Almost every successful entrepreneur has failed. Some have been fired and some have been told “That will never work”. If you are thinking of quitting your side hustle, think again. Did you know Nike was actually Phil Knight’s side hustle for more than five years? What if he decided to throw the towel in? What if Marc Randolph never would have stepped down from being Netflix’s CEO?
If you’re an entrepreneur or have recently turned your side hustle into your full-time gig this list is for you!
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
My older sister swears by this book and was the one who convinced me to read Lean In. Let’s be real, she didn’t need to do much convincing, since you know Sheryl is the COO of Facebook. This is a book I believe every MALE and FEMALE entrepreneur should read. Lean in talks about gender inequality and why women are still underrepresented as a valuable team player in the workforce, sometimes due to our own insecurities. If you aren’t one who can easily commit to reading a book, I strongly suggest you checkout Lean In on Facebook. There are always great articles about topics Sheryl covers in her book.
Biggest Takeaway: Just ask! There is a part in the book where Sheryl described her time working at Google when she was pregnant. There was a day she had to park all the way across the parking lot with sh*t in her hands and she was running late. She stormed into the bosses office and demanded there be parking for pregnant women closer to the building. Without even objecting, they said yes. I think in the recent feminist movements, we have forgotten about equality. We overuse #girlboss and make endless jokes about men, when instead we should be giving constructive criticism. Sometimes men honestly don’t realize how they are excluding women and they need us to bring it to their attention in a professional manner.
2. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
The Universe Has Your Back was the last book I read before graduating college and I truly believe it sets the tone for my first year and first job out of college. Before graduating, I was nervous and scared 1) I had no job and 2) I had to move back home…with my parents. It felt like all my classmates and friends were staying in Chicago, getting glamorous jobs at advertising and public relations firms, while I had no set plan for where I was going to end up. The Universe Has Your Back is a great book for anyone starting the next chapter in their life, whatever that chapter may be: adulthood, new job, marriage, attempting to have a baby, etc.
Biggest Takeaway: Do all things with love and when in doubt, lead all negative thoughts back to love.
3. You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
You Are A Badass was the first book I read out of college. I remember reading it by the pool and actually laughing out loud. I recommend every entrepreneur read this inspiring book before they make the leap to start their own business. Jen Sincero will give you the confidence you need to say “F it, I am a badass”.
Biggest Takeaway: I am a badass.
4. Make Your Bed by Admiral William H Mcraven (RET)
I first heard the Admirals speech about Make Your Bed on Facebook. Make Your Bed is based on Admiral Williams commencement speech for the graduating class from the University of Texas at Austin.
Biggest Takeaway: You will fail…multiple times in life. Especially as an entrepreneur. Grow from your failures and use them to your advantage. I’ve faced failure real hard before… I was fired in an email when I was in college. I was devastated, heartbroken, and embarrassed. I honestly think true entrepreneurs will be fired at least once in their life and it will only make them a better business owner and boss.
5. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Yes, I am recommending every entrepreneur read a book written by Nike’s Founder. I’ll keep this short and simple. Shoe Dog is the autobiography about Phil Knight and his journey to creating one of the top shoe companies in the world. Knight takes readers on his journey, which wasn’t always easy or glamorous.
Biggest Takeaway: Nike was Phil Knight’s SIDE HUSTLE. What?! Shoe Dog is officially one of my top 5 favorite books. There have been so many times I have questioned whether or not the CEOs and founders I look up to questioned themselves. It was nice to read that even Phil asked himself “wtf” multiple times when building the Nike empire.
6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My best friend Kaylinn makes fun of me for how much I talk about this book, but I am not joking this book will forever be in my Top 10 favorites of all time. The first time I read Eat, Pray, Love I was on my way to Rome to study abroad. The boy I had been in love with for 2 ½ years shattered my heart and it was time to find me again. I highlighted the shit out of that book because so much of it was relatable since Liz was off to find herself again as well. Fast forward to my senior year of college, I just met Brennan and I read the book in a whole new light. I read it from an entrepreneur point of view of “this is not going to be easy and there may be times where I lose everything, but it will be okay.” Eat, Pray, Love is a feel good book that I believe can be read over and over again and you will discover something new about yourself.
Biggest Takeaway: Eat the carbs! Don’t regret cheat days, or maybe even cheat weeks. Life is too short and stressful to be constantly worrying about how many calories, or how many carbs, or how many grams of sugar are in what you are eating.
7. The Defining Decade by: Meg Jay
Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, takes you through different “big” moments of your 20s through stories she’s heard over the years from her patients. She explains that your 20s do matter…a lot…because 80%(!!) of life’s most defining moments take place by 35. This is a must read if you’re in your 20s, make sure to have a highlighter on hand!
Biggest Takeaway: I highly recommend you and your significant other read The Defining Decade together. My boyfriend and I are three years apart and while that may not seem like a lot, there have definitely been some challenges due to our age and where we were at in our lives. When we first met, I was still in college and Brennan was three years out of college with a big boy job. I believe The Defining Decade helped us understand each others point of view.
8. Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
If you have followed me on social media since the beginning, you know I have the BIGGEST crush on Gary Vee and this book is MY BIBLE. Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook is helps people understand how to tell their story on social media and succeed without having taken college courses, or attend endless social media seminars.
Biggest Takeaway: Give, give, give, then ask. I think so many businesses and influencers ask, ask, ask their audience to do stuff for them, instead of giving them stuff, while expecting too much in return. Then they wonder why they have no success on social media. “99% of people don’t market in the year we live in.” Gary said this in 2013. It’s 2019 and I still believe the majority of people don’t know how to tell their stories/ their businesses stories on social media. If you are a small business owner, or about to start your own business, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. You can thank me later.
9. That Will Never Work by Marc Randolph
If you know me, you know I am the biggest movie buff! I still love going to the theater and buying overpriced popcorn. When I was little it was a Friday tradition in my family to go to Blockbuster and pick out a few movies. When Netflix first came out with their mailing system you can bet I had my parents sign us up for it! That Will Never Work is the untold story of how Netflix went from concept to company, told by Netflix’s Co-founder and first CEO.
Biggest Takeaway: Always follow your dreams even if you are told they will never work 5,000 times!
10. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
Another book recommended by my older sister. If you know my sister and I, you know we are polar opposites when it comes to our personalities in the work world. Quick story to help you understand…when I was little I came downstairs with my Barbie’s head ripped off, my sister looked at my mom and said she would never want to work for me when she was older. Long story short, I am the bad cop, she is the good cop.
Never Split the Difference helps you build your own foundation for negotiation. You have to understand the receiving party’s point of view/perspective by actively listening and comprehending.
Biggest Takeaway: Don’t read this book, listen to it on audio.I hate books on audio, but my sister recommended it because the tone of voice is important in negotiation, so listening to the reader is helpful.
I am always looking to read more books. What is one book that has helped you as an entrepreneur? Leave a comment below or message me via social media letting me know you liked this blog post! Check out my Book Worm board on Pinterest for other good reads.