Binge-Worthy Business Books To Read Right Now
Starting a business is hard. It can be difficult to find support. Sometimes you just need to know that someone else has gone before you and somehow, made it work.
If you’re a solopreneur, business biographies are one tool you should have in your toolbox of resources.
Reading about the hard work, perseverance, and commitment that it takes to build a successful business can inspire and encourage you in your own businesses. And you can learn from other people’s mistakes so that you don’t have to make those mistakes yourself.
This list of books I put together shows real-life examples that give you hope for your future success. You’ll get insight into what it takes to be successful while also being entertained by their engaging stories. You’ll see what these business owners did wrong and how they overcame obstacles along the way.
These seven business memoirs will help you find inspiration and encouragement for your own journey as an entrepreneur.
Shoe Dog By Phil Knight
Do you know how Nike became one of the world’s most iconic and successful sports companies?
Shoe Dog is a memoir by Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike. He shares the challenges, risks, and sacrifices he made in order to create something that would last. It’s a realistic but hopeful look at what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
You’ll find out everything about how Nike got started, from its humble beginnings as Blue Ribbon Sports to its place as one of the world’s top brands today.
This book is perfect for anyone who has dreamed of starting their own business or wondered what it takes to turn an idea into reality.
Purchase your copy of Shoe Dog by Phil Knight today.
Riding High By Ruth Zukerman
Ruth Zukerman is the cofounder of SoulCycle and Flywheel, both boutique-style fitness studios.
Riding High is a very raw and real look into business. Ruth bares her soul and shares all the mistakes she made, both in her personal and professional lives. It’s a very inspiring read because you see a successful entrepreneur encounter struggles we all face—knock you on your ass moments—and yet, she overcomes them and creates a life that she loves.
Check out my detailed review of Riding High.
The Third Door By Alex Banayan
The Third Door is a metaphor for finding your way into whatever it is that you want.
The first door is the obvious way in. It’s the door most people are standing at, waiting for permission to enter.
The second door is the door you go through when you have connections. You know the owner, you’re a celebrity, you have clout with someone who can get you in.
The third door is “where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen…” It’s finding your way in, in the unconventional route most people won’t try because it’s hard and uncomfortable and risky.
Alex is a very talented story-teller, and I was on the edge of my seat often thinking, “Oh Lord, now what?” It’s funny, fast-paced, real, raw, and vulnerable. There were moments when I asked myself, “Wow, would I be brave enough to share that?”
It’s an inspirational book to read whenever you feel like every door has been closed to you.
Order The Third Door by Alex Banayan.
That Will Never Work By Marc Randolph
Marc Randolph, the founder of Netflix, shares the story of Netflix from its beginning in early 1997 through 2002 when they went public. It’s a similar feel to Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, so if you read and liked Shoe Dog, you’ll really enjoy That Will Never Work.
Randolph offers advice on how to overcome obstacles and stay motivated when no one believes in you. You see examples of how to meet challenges head-on, be resilient when things go wrong, and find creative solutions for tough problems.
There are also some funny stories included. For example, they once mistakenly sent out a batch of adult-eyes-only DVDs to some of their early customers. Customers who had not requested that particular type of content. Can you imagine the complaints Netflix got from that mistake?
Get your copy of That Will Never Work.
My Story By Jo Malone
Before she became a successful entrepreneur known for her high-end fragrances and candles, Jo Malone was a high-school dropout with severe dyslexia, living in government housing.
Her memoir shares her story of her upbringing and how she built her brand from the ground up. Jo has a friendly, chatty tone. You feel like you’re having coffee with a trusted mentor invested in watching you succeed.
Not only do you see the hard work involved in product creation and marketing, but you learn it’s not all sunshine and roses like you might think when you’re able to sell your company for millions of dollars.
My Story makes you evaluate how you define success. It’s a lesson in protecting your brand and your name and your intellectual property. And it’s a lesson in discovering how you find fulfillment, joy, and value in your life.
Order your copy of My Story by Jo Malone today.
Elon Musk By Ashlee Vance
Elon Musk is one of the most fascinating and innovative entrepreneurs in the world. I have little interest in space/science/tech/cars so I didn’t know how much Musk has accomplished until I read this book. He’s an impressive individual.
In this well-researched book, you see Musk’s transition from a rough upbringing in South Africa to becoming a man of extreme intelligence and drive who is incapable of listening when he’s told that something can’t be done.
While he is a dynamic personality, I can’t help feeling a little sorry for him. At one point in the book when he’s discussing making time for a relationship, he says to Vance, “How much time does a woman want a week? Maybe ten hours?” He’s so consumed with his passions and beliefs that he wants to devote all his time to them and doesn’t want to spend it on relationships. It struck me as a very sad way of looking at things. Spoken as a middle-aged woman who believes that any success I have means nothing if I can’t share it with my husband and children. Your mileage may vary.
Order your copy of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance today.
Bad Blood By John Carreyrou
Okay, technically Bad Blood is neither a memoir nor a biography, but it is a riveting tale about business gone horribly wrong. Don’t be like Elizabeth Holmes.
Theranos was a biotech company started by Elizabeth Holmes. Holmes claimed she had created a revolutionary new technology that would make blood tests faster, cheaper, and more accurate than traditional methods. For a period of time, she was the darling of Silicon Valley, with investors clamoring to be a part of her bold, new startup.
But there were problems from the start, and the tech simply didn’t work. At all.
You’ll never look at Silicon Valley the same way again after reading this narrative of ambition and greed. It’s a wild story that reads like a crime thriller, complete with intimidation tactics and threats against people who asked too many questions.
Unfortunately, it’s not a work of fiction, but a factual story about a product that didn’t work and had devastating effects on vulnerable people who trusted the wrong person. It’s a lesson in how to not do business.
Order your copy of Bad Blood today.
Final Thoughts on 7 Binge-Worthy Business Memoirs to Read Right Now
Look, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Starting a business can be overwhelming and frustrating and lonely. There is so much to learn, so much to do, and you feel like you never have enough time.
Finding support can be difficult if you haven’t already found a community of other solopreneurs and business owners who can bolster you on the bad days.
A first-rate business book by someone who has been there, done that can help you feel less alone and give you some ideas on how to handle the challenges in your own business.
These 7 books will inspire you, encourage you, and show what’s possible in your own business when you take each day as it comes and you don’t give up.