How much could your business save?Find out now!
Or, you can call us on:0800 411 8830

12 books about real life entrepreneurs to read in 2017


2017 may have just begun, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t plan our year of business reading.

 

Below is a list of our favourite books about real life entrepreneurs. Inspirational stories, actionable tips and warnings about what not to do – these books have it all.

 

1. The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley are Changing the World – Brad Stone

No list of entrepreneurs would be complete without a mention of Silicon Valley’s finest disruptors. This book covers the rise of Uber and Airbnb and is especially interesting when covering how the tech giants navigated the regulatory minefields of their respective industries.  

 

2. Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built – Duncan Clark

Alibaba is a Chinese eCommerce giant – in 2014 their $25 billion IPO broke records. Described as a ‘Rockefeller for our time’ Jack Ma built Alibaba from scratch, overcoming failure and intense competition along the way.

 

3. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE – Phil Knight

Started with just $50, Nike is now a multi-billion dollar global powerhouse. This autobiography from the company’s founder tells the story of his meteoric rise, in his own words. Bill Gates describes the book as  ‘A refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. A messy, perilous, and chaotic journey riddled with mistakes, endless struggles, and sacrifice’

 

4. The Kickstarter Handbook: Real-Life Success Stories of Artists, Inventors, and Entrepreneurs – Don Steinberg

Kickstarter is the world’s most famous crowdsourcing platforms and has allowed many budding entrepreneurs to raise enough capital to pursue their dreams. To find out the secret of crowdfunding success, Don Steinberg interviewed dozens of people who have raised at least $100,000 on the platform. Full of actionable tips about crowdsourcing, this book is also a great insight into why some ideas succeed whilst others fail.

 

5. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

This is the ultimate Steve Jobs biography, written by a man who had direct access to the business icon. A bestseller, this book builds a rounded picture of Jobs, based on interviews with colleagues, friends and family, as well as the man himself. A brutally honest biography about a man who was as difficult as he was visionary.

 

6. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way – Richard Branson

You’ve probably already read this classic business tome. Few entrepreneurs have the gift for self-promotion that Richard Branson has. Whilst not quite a rags to riches tail, this book is nevertheless a fascinating account of a meteoric rise through the business world.  

 

7. Wild Company: The Untold Story of Banana Republic – Mel Ziegler

Most of us will know Banana Republic from its current, relatively staid, high street presence, however its backstory is more adventurous than you may expect. This book chronicles the story of two bored journalists who created a fashion sensation based on safari gear and the lure of adventure. The book also covers what happens when you lose control of your company thanks to a larger stakeholder, in this case Gap.

 

8. Start Something That Matters – Blake Mycoskie

If you’ve ever thought about starting a social enterprise, this book may inspire you to take the plunge. Whilst travelling in Argentina, Blake Mycoskie had a stroke of inspiration and started TOMS, a socially conscious for profit that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need in return for every pair bought by a customer. In this book Mycoskie shares the guiding principles that turned TOMS into a global success story.

 

9. A Book About Innocent: Our Story and Some Things We’ve Learned – Innocent

Whether you like or loath Innocent’s cutesy tone of voice, you have to admire their commitment to their brand. This is a user friendly compendium of sage business advice from people that have been there, done that and created a British phenomenon in the process.

 

10. My Story – Jo Malone

From leaving school with no qualifications to building one of the UK’s most successful beauty brands, Jo Malone’s story is certainly inspirational. This autobiography charts her journey to the top, overcoming personal and business setbacks to become a household name.

 

11. Pour Your Heart into it: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time – Howard Schultz

Starbucks can be credited with bringing coffee culture to America. In this book the company’s founder talks about the importance of building a business around core values, such as social responsibility and treating employees well. Central to the ethos of Starbucks is the idea of a ‘third place’ – a space between work and home which the coffee company seeks to fill. The book also covers Starbuck’s enviable history of product innovation, creating a new style of Americanised coffee drinks.

 

12. Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman – Yvon Chouinard

Patagonia are an outdoor brand renowned for their strong social conscience. This book covers Yvon Chouinard’s unconventional journey from climbing in the mountains of California to owning a global business. Different to many of the entrepreneurs on this list, Chouinard didn’t start of with an ambitious aim of conquering the world, instead preferring to balance his business efforts with outdoor adventures. As well as a business story, the book also covers Patagonia’s distinctive environmentalist philosophy.

What books are on your must read list this year? Let us know on Twitter @switchmybiz

Related Articles

the week's energy news

Energy News 17/02/2017

Want to know what’s big in the world of energy this week? Check out our roundup of the big stories from the ...

Read More
biographies to read in 2017

12 books about real life entrepreneurs to read in 2017

2017 may have just begun, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t plan our year of business reading.   Be...

Read More
Pub - what businesses will lose out due to the business rate refresh?

Who are the winners and losers of the business rate changes?

The latest change in business rates is causing controversy across the country, with many claiming they will b...

Read More
Excellent, 9.7 / 10

Thanks for your help Mark Weeks and Switch My business

"I would like to thank Switch My Business and particularly Mark Weeks for the ease of switching and saving me money! I can highly recommend them. Thanks again Richard Blake"

This review was posted by Richard Blake on the 22nd of February 2017

Aaron Gallagher

"Aaron sorted out a new electricity deal for my church, enabling us to make good savings. We have now received confirmation of our new 3 year plan.During our telephone conversations Aaron was always very polite and efficient. Dawn Marskell"

This review was posted by Dawn Marskell on the 21st of February 2017

Great help switching

"First time I have ever done an energy supplier switch, it seemed a bit daunting but the way EDF has rocketed our industrial energy bill I had no option, Bea Luseni guided me through the process and took all the worry away, many thanks well done"

This review was posted by Horatio on the 17th of February 2017

Very knowledgeable and helpfull guys

"I had Mark Weeks help me to switch from N Power to Dual for my business electricity and he was fantastic. not one question/query that he couldn't answer which made the switch very easy. So glad I have done this and thanks again Mark."

This review was posted by Colin McKirdy on the 16th of February 2017

1st Class service from Kabibi Luseni

"From Start To Finish very easy to Move Suppliers . That's why I Now use SMB . Allan Wright"

This review was posted by Mr Allan Wright on the 16th of February 2017