First the Business, Then the Book

shelved under Business

Business books usually fall into two categories: how-to or biographical. In how-to books, the author may or may not be an entrepreneur. Biographical books most frequently are written by someone (and, perhaps, their ghostwriter) who's built a successful business and tells the story of the inception and growth of that undertaking.

Biographical books also may share advice, but often have the added advantage of being inspirational. After all, hardly anyone writes this kind of book to tell a story about how they got an idea for a business and found themselves rolling in success the next day. Personal narratives may not always involve overcoming enormous obstacles, but they have the added advantage of being told from personal perspective and offer the author/entrepreneur’s insights into those events that shaped the business.


Winner Takes All: Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman, and the Race to Own Las Vegas

by Christina Binkley

This is a well-written account of how modern Las Vegas was shaped by three very different entrepreneurial thinkers. Terrific storytelling because the story’s so good.


Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur

by Sir Richard Branson

Adventurous entrepreneur Richard Branson shares lessons learned. You don’t have to build a global empire to apply what he’s learned to your business.


Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big

by Bo Burlingham

Here is an exploration of companies that chose to stay small and excel, rather than pursue growth (and risk not being as good).


The Perfect Store: Inside eBay

by Adam Cohen

Even though a lot has happened since this book was published, it’s an amazing tale of the humble beginnings of eBay.


Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams

by Michael D'Antonio

This is the fascinating story of Milton Hershey of chocolate fame who was also an ahead-of-his-time social entrepreneur.


In Pursuit of the Common Good: Twenty-Five Years of Improving the World, One Bottle of Salad Dressing at a Time

by A.E. Hotchner, Paul Newman

If you've ever wondered about the birth and growth of Newman’s Own, you'll have to read this highly entertaining account by Newman himself.

This book also appears on Books That Make Great Gifts for Men


Making a Literary Life

by Carolyn See

This book not only offers advice on the nuts and bolts of writing, but also insights into the interior life of an author.


A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration

by Michael Shapiro

This collection of interviews with travel writers, including Bill Bryson and Rick Steves, gives insight about how they turned their love of travel into a career.


Make the Impossible Possible: One Man's Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary

by Vince Rause, Bill Strickland

I can read this story again and again — it's a genuinely inspiring example of how a positive vision impacts positively. Strickland chronicles his journey from directionless inner-city teen to founder of an enormously successful training school.


Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

by Muhammad Yunus

Micro-lending changes lives! This wildly inspiring story of the birth of micro-lending explains how, by helping the poor create their own enterprises.