It’s easy to become so immersed in running a business that we neglect personal growth. And yet, developing our abilities is one of the best ways to unlock new opportunities for the future. So, let’s explore 9 of the best self-help books for entrepreneurs.

Some of the key topics and themes covered in this list include:

  • How to create daily habits that support your goals and dreams
  • How to unlock your full potential by maintaining a growth mindset
  • How to find passion at work by mastering a rare and valuable skill
  • How to thrive in a world with artificial intelligence and automation
  • How to rapidly acquire new skills, abilities, and knowledge
  • How to effectively negotiate to get more of what you want

Note: In addition to exploring some of these topics, you may also be interested in reading some of the best productivity books.

1. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits Book Cover
Atomic Habits by James Clear

A common misconception is that setting goals is the key to achieving success in life. But unfortunately, there is a big difference between having ambitious dreams and putting in the time and effort required to make them happen. As a result, many people have goals that are completely disconnected from the reality of their daily routines.

Atomic Habits is about how to create habits that support and contribute to the achievement of your goals. It explains how small changes in your daily routine can help you make consistent progress on even the most ambitious goals. And, while changing a habit isn’t easy, the book provides practical and actionable advice that can help.

Atomic Habits is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

2. Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

Mindset Book Cover Web
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

We often set artificial limitations on our skills and abilities. For example, deep down, we may believe that we will never be good at creative writing, public speaking, or leading other people. In some cases, we reach these conclusions based on one or two attempts that didn’t go as planned and ended in a negative experience.

‘Mindset’ is about how to unlock our full potential by maintaining a growth mindset. Rather than assuming our abilities are static or unalterable, this mindset recognizes that new skills can be developed over time. So, by switching from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, we unlock new options for ourselves and others.

Mindset is available from Amazon and Apple Books. If you want to learn more before picking up a copy, check out my Mindset book summary.

3. So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

So Good They Cant Ignore You Book Cover
So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Many people have the mistaken belief that the key to success and happiness at work is to “follow your passion.” Unfortunately, it’s rare to have an existing passion that relates to a valuable career or business opportunity. And, while many successful people are indeed passionate about what they do, it’s a mistake to assume they started that way. 

So Good They Can’t Ignore You explains that passion is often the result of first mastering a rare and valuable skill. That’s because mastery unlocks opportunities for greater autonomy, competence, and social connections. So, by starting with a rare and valuable skill, you can create the foundation for passion and happiness at work.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

4. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Essentialism Book Cover
Essentialism by Greg McKeown

We live in a time of incredible abundance, yet never before have we had our attention pulled in so many different directions. We’re constantly trying to do too much in our personal lives, work lives, and even our social lives. As a result, we can feel both overwhelmed and unsatisfied at the same time.

‘Essentialism’ is about how to gain satisfaction through the disciplined pursuit of less. It’s not about being more efficient or more productive. Instead, it’s about being more intentional about the few things that matter most while eliminating everything else. In short, it’s about doing fewer things better.

Essentialism is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

5. Futureproof by Kevin Roose

Futureproof Book Web
Futureproof by Kevin Roose

Many people understand that artificial intelligence and automation are set to transform the economy. But, few realize that the process is already well underway. Not only are workers being replaced, but less visible is the fact that far fewer are being hired into many roles, compared with in the past. So, it’s essential today to identify the career & business opportunities that are likely to remain relevant.

‘Futureproof’ is about how to thrive in a world that is increasingly dominated by machines. It makes the case that the key to a happy, rewarding life in the age of automation is not competing with machines but rather strengthening our uniquely human skills. In other words, ensuring that we’re equipped to do things machines can’t.

Futureproof is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

6. Ultralearning by Scott H. Young

Ultralearning Book Cover
Ultralearning by Scott H. Young.

Many of the best and most rewarding opportunities in life require that we master new skills. But of course, developing an entirely new skill from scratch is very difficult and time-consuming. As a result, few people make the effort, even if it means staying locked in a dead-end job or sticking with hobbies that have outlived their passion.

‘Ultralearning’ is about how to rapidly acquire new skills, abilities, and knowledge. It covers nine powerful principles that you can use to learn almost anything faster and more effectively. So, if you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, start a new hobby, or even unlock new career or business opportunities, this book can help.

Ultralearning is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

7. Chatter by Ethan Kross

Chatter Book Web
Chatter by Ethan Kross

We all have an inner voice that we can use to evaluate our actions, learn from past mistakes, and better prepare for the future. Unfortunately, all too often, this voice turns into a steady stream of negative thoughts and emotions. And, rather than help us improve, it can hold us back by causing rumination, anxiety, and even self-sabotage.

‘Chatter’ is about how to tame and properly harness your inner voice. It covers practical tips for enjoying the many benefits of self-reflection and introspection, while greatly reducing unproductive and negative self-talk. So, if you have a harsh inner critic that is stifling your growth or holding you back in life, this book can help.

Chatter is available from Amazon and Apple Books. If you want to learn more before picking up a copy, check out my Chatter book summary.

8. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast And Slow Book Web
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Few people appreciate just how often their choices and behaviors are influenced by factors that are invisible to them. We like to believe that we are in control or, at the very least, that we understand the key ingredients that make up our many choices in life. Yet, the truth is that we can easily be influenced or manipulated in many different ways.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is about how we process information and make decisions in everyday life. It explains the two distinct systems that we use while thinking and the many surprising factors and biases that influence our choices. So, if you want to dive deep into the details of how your mind works, this is the book for you.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

9. Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss

Never Split The Difference Book Cover
Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss.

There are many times in life where we want something from somebody else and the only way to get it is to negotiate a deal.  For example, when buying a home, asking for a raise, or doing a business deal. Unfortunately, many people either don’t know how to negotiate or are just very uncomfortable with the process.

Never Split The Difference explains how to properly negotiate for the things you want in life. It covers nine proven principles that can help you be more persuasive in both personal and professional situations. And, contrary to what you might expect, many of the tools can be used without burning bridges or hurting relationships.

Never Split The Difference is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

Other Great Books For Entrepreneurs To Read

Beyond exploring self-improvement tips and insights, you may also be interested in productivity, marketing, business strategy, or leadership. So, when you finish these self-help books, consider reviewing my other business book reading lists.

You can also subscribe to The Rick Kettner YouTube Channel or The Rick Kettner Podcast to get updates about future book summaries and reading lists.

Rick Kettner

Rick is an avid reader and lifelong entrepreneur. He co-founded popular online music education platforms including Drumeo, Pianote, and Guitareo. He now spends much of his time sharing tips on business strategy, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

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