The 5 Best Books For the Time-Pressed Entrepreneur in 2017

The 5 Best Books For the Time-Pressed Entrepreneur in 2017 | Which Book Should I Read?

Article published on January 28, 2017

Whether you’re a business owner, aspiring entrepreneur or attempting to claw your way up the corporate ladder, you may not have much time on your hands. Cue this collection of easy—yet enlightening—reads that will help you along your journey to success. From philosophical insight to actionable tips, you’ll be primed to take the next stage of your career in stride.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People | Which Book Should I Read? Arguably, the most important skill you can have in business is knowing how to deal with people. How to Win Friends and Influence People teaches you just that. Dale Carnegie’s principles have endured since 1937, when the book was first published and instantly became popular. His belief is that 85% of financial success is the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm in others—and the way to do that is to make people feel respected, appreciated, and that they matter. This is also helpful in getting others do what you want or come around to your way of thinking, without making them feel manipulated or patronized. Since this book is all business, we’ll give it to you in numbers: you’ll learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to get people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without inspiring ill feelings.

The Good

  • This book helps teach the ability to understand other viewpoints in various situations
  • Carnegie provides the foundation for developing skills to understand others
  • Carnegie supports every idea or principle with a story from his life, where the principle was proven effective
  • Several of these methods can be very powerful

The Bad

  • Most of Carnegie’s success stories feature people in power, who are trying to gain insight to and elicit good behavior from their employees
  • This book can feel repetitive at times

What Got You Here Won't Get You There

Author: Marshall Goldsmith

What Got You Here Won't Get You There | Which Book Should I Read? Author Marshall Goldsmith is an global executive leadership coach, who gets paid $250,000 for one-on-one coaching sessions. In this inspired book, he addresses the question: “What is the most common problem faced by the executives that you coach?” He provides insight into the viewpoints of global leaders and the habits he believes prevents them from getting to the top, as well as the approach to tackling 20 common “bad habits” found in corporate environments. So if you’ve found that you worked hard and long hours for years to reach the top, yet haven’t been able to climb the last few steps to upper management, this book will show you the small “transactional flaws” that can be preventing you from moving forward. If there’s one takeaway, it’s that you should always be willing to grow and evolve, no matter what stage of your career path you’re in.

The Good

  • This book is done in a unique style—a graphic novel—and is easy to absorb
  • Goldsmith has wonderful and practical approaches that can easily help you become more successful
  • This is a condensed version from the original

The Bad

  • If you don't like illustrations, it may feel a bit juvenile


Author: Shane Snow

Smartcuts | Which Book Should I Read? Smartcuts should be every executive’s—and company’s—best friend, and embodies the mantra, “dare to work differently.” Snow tells us to do away with conventional thinking, revealing the truth in paradoxical thinking, like “it’s easier to build a bigger business than a smaller one.” The foundations of his ideas stem from innovators in every era and industry, and their way of “lateral thinking.” In this jaw-dropping book, Snow shows us that we can also find more straightforward paths to success by implementing these “smartcuts” in our lives and work.

The Good

  • Unlike most business books, this one is both intriguing and interesting. It also incorporates a great mix of simplicity and technological terms
  • Snow provides a framework to jump on opportunities, and to strike when the moment is ripe
  • This book uses relatable examples to juxtapose success and failure
  • It’s a helpful tool for anyone who likes to or wants to think out of the box and shoot for the moon

The Bad

  • This book is not as actionable as some of the other books in this list
  • In some instances, Snow may leave you wanting further explanation
  • Some advice requires things that are hard to obtain

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Author: Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph | Which Book Should I Read? 2,000 years ago, Marcus Aurelius said, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” The Obstacle is the Way is an incredibly inspiring and powerful read based on the ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism: “enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience.” Stoics let go of what they can’t control and focus on what they can control. In thus, they turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to help them advance. In this book, Holiday demonstrates how some of the most successful and revered people throughout history have embraced this concept to overcome obstacles, and be better for it. Its fans include Arnold Schwarzenegger, LL Cool J, James McGee, Michele Tafoya and the coaches and players of winning sports teams (think New England Patriots, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Seahawks), among others. If you find yourself feeling down, The Obstacle is the Way will help you get right back up and go further than you’ve expected.

The Good

  • Holiday writes in a style that’s actionable yet simple
  • Useful, interesting and helpful in prompting life change
  • This book mentions many others, which will only serve to blow up your reading list

The Bad

  • There are times when the writing feels a bit padded
  • If you’re already familiar with Stoicism, this may not serve to further your insight into the philosophy

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)

Author: William Poundstone

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) | Which Book Should I Read? Bestselling author William Poundstone reveals the psychology of value, and how customers and clients think when it comes to cost and pricing. Psychological experiments have shown that people aren’t able to predict "fair" prices and are heavily influenced by things that are unconscious, irrational and politically incorrect. Unsurprisingly, marketers and businesses have discovered and applied these findings to facilitate their success. For example, Prada has some ridiculously high price tags to encourage the consumption of their “bargain items.” Similarly, the profit margin of the 99 Cents Only store is double that of Wal-Mart. Why? Simply because the price of 99 cents is a motivator. Using behavioral decision theory, Poundstone has written an intriguing book that should prove invaluable to those who negotiate.

The Good

  • Entertaining and well-researched on how prices are set, how consumers react to them, and the reasons behind it all
  • Includes research on the evolution of pricing psychology
  • Contains case studies on consumer reactions to various prices
  • Provides enlightening insight you would probably be ignorant to otherwise
  • Gives business executives great pricing strategies

The Bad

  • Some feel the studies contain “lurking variables,” where the same results wouldn’t have been duplicated
  • There are instances where the examples and ideologies may seem too general or abstract

If you've already read these, or if you’re all about exploration, check out our recommendation tool. Bon voyage!