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  • Writer's pictureDel Chatterson

Recommended reading for entrepreneurs

Recommended reading

For entrepreneurs

In the recent 2020 Edition of DON’T DO IT THE HARD WAY, I included my updated list of recommended references and books for entrepreneurs, to manage themselves and

their businesses better. (See Part 6. Page 231)

The full list is available at below:

In order to help you be better as an entrepreneur, leader, manager and human being, I recommend the following authors for more ideas, information and inspiration. In my opinion, they are among the best at providing thoughtful insights and powerful advice.

I recommend that you make time for them in your process of continuous learning and improvement. Make your own selection from the list below, then find them online, follow them and read their work.

Management Gurus with advice for entrepreneurs

Here are some of their good books and a few memorable quotes:

Tom Peters

In Search of EXCELLENCE, 1982

“There is no more important trait among excellent companies than an action orientation. ... if you've got a major problem, bring the right people together and expect them to solve it.  They do, somehow, have the time." 

"Excellent companies are a vast network of informal, open communications. Forget the MBA - Masters in Business Administration – and remember the MBWA – Management By Walking Around."

Thriving on Chaos, 1987

"A well-handled problem usually breeds more customer loyalty than you had before the negative incident."

“Measure! And reward on the basis of the measures."

Henry Mintzberg


“Leadership has pushed management off the map…. Now we are overled and undermanaged.”

“Strategies are not immaculately conceived in detached offices. They are learned through tangible experiences.”    

Harvey Mackay

SWIM WITH THE SHARKS without Being Eaten Alive, 1988

"A goal is a dream with a deadline. Write it down" 

"Dig your well before you're thirsty"

"You'll always get the good news; it’s how quickly you get the bad news that really counts."


"Do what you love, love what you do and deliver more than you promise."

"You're a lot better off being scared than being bored."

Jim Collins

Built to Last, 1994

"Visionary companies almost religiously preserve their core ideology. Yet, they display a powerful drive for progress that enables them to adapt and change without compromising their cherished core ideals."

"Good enough never is. For these companies the critical question is – How can we do better tomorrow than we did today?"

From Good to Great, 2001

“Good is the enemy of great.”

“Confront the brutal facts, yet never lose faith.”

Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

First, Break all the Rules, 1999

“The one insight that we heard echoed by tens of thousands of great managers: People don't change that much. Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough."

Seth Godin

The Bootstrapper's Bible, 2004

"In advertising... persistence is the secret to success."

"In choosing partners remember: Ringo was the luckiest Beatle... a mediocre drummer riding on the backs of three musical geniuses."

Guy Kawasaki

The ART of the START, 2004

"Build a business to make meaning (the money will follow).”

“Have a mantra, not a mission statement.”

“Advertising is what you say about yourself, PR is what other people say about you. PR is better.”

For some alternative points of view:

Michael Gerber The E-Myth

Gerber claims he originated the cliché: Work on your business, not in your business. But his over-worked theme is a useful reminder to develop your business organisation and processes so that it can run without you in it every day.

Bo Burlingham Small Giants

An interesting study of small eccentric companies that decided to succeed by staying small. The conclusions are a stretch to fit the hypothesis that small is better, but worth reading to remember to build your business for yourself; not to chase some dream of global grandeur.

And from an entrepreneur of two hundred and fifty years ago: Benjamin Franklin

Perhaps best known as an American statesman and scientist, (he signed the Declaration of Independence, flew a kite in a lightning storm and has his picture on the U.S. $100 bill), Ben Franklin was also a very successful entrepreneur. A printer by trade, he launched several businesses and introduced the concept of franchising to his printing shops. He was successful enough to retire at age forty-two.

He was also a prolific writer and intelligent observer, analyst and commentator on business and life. It is worth considering Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management by Blaine McCormick, 2000.

In summary:

  1. Finish better than your beginnings.

  2. All education is self-education.

  3. Seek first to manage yourself, then to manage others.

  4. Influence is more important than victory.

  5. Work hard and watch your costs.

  6. Everybody wants to appear reasonable.

  7. Create your own set of values to guide your actions.

  8. Incentive is everything.

  9. Create solutions for seemingly impossible problems.

  10. Become a revolutionary for experimentation and change.

  11. Sometimes it's better to do 1001 small things right rather than only one large thing right.

  12. Deliberately cultivate your reputation and legacy.

More Reading for your personal management issues:

To do better in life and manage yourself past the entrepreneurial challenges, these are my recommended reads for personal self-improvement.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, 1989

"Begin with the end in mind."

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

More spiritual than you might expect, but some great insights and tools for personal management.

The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey, 2004

A follow-up book presenting the values of principle centered leadership.

Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins, 1991 "It is the small decisions you and I make every day that create our destinies."

"It is not events that shape my life and determine how I feel or act, it's the way I interpret and evaluate my life experiences."

The original concepts that launched Tony Robbins and the self-help industry.

The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham, 1973 From the professor who taught Warren Buffet how to grow his investments to be worth billions. Buffet calls it "By far the best book on investing ever written."

The Wealthy Barber and The Wealthy Barber Returns, 

David Chilton, 1989 and 2011 An easier read than Benjamin Graham and a great basic handbook for personal financial management. It should be required reading for every high school student and every investor paying someone else to manage their money.

Any of these books will help you focus on the fundamentals and achieve more successful approaches to your personal growth and development. It's worth finding the time for them.

And if you have others to recommend, I would be pleased to hear from you. Did I miss any of your favourites worth re-reading or recommended for sharing?

And for something new and different, take a look at the Self-Help Bonanza Book Promo for your choice of free new E-book releases from expert writers. Limited time offer, expires April 25th. Tips and tactics to do better in life, business, and relationships. Including my two books for entrepreneurs. Share with a friend who wants to be better, do better.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at:

Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

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