and it gave me a grounding to go to meetings (and close) venture capital and angel investors at a time when I had never even had a real job. It also helped me run and manage a team, become memorable and well-liked, and displaced the natural selfishness we all carry around with us. Absolutely essential, not just in business but in life, too."
--Vin Clancy, founder of the online magazines Planet Ivy and Screen Robot, which received nearly 20 million visitors in their first two years
15. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki
"This book was the ultimate turning point for me as a teenager who knew that his life wasn't on the normal trajectory of school, university, and a typical 9-to-5 job. It completely changed my mindset towards business and altered the way I perceived failure. When most may see failure as an obstacle, this book teaches you that in every failure there is a lesson for success. This mantra has been one that I have lived by throughout starting and scaling my business. I read this book over and over and still learn new things about how to look at success."
--Sergio Abinaked, co-founder of Simply Carbon Fiber, a brand which designs and produces unique carbon fiber products at affordable prices and is on track to hit $6 million this year in revenue
16. Bluefishing by Steve Sims
"If you like no-nonsense, keep-it-real books, Steve Sims has written a masterpiece. There's a reason they call him a modern-day Wizard of Oz. He just gets things done--from getting a couple married by the Pope to walking an exclusive red carpet, people in the know call Steve to make it happen. [This book] lays out his methods and mindsets. It's way beyond out of the box thinking. His take on getting ugly, staying totally transparent, and building killer relationships will help any business maximize its impact and increase the bottom line. It's definitely made me think even bigger."
--Brad Lea, founder and CEO of LightSpeed VT, a virtual training company that has worked with over 700 business leaders impacting millions around the globe
17. From No Crypto to Know Crypto by Wayne Marcel
"It's a genuine blueprint of how to get started in crypto, which helps mass adaption."
--Darryll DiPietro, founder of Coincierge Wallet, a mobile private key wallet with over 20,000 supported crypto assets and capable of 250,000 transactions per second
18. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
"Being a founder, it's easy to let our lives get consumed by the company. Reading this book, a memoir written by a young neurosurgeon with terminal cancer, lent me some important perspective on life. Like him, we are all working in the extremes for some promise of a better future, but this book is a reminder that such a future may never come to pass. Not only should we endeavor to enjoy our life as it is now, but we should make sure that whatever means we take should not need to be justified by some end at a later date, but rather be justified in their own right. It is also a very quick read, so most will find it easy to fit it into a commute or plane ride."
--Jason Kim, CTO of Bombfell, a subscription service using A.I. and professional stylists to help men upgrade and maintain their wardrobes, working with JCPenney as the 15th fastest growing startup in New York City in 2017
19. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
"'The key to a good life is not giving a f*ck about more; it's giving a f*ck about less.' This book validated something I've felt for a long time but haven't always known how to act on: Focus on what's truly important and let everything else slide. For me, that comes in three parts: filtering out the noise, finding balance, and owning who I am. I've had to admit that I don't really care about sports, that I need a lot of sleep (seriously), and that I will never wear a suit to work. Not giving a f*ck can feel very empowering. In a time where people are feeling more and more anxious about the world around them, Manson says it best: 'too many f***s is bad for your mental health.'"
--Dan Ucko, director of content for Nectar Sleep, an e-commerce mattress brand with more than 250,000 customers in under two years