Top 5 must-read books for entrepreneurs

Portfolio, part of Penguin Random House UK, publishes the very best business and personal development books. These five books are among their strongest perennial bestsellers – they are firmly established as essential reading for entrepreneurs and for anyone interested in improving their business and their skills.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

How constant innovation creates radically successful business

 “Every so often a business book comes along that changes how we think about innovation and entrepreneurship. Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup has the chops to join this exalted company.” – Philip Delves Broughton, Financial Times.

In The Lean Startup Eric Ries applies a new approach to business which is about learning what your customers really want. It’s about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it’s too late. Now is the time to think Lean.

Since it was published in 2011 this book has grown into a huge global movement, tried and tested by hundreds of thousands of leaders and entrepreneurs , and establishing Ries as an iconic figure for the entrepreneur community.

The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

A world-class business education in a single volume

“File this book under: NO EXCUSES.” – Seth Godin.

An MBA at a top school is an enormous investment in time, effort and cash. And if you don’t want to work for a consulting firm or an investment bank, the chances are it simply isn’t worth it. The rogue professor of modern business education, Josh Kaufman, has torn up the rulebook and given you the tools to teach yourself the essentials.

The Personal MBA teaches simple mental models for every subject that’s key to commercial success. From the basics of products, sales & marketing and finance to the nuances of human psychology, teamwork and creating systems, this book distils everything you need to know to take on the MBA graduates and win.

This bestselling book will help readers to transform their business, career or working life forever.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

How great leaders inspire everyone to take action.

“I couldn’t agree more with Simon. At Virgin, we’ve always been driven by ‘why’.” – Richard Branson.

Why do we do what we do…? Why are some people and organisations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others? And why are they able to repeat their success again and again?  In business, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters WHY you do it.

Start with Why analyses leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Steve Jobs and discovers that they all think in the same way – they all started with why.

Simon Sinek explains the framework needed for businesses to move past knowing what they do to how they do it, and then to ask the more important question: WHY?

Hooked by Nir Eyal

How to Build Habit-Forming Products

“An essential crib sheet for any startup looking to understand user psychology.” – Dave McClure, Founder 500 Startups.

This book is perfect for product designers, marketers, start up founders and anyone who wants to understand how products influence our behaviour. Hooked shows how to create user habits that stick and is based on Nir Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience.

What makes us engage with certain things out of sheer habit? Is there an underlying pattern to how technologies hook us?  Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) with the Hook Model – a four-step process that subtly encourages customer behaviour; repeatedly bringing them back without costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

In Hooked, Eyal gives practical insights, actionable steps for building products people will love and riveting examples from the iPhone to Twitter, Pinterest and the Bible App.

The Curve by Nicholas Lovell

Turning followers into superfans.

“An astute and perceptive guide to the new rules for making money in a radically disrupted internet economy. This book deserves to be a hit.” – David Rowan, Wired.

For most of the last century, companies strived to sell more of the same products at the same prices. But the future is about variation: tailoring products for customers, and letting your biggest fans spend as much as they like on things they value.

In The Curve, Nicholas Lovell challenges business owners not to be afraid of giving some things away for free, arguing that value lies in how you make people feel and by building communities, bespoke products and experiences. Small numbers of high spenders are enough to fuel a profitable business after all.

With stories drawn from artists, toymakers, sports, food, manufacturing and more, The Curve is nothing short of a business thinking revolution.