3 Memoirs Every Entrepreneur Should Read

I’ve been entrepreneur-ing for over a decade, and recently, I’ve shared a lot of my thoughts on entrepreneurship all over the internet. As many of you know, reading is an essential practice for me, both for personal and professional growth. Over the last few years, there are several books that have been crucial to developing my mindset as an entrepreneur.

These books resolved many of the feelings of uncertainty that naturally come from creating your own work. They helped me embrace the idea that I can create solutions that serve others.

Sometimes, especially when you’re first starting out in as an entrepreneur, it’s helpful to take a break from books about strategy, logistics and all of the practical knowledge required for building a business, and instead read about other entrepreneurs’ experiences. You’ll feel validated in the sacrifices and you’ll understand that the rollercoaster is the journey, not an indication that has something goes wrong. 



To prepare yourself for risk and the isolation that comes with entrepreneurship, read Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out by Marc Ecko

This is the first book I’d gift to anyone who’s starting a business. Marc Ecko, founder of the Ecko Unlimited clothing brand, shares countless examples of obstacles he faced and chances he took, ultimately building an enormously popular and widely recognized designer brand.

As you’re building your business, if you’ve ever wondered, “Is it supposed to be this hard?!” The answer is YES. And this book will reassure you of that.

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For an inspiring example of living your entrepreneurial vision, read Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by Howard Schultz.

Schultz explains how childhood experiences propelled him to create financial freedom for himself and his family. He describes the steps it took him to launch a globally-reaching corporation inspired by a visit to a single coffee shop.

This story will inspire you to hold tight to that vision amidst all the challenges you’ll face as you build and maintain your business. It will also affirm that the work you do can transcend the literal products and services you offer – entrepreneurship can also be a journey to fulfillment of your soul’s deepest desires.

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To maintain entrepreneurial perspective, read Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

Knight’s story of how he built the Nike empire is powerful, specifically because of how he navigates criticism. My biggest takeaway from this book was the importance of keeping sight of your “why”. When you know why you’re building your business, you can handle the criticism, the rejection, and the politics of your work.

So tell me – have you read any of these books? What specifically did you find impactful in these stories? What other memoirs and autobiographies by entrepreneurs have you found inspiring, and why (I’d love your recommendations!)? 

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