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Building your business should be fun. When I need that reminder, I turn to this list. Keep reading if learning new strategies and becoming a better leader is your idea of a good time, too.

17 Best Fun Business Books Shortlist

I’ve handpicked these fun business books — each ready to bridge your professional knowledge gaps without boring you to tears.

  1. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
  3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  4. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
  5. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
  6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  7. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins
  8. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  9. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
  10. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
  11. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John
  12. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  13. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
  14. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
  15. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
  16. Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
  17. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright

Overviews Of The 17 Best Fun Business Books

Here’s a quick summary of each book, what you’ll learn, and why you should read it, plus a quote I like from the book. I added the author’s LinkedIn and other places to connect with them online.

1. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"The Lean Startup" provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a fashion aimed at reducing the chance of failure.

What You'll Learn:

Explore the concept of continuous rapid prototyping and validating business hypotheses, learn how to drive a startup-how to steer when to turn, and when to persevere and grow a business with maximum acceleration.

Why You Should Read It:

If you're starting a business, this book is a practical guide to avoiding the all-too-common startup death by helping you test your vision continuously, adapt, and adjust before any large sums of time and money are expended.

Quote From The Book:

"The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else."

About The Author:

Eric Ries is renowned for pioneering the Lean Startup movement, and you can follow his insights and connect with him via his LinkedIn, stay updated on his thoughts via Twitter, or explore his profound expertise through his blog.

2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing About Hard Things - Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers - Fun Business Book

Summary:

Ben Horowitz’s "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" tackles the problems that business leaders face but rarely discuss, offering advice on building and running a startup.

What You'll Learn:

Gain insights into surviving dark moments in business, making hard decisions, and navigating the complexities of managing a startup.

Why You Should Read It:

This book doesn’t sugarcoat anything and is a must-read for entrepreneurs, reflecting on real stories from Ben’s extensive experience as a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

Quote From The Book:

"Take care of the people, the products, and the profits—in that order."

About The Author:

Ben Horowitz is a co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected entrepreneurs. You can delve into his world through his LinkedIn, or read his insights on the official Andreessen Horowitz blog.

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3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence People - Fun Business Book

Summary:

Dale Carnegie’s perennial bestseller, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," offers timeless strategies for creating successful personal and professional relationships.

What You'll Learn:

This book teaches you the nuances of interacting with people, enhancing your communication skills, handling people, making friends easily, and winning others to your way of thinking.

Why You Should Read It:

A cornerstone for anyone looking to improve their personal and professional relationships, Carnegie’s classic is essential for understanding the human element in our digital world.

Quote From The Book:

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

About The Author:

Dale Carnegie’s legacy continues through his timeless wisdom on personal development.

4. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

Zero to One - Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"Zero to One" explores the process of creating something radically new and taking it to the next step. Based on a series of lectures by Peter Thiel at Stanford University, this book dives deep into the progressive thinking necessary for innovative startup creation.

What You'll Learn:

Understand how to make a startup successful, the importance of unique business ideas, and how to establish a monopoly in a specific market. The book also offers unconventional wisdom on startup innovation and building a meaningful and substantial company.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is for anyone who wants to learn about the stark differences between competing in a crowded market versus creating something entirely new. It’s a visionary’s guide to building a company that shapes the future.

Quote From The Book:

"Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system."

About The Author:

Peter Thiel, a renowned entrepreneur and investor, has been a part of landmark companies such as PayPal and Facebook. You can connect with him on LinkedIn. For more on his ideas and ventures, visit this website.

5. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek - Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"The 4-Hour Workweek" defies the old-fashioned notion of the regular work routine, offering readers a solution: developing luxury lifestyles that don’t require copious amounts of time or money.

What You'll Learn:

Discover strategies for creating a life that balances work and personal time, making your time both productive and meaningful. It introduces the concept of the "New Rich," a fast-growing subculture dedicated to lifestyle design and time wealth.

Why You Should Read It:

Perfect for those who want to escape the trap of working endlessly to live the life they desire. Ferriss provides practical tips and philosophical advice for drastically reducing your workload while maximizing leisure and travel.

Quote From The Book:

"What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do."

About The Author:

Timothy Ferriss is a public speaker, entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed "human guinea pig." He shares lifestyle tips and more on his blog, engages with followers on Twitter, and offers additional content on his LinkedIn.

6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"Think and Grow Rich" is a curation of the habits of wealthy people, distilled from interviews with over 500 successful individuals. It presents key principles to success that can enable personal achievement in any area of life.

What You'll Learn:

Gain insights into the mindset alterations and behaviors conducive to wealth creation and success. The book emphasizes planning, persistence, and the power of thought, offering strategies to shift one’s drive into high gear.

Why You Should Read It:

If you seek transformational tools to build confidence, harness your passion, and create wealth, this classic, impactful book is your go-to guide.

Quote From The Book:

"The starting point of all achievement is desire."

About The Author:

Napoleon Hill was a profound self-help author. His work continues to influence millions.

7. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins

Good To Great - Fun Business Book

Summary:

Jim Collins's "Good to Great" examines why certain companies surge ahead in the market and others don’t. Through meticulous research, Collins identifies the factors that transform a good company into one that achieves sustained greatness.

What You'll Learn:

Understand the critical elements that drive companies to exceptional success, including disciplined people, thought, and action, as well as the concept of a “Hedgehog Principle” to guide business strategies.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is vital for leaders and business enthusiasts interested in what separates average companies from extraordinary performers. It’s about making the leap to greatness and sustaining it.

Quote From The Book:

"Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline."

About The Author:

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of leadership and what makes great companies tick. Engage with his latest thoughts on Twitter or delve into more resources on his personal website.

8. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs - Fun Business Book

Summary:

Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" is an in-depth and enthralling biography of the enigmatic and influential innovator. Based on numerous interviews, the book captures the life and thoughts of the man who changed the world with Apple.

What You'll Learn:

Readers will explore the perseverance, innovation, leadership, and often controversial management style of Jobs, providing insights into the factors that drove him to create groundbreaking products.

Why You Should Read It:

For those passionate about technology, innovation, and personal development, this biography provides an intimate look at the professional and personal life of a man who dared to think differently.

Quote From The Book:

"Stay hungry, stay foolish."

About The Author:

Walter Isaacson is known for penning extraordinary biographies. Follow his latest reflections on Twitter and learn more about his work on his LinkedIn profile.

9. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy - How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"Blue Ocean Strategy," by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, challenges everything you thought you knew about strategic success and provides a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant. The book offers a vision of the kind of expanding, competition-free markets that innovative companies can navigate.

What You'll Learn:

Discover how to break out of the bloody competition, exploit new market spaces, and make the strategic moves that lead to new, untapped wide markets.

Why You Should Read It:

For strategists, leaders, and individual contributors looking for a fresh take on capturing new markets, this book provides a revolutionary perspective that encompasses strategy, marketing, and management.

Quote From The Book:

"Instead of getting stuck in the confines of the existing industry or trying to outperform rivals in the existing market space, you will learn to create uncontested market space that makes the competition irrelevant."

About The Authors:

W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne are professors of strategy and management.

10. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup - Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future - Fun Business Book

Summary:

In "The $100 Startup," Chris Guillebeau discusses how to lead a life of adventure, meaning, and purpose – and earn a good living while at it. The book underscores the possibility of converging the quest for passion and profit by leveraging talents, experiences, and interests to create a sustainable startup.

What You'll Learn:

You will learn practical strategies for generating profitable business ideas, low-cost startup methods, and invaluable insights from entrepreneurs who have found success through a path less conventional.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is for aspiring entrepreneurs who seek to escape the 9-5 grind and launch a business without requiring hefty investments or traditional business plans.

Quote From The Book:

"Value means helping people. If you’re not sure how to help people, try to make them happy."

About The Author:

You can connect with Chris Guillebeau on LinkedIn, follow his journeys on Twitter, or explore his world of adventure, entrepreneurship, and travel tips on his personal website.

11. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John

The Power of Broke - How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage - Fun Business Book

Summary:

Daymond John's "The Power of Broke" emphasizes how starting a business from limited financial resources can not only be an entrepreneur's reality but also their biggest asset. It showcases how the 'power of broke' mindset can drive innovation and entrepreneurial success.

What You'll Learn:

The book reveals strategies for leveraging your scarcity for success, inspiring through real-life examples from globally recognized personalities and brands that started from the bottom and soared to prominence.

Why You Should Read It:

For aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators, this book reinforces the idea that being cash-strapped is not a deterrent to success but a powerful motivator and equalizer.

Quote From The Book:

"When you have nothing to lose, you have everything to gain."

About The Author:

Join Daymond John’s professional community on LinkedIn, get his latest updates on Twitter, or explore more about his initiatives and works on his personal website.

12. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Start with Why - How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"Start with Why" illustrates how leaders and organizations should start with WHY they do what they do, clearly defining their beliefs and motivations. Simon Sinek argues that this foundational question is what separates successful individuals and organizations from the rest.

What You'll Learn:

Readers will understand why certain individuals and companies succeed in creating profound impact and maintaining loyalty, while others falter. It highlights the critical approach of communicating from the inside out to build a solid, loyal foundation.

Why You Should Read It:

If you're searching for ways to inspire others or find deeper personal motivation, this book provides a framework for nurturing a powerful and effective leadership style.

Quote From The Book:

"People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it."

About The Author:

Expand your professional network by connecting with Simon Sinek on LinkedIn, or delving deeper into the “Why” universe through his personal website.

13. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

The E-Myth Revisited - Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"The E-Myth Revisited" sheds light on the misconceptions surrounding starting your own business, exploring why most small businesses fail and outlining solutions for overcoming these common pitfalls. Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business and emphasizes the importance of working on your business, not just in it.

What You'll Learn:

You'll discover the importance of strategic growth, systemization, and leadership. Specifically, understanding the distinctions between working on your business and working in your business is a pivotal point.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is crucial for small business owners and those considering starting one, as it provides the tools to organize, develop, and refine your business structure to ensure long-term success and avoid common entrepreneurial mistakes.

Quote From The Book:

"If your business depends on you, you don't own a business—you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic!"

About The Author:

Connect with Michael E. Gerber on LinkedIn, read his latest insights on Twitter, and find more resources, or get in touch through his personal website.

14. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

Purple Cow - Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable - Fun Business Book

Summary:

In "Purple Cow," Seth Godin advocates for the necessity of creating truly remarkable products or services to stand out, rather than relying on traditional advertising. The book is a call to action for businesses to innovate, be unique, and become 'Purple Cows' that consumers can't ignore.

What You'll Learn:

You'll learn why it's essential to be remarkable and how to turn your business into a 'Purple Cow.' Godin provides insights and real-world examples to show how businesses that are perceived as extraordinary attract more attention and are more likely to succeed.

Why You Should Read It:

"Purple Cow" is essential for entrepreneurs, marketers, and creatives who want to break free from traditional approaches and understand the value of innovation and differentiation in today's competitive market.

Quote From The Book:

"In your career, even more than for a brand, being safe is risky. The path to lifetime job security is to be remarkable."

About The Author:

Engage with Seth Godin's musings via LinkedIn, follow him for more wisdom on Twitter, or explore his books, blog, and unique takes on marketing and life on his personal website.

15. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

Tribes - We Need You to Lead Us - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"Tribes" is Seth Godin's manifesto on the power of community and leadership in the modern age. He explores the concept that everyone, regardless of their position, has the opportunity to lead by forming and nurturing communities around shared ideas and movements.

What You'll Learn:

You'll learn about the transformative power of leading and uniting groups, or tribes, connected by a shared passion. Godin explains why these communities are crucial in driving change and how you can emerge as a leader.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is vital for individuals seeking to harness their influence to create a loyal following, drive change, and make a difference, whether in business, social change, or personal development.

Quote From The Book:

"Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work."

About The Author:

Engage with Seth Godin's musings via LinkedIn, follow him for more wisdom on Twitter, or explore his books, blog, and unique takes on marketing and life on his personal website.

16. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Built to Last - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"Built to Last" delves into why certain companies achieve sustained success over many years. Collins and Porras analyze exceptional companies, comparing them with direct competitors, revealing what makes visionary companies fundamentally different and how they remain innovative, resilient, and prosperous over the long term.

What You'll Learn:

Readers will learn the practices, principles, and habits that visionary companies adopt. The book uncovers the importance of a core ideology, embracing 'big hairy audacious goals,' and stimulating progress through consistent innovation and alignment with core values.

Why You Should Read It:

For entrepreneurs, leaders, and managers, "Built to Last" provides insightful analyses of successful companies that have withstood the test of time. It's an essential guide for those who aim to build enduring institutions.

Quote From The Book:

"The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

About The Author:

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of leadership and what makes great companies tick. Engage with his latest thoughts on Twitter or delve into more resources on his personal website.

17. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright

Tribal Leadership - Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization - Fun Business Book

Summary:

"Tribal Leadership" gives insight into corporate culture by illustrating how tribes, the groups naturally formed within any company, determine how successful and innovative a company can be. The authors outline a clear path for leaders to follow in elevating their company's tribal culture and achieving higher levels of success.

What You'll Learn:

This book teaches the five stages of tribal culture and how leaders can recognize and elevate their tribes' cultural stages. It discusses the significance of these stages in harnessing employees' potential and fostering an environment of growth and opportunity.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is a must-read for those in leadership roles who seek to foster a vibrant, productive, and collaborative work culture. Understanding tribal dynamics can lead to profound improvements in office morale, productivity, and consequently, the bottom line.

Quote From The Book:

"Great leaders don’t try to be perfect, they try to be themselves."

About The Authors:

Discover more about Dave Logan's work through his LinkedIn profile, stay updated with his latest posts on Twitter, or learn more through his website. You can also connect with John King and Halee Fischer-Wright to delve deeper into their insights and leadership philosophies.

Which Fun Business Books Do You Recommend?

This collection captures pivotal insights from various thought leaders, yet the expanse of wisdom is ever-growing. If you believe there are seminal works or hidden gems that should join this list, please share them. Your contribution is crucial in enriching this reservoir of knowledge, ensuring it offers the most profound guidance for enthusiasts and seasoned professionals alike. Together, we can build a comprehensive library that serves and inspires the entrepreneurial spirit in us all.

By Phil Gray

Philip Gray is the COO of Black and White Zebra and Founding Editor of The RevOps Team. A business renaissance man with his hands in many departmental pies, he is an advocate of centralized data management, holistic planning, and process automation. It's this love for data and all things revenue operations landed him the role as resident big brain for The RevOps Team.

With 10+ years of experience in leadership and operations in industries that include biotechnology, healthcare, logistics, and SaaS, he applies a considerable broad scope of experience in business that lets him see the big picture. An unapologetic buzzword apologist, you can often find him double clicking, drilling down, and unpacking all the things.