THE BLOG
11/25/2014 04:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Top 20 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Books of 2014


 
What do successful entrepreneurs read? Here's an inside look at this year's most talked-about books and hidden gems - YFS Magazine's roundup of the best books for startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs. From simple, smart and provocative insights to classics that every entrepreneur should own, we've curated a list of twenty books for your business pleasure.

Here is an insider look (in alphabetical order) at 10 of the top 20 business books every business owner should read:

 
1. #GIRLBOSS
by Sophia Amoruso
 
The first thing Sophia Amoruso sold online wasn't fashion--it was a stolen book... #GIRLBOSS includes Sophia's story, yet is infinitely bigger than Sophia. It's deeply personal yet universal. Filled with brazen wake-up calls ("You are not a special snowflake"), cunning and frank observations ("Failure is your invention"), and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal's meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that being successful isn't about how popular you were in high school or where you went to college (if you went to college). Rather, success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.

 
2. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
by Alexander Osterwalder and Dr. Yves Pigneur
 
Business Model Generation is a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow's enterprises. If your organization needs to adapt to harsh new realities, but you don't yet have a strategy that will get you out in front of your competitors, you need Business Model Generation. Co-created by 470 "Business Model Canvas" practitioners from 45 countries, the book features a beautiful, highly visual, 4-color design that takes powerful strategic ideas and tools, and makes them easy to implement in your organization.

 
3. Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition
by David Newman
 
As a small-business owner or solopreneur, you wear many hats--perhaps the most important of which is marketer. But these days, with so many new ways to reach customers and clients -- and only so much time in the day -- it's hard to know where to start. Should you be using social media? Email? Blogs? Video? SEO? Small business marketing doesn't have to be a mystery. It's just a series of simple decisions (and the action steps to implement those decisions) that will help you regain the clarity, confidence, and control you need to succeed.

 
4. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't
by Jim Collins
 
How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great? Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years.

 
5. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
by Nir Eyal
 
Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us? Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) by explaining the Hook Model--a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior.

 
6. How To Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
 
How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies world-wide. Warren Buffett took the Dale Carnegie course "How to Win Friends and Influence People" when he was 20 years old, and to this day has the diploma in his office. For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

 
7. Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
by Keith Ferrazzi
 
Do you want to get ahead in life? Climb the ladder to personal success? The secret, master networker Keith Ferrazzi claims, is in reaching out to other people. As Ferrazzi discovered in early life, what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships--so that everyone wins. In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps--and inner mindset--he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his contacts list, people he has helped and who have helped him.

 
8. People Buy You: The Real Secret to what Matters Most in Business
by Jeb Blount
 
People Buy You. Your ability to build lasting business relationships that allow you to close more deals, retain clients, increase your income, and advance your career to rise the top of your company or industry, depends on your skills for getting other people to like you, trust you, and BUY YOU. This break-through book pushes past the typical focus on mechanics and stale processes found in so many of today's sales and business books, and goes right to the heart of what matters most in 21st century business.

 
9. Rules For Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services
by Guy Kawasaki
 
Filled with insights from top innovators such as Amazon.com, Dell, Hallmark, and Gillette and rich with hands-on experience from the front lines of business, Rules for Revolutionaries will empower you--whether you're an entrepreneur, engineer, inventor, manager, or small business owner--to turn your dreams into reality, your reality into products, and your products into customer magnets.

 
10. Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)
by Verne Harnish
 
In Scaling Up, Harnish and his team share practical tools and techniques for building an industry-dominating business. These approaches have been honed from over three decades of advising tens of thousands of CEOs and executives and helping them navigate the increasing complexities (and weight) that come with scaling up a venture. This book is written so everyone -- from frontline employees to senior executives -- can get aligned in contributing to the growth of a firm.

Read the full list, The Top 20 Business Books of 2014, at yfsmagazine.com.