Reading is an essential part of any learning process. Books give you an intimate glimpse into the minds of others. They reveal subtleties you may not yet be aware of. So, especially when you're navigating a road as ambiguous as entrepreneurship, it's a good idea to take a page out of the stories of those who have done it best.
These are books written by the billionaires themselves, the ones who forged their own paths and lived to tell the tale.
1. Made in America by Sam Walton
Founder of Walmart, Sam Walton reveals the story of how he built what is one of the largest retailers in the world. (Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, also recommends this book.)
2. Ralph Lauren by Ralph Lauren
The son of Jewish immigrants, Ralph went from the Bronx to creating "high society" fashion for the mainstream.
3. What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey
One of the greatest "rags to riches" stories of all time, Oprah climbed her way out of poverty and launched an unfathomably successful career as a talk-show host, actress, and name in media.
4. Direct From Dell by Michael Dell
How do you become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company at 27 years of age? At 19, Dell dropped out of college to found PC Limited, which eventually became Dell Computer Corp.
5. The First Billion Is the Hardest by T. Boone Pickens
A remarkable story of a late-life comeback, Pickens shares how he, the famed "Oracle of Oil," bounced back from bankruptcy and clinical depression.
6. Call Me Ted by Ted Turner
Best known as the founder of CNN and former owner of the Atlanta Braves, Ted Turner walks readers through his experiences from getting expelled from Brown University to turning a small news station into the household name it is today.
7. Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Co-founder of PayPal and of the data-analytics firm Palantir, Thiel provokes readers into truly questioning their forays into entrepreneurship--and challenges them to build what truly hasn't been built yet.
8. The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett
A collection of Buffett's letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, this is an intimate read for those looking to catch a glimpse of Buffett's logical though Nostradamus-like approach to investing and business.
9. How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban
Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank investor Cuban drills into readers the ferociousness with which he approaches "the sport of business"--and the importance of outlearning your competition.
10. The Virgin Way by Richard Branson
Over 50 years of entrepreneurship has taught Branson a thing or two about what it takes to be successful, and here he bears all: lessons learned, management best practices, and the art of leadership.
11. Onward by Howard Schultz
The story of how Starbucks overcame rocky terrain to become a global coffee chain of behemoth proportions, Schultz is honest with readers about the process and the tough decisions that had to be made along the way.
12. Business @ the Speed of Thought by Bill Gates
A guide for the ages despite being published in 1999, the lessons shared here about how business and technology are (and will forever be) linked are essential. A must-read for entrepreneurs in any industry.
13. Bloomberg by Bloomberg by Michael Bloomberg
Published prior to his becoming the mayor of New York City, Bloomberg details his rise to success at Salomon Brothers, getting fired, and eventually building what is now Bloomberg LP.
14. Think Like a Champion by Donald Trump
A collection of essays touching on everything from real estate to the importance of self-promotion, this read is suddenly all the more poignant now that he has been elected the presidency of the United States.