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The Iraqi book market story is often repeated in business circles. Their books remain in the open, during the night. The Iraqis believe, readers don’t steal and thieves don’t read. We honestly couldn’t confirm it for truth value. Nevertheless, we subscribe to the Iraqi’s faith on the learned.

Reading shapes your thoughts, morals and will. Among the sect of people who benefit immensely from reading are entrepreneurs. It helps them to explore people’s psychology and importantly, their philosophies. Whenever you think of speaking the client’s language, think beyond linguistic abilities.

Successful people make reading a habit in early years. To be precise, it becomes a compulsive habit, when you are on to something big. You can turn a few pages before bed or let books occupy travelling hours. Nothing can get better than reading a book, while sipping on hot tea, in your garden.

The maestro of investing, Warren Buffet suggests reading 500 pages a day as the mantra of success.  The American business magnate, Bill Gates finishes a book every week. The Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg took up the one book every second week challenge by 2015. Through books, he aims to learn, “different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies”.

Here we present the top 10 best business books for first-time entrepreneurs & startup owners:

Personality Development Books

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

How to win friends and influence people

In business, you must connect with people at all levels. This gem from Dale Carnegie helps you master it. Lots of people in the U.S and worldwide have tasted success in personal and professional lives after reading this book.

In a nutshell, Dale Carnegie introduces you to his six steps to get people to like you, twelve ways to influence people and nine ways to shift their thinking without resentment.

Moreover, the book emphasizes the importance of constructive criticism, genuine compliments and dealing with people’s emotions.  After all, we are creatures of emotions, rather than logics.

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This is Stephen R. Covey’s life’s best work. Covey is known for this book. It has literally touched thousands of lives. To be able to come up with this masterpiece, Covey researched last 200 years of success literature.

He noted that, off late most books are focused on personality ethic. Things like public image, social interactions, positive attitude and outlook got more emphasis. What has been missing off late was the character ethic.

Covey took both the character and personality ethic to come up with an inside out approach towards being an effective person.

3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek

Start With Why How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action

This book is literally an extension of a TED talk delivered by the author. It has gone on to become the third most viewed TED talk ever.

The author decodes what inspires and what doesn’t.  He states that, the question of ‘why’ has more significance than ‘how’ or ‘what’. He explains the priority of each question on ‘The Golden Circle’.

This Socratic approach is quite easy to follow. Sinek gives some top anecdotes in his TED speech. The references to Wright brothers, Martin Luther King, etc… were simply superb.

4. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence

In the words of Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence refers to ‘how well we handle ourselves’. The four domains he mentions are self-awareness, self-management, empathy and relationship. Human brain supports emotional-social intelligence. Through this book, Goleman helps master our emotional component.

Dale Carnegie, another prolific author believes people are creatures of emotions, rather logic. In his books, he teaches how to use influence others through their emotions. On the other hand, Goleman teaches us to master our own emotions. This books helps gain social skills.

Strategy Books

1. The Art of War – Sun Tzu

The Art of War

This masterpiece was drafted in the 6th century BC. Interestingly, it’s considered as the bible of military strategies even today.  From Napoleon to Mae Zedong to General Douglas McArthur, many historical heavyweights took inspirations from it. Business and management gurus have applied Sun Tzu’s principles to win at corporate politics.

Brief history: In the age of bloody civil war 2500 year ago, a Chinese military commander, strategist and philosopher emerged. His name was Sun Tzu, whose book was drafted after he successfully defended Wu, against his neighbor Chu to the west.

2. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

The Lean Startup

Most startups fail. However, such failures are always preventable. The Lean Startup proposes a new setup you can adopt for your business. It helps address excess in expenditure and help stabilize your startup early-on.

Ries is an employee, founder and startup advisor. He shares stories of his own startup failures. He attributes his failures to too much emphasis on product launch and less focus on customer expectations.

The book has sold over one million copies around the world. It has been translated in 30 different languages.

Continue reading: How to come up with a great business idea in 3 simple steps

Finance & Economics Books

1. The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith

Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith is a Scottish countryman of late 18th Century. He grew up in a time and era, where being intellectual was in fashion. His intellectual abilities were well honed at reputed universities. He rose to popularity by his moral writings. His essay on ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ was his first famous work.

The Wealth of Nations was published in 1776, when revolutionary fervor was underway. In the settings of Colonialism and debate over free market, this book offered such clarity. Adam Smith’s work was well ahead of his time.

2. Think and Grow Rich! – Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill was a journalist and a writer. Andrew Carnegie, a global business magnate of his time asked Hill to develop a philosophy of success. As part of the offer, he promised to open doors to 500 richest people in America.

Hill interviewed them, took their inputs and put it into a series of books. He formulated the qualities and behavior of successful people into 17 principles. The aim was to help the younger lads to be successful rather quickly.

Interestingly, Napoleon Hill was not paid a single penny prior to release of this book.

3. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

This book reflects on ever present gender inequality in workplace. Women face prejudice day to day. This book is pretty much the author’s voice from the bottom of her heart. There is a sense of urgency and a real shout.

Sheryl Sandberg asks women to walk up to the table and own what they rightfully deserve. You may not be liked by each and every one out there. But, it’s perfectly okay, since women are less praised when they achieve things.  Above all, the mantra of the book is empowering the women around you.

4. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Well, you might have finished reading this book in middle school. You might have the idea, what’s said in 200 pages could have been said in 20.

However, some of the readers consider it as #1 personal finance book of all time. It has that effect on people.

Robert Kiyosaki has done well to polarize readers with astounding simplicity in writing. This book is an easy read nonetheless. The author emphasizes on how to manage money effectively. The mantra is, invest only in things that generate income.

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