As an entrepreneur, self-improvement is non-negotiable. There are always more skills to learn and more philosophies to internalize that will help make you a better leader for your team. Below are 14 books that can help, from topics on business successes (and failures) to works of philosophy and psychology.
A. ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers,’ by Ben Horowitz
Ninety percent of books about entrepreneurship are fluff. They talk about hustle, hacks, perseverance and the inevitability of success. But what these books don't talk about is the crushing grief, despair and failure along the way. Ben Horowitz digs deep into his past in The Hard Thing About Hard Things and is brutally honest about the journey he went on as an entrepreneur — both the ups and the downs. Its a must-read for all budding founders. - Jacob Chapman, Gelt Venture Capital
A. ‘Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't,’ by Simon Sinek
A. ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow,’ by Daniel Kahneman
Although it's a few years old, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, is a fascinating read. The author is a psychologist who examines the two cognitive systems that shape our judgments and how we make decisions. The findings can help with becoming a better leader, because you can gain insights into how you think and form perspectives that define how you lead so you can make improvements. - Andrew O'Connor, American Addiction Centers
A. ‘Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business,’ by Gino Wickman
Great leadership starts with open communication. The book Traction by Gino Wickman outlines how to create and communicate company core values, accountability charts and quarterly goals so everyone is on the same page. By being transparent, you're letting your employees know they're valued and that the organization is evolving. - Ben Camerota, MVP Visuals
A. ‘Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others,’ by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas
They say a great leader is a great listener. But what about the times when your staff isn't talking? Knowing how to use questions to uncover ideas and concerns helps every leader build deeper relationships and get the most out of their team. Power Questions by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas, lists many useful questions to extract meaningful information from everyday conversations with your team. - Andrew Hoeft, Pinpoint Software, Inc.
A. ‘Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't,’ by Jim Collins
Good to Great by Jim Collins, talks about the ways that companies take the next step from being just middle of the road to leaders in their industry, namely through better leadership from the top down. And it discusses ways that you can not only get to the top, but to stay there. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
A. ‘Emotional Intelligence 2.0,’ by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
In a world where information is abundant and accessible, emotional intelligence is a far greater skill to have than intelligence. In Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, the co-authors explain the four main areas that make up EQ: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Then they offer strategies for improving each to empower you as a professional and leader. - Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
A. ‘The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,’ by Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills
This book has nothing to do directly with leadership, but the foundation to be a great leader, is to be an evolved, self-aware person. The Four Agreements is seemingly quite basic, teaching you principles like "don't take things personally," but the mastery of them is a life-long challenge that will feed into your leadership to make you better. - Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40
A. ‘The Narrow Road: A Brief Guide to the Getting of Money,’ by Felix Dennis
I recommend the book The Narrow Road by Felix Dennis. This is not your usual get-rich-quick manual but rather a blunt and honest account of the mistakes he has made and the lessons he learnt the hard way. I consider it an absolutely essential read for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur. - Luigi Wewege, Vivier Group
A. ‘The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations,’ by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations is based on 30 years of research and goes beyond trends and digs into what's real and proven. It has changed my approach to challenges everywhere, not only in the workplace. A must read for every aspiring leader. - Elliot Bohm, Cardcash.com
A. ‘Consolations of Philosophy,’ by Alain De Botton
The book Consolations of Philosophy opened my eyes to the value of philosophy. There is a section on Nietzsche, who proposed that we look at our challenges like gardeners. At their roots, plants can be exceptionally ugly and unwieldy. But a person with knowledge and faith in their potential can cultivate them to bear beautiful flowers and fruit. This is analogous to life and leadership, in my opinion. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
A. ‘Leadership,’ by Rudolph W. Giuliani and Ken Kurson
Rudolph W. Giuliani's ideas are unique, and even used the tragedy of 9/11 to show another perspective. His book, Leadership, taught me how to prepare and study and learn independently. He says, "Whatever lesson you get from the world's situation could be applied to your leadership skills." I love how he spent time on discussing loyalty and how to deal with bullies. - Daisy Jing, Banish
A. ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, is a classic in terms of getting clarity and focus on your goals and what you are trying to achieve. It is a fast and easy read. And conveys some valuable ideas whether you are starting a business or advancing your career. There are things that may seem hokey (like "the ether"), but the underlying notions are incredibly valuable. - Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula
A. ‘Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street,’ by John Brooks
The stories in Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks provide great lessons for anyone that has to make important decisions and oversee people. The stories are entertaining and hold your interest, which means I probably learned even more, especially thinking about some of the crazy things they shared that actually happened. - Angela Ruth, Due
These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.