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Start Your Own Company: 6 Book Recommendations from Successful Entrepreneurs

Do you dream of becoming the next Steve Jobs or Sheryl Sandberg? Then, check out these six pearls of entrepreneurial wisdom that are available on the Blinkist app.
by Rob Gillham | Sep 22 2023

Despite causing a worldwide economic downturn, the global pandemic has triggered a record surge in entrepreneurship. According to The Financial Times, nearly every major country has seen a record rise in startups.

For example, in the US, business applications rose by 95% in July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. In the UK, the number of registered companies increased by 30%, and in Japan and France, the number of new businesses increased dramatically during the pandemic.

This surge of new entrepreneurs is made up of individuals from all walks of life. But what they have in common is a mindset that prioritises creativity, ideas, knowledge and the question: How to Become Self-Employed!

Reading books can help you shape your existing beliefs, spark new thoughts, and lay a fertile ground for inspiration to flourish. However, busy entrepreneurs often don’t have the time to read nonfiction books or listen to lengthy podcasts. That’s where Blinkist can help you on your self-employment journey.

It all started in 2012 when four college friends (and entrepreneurs) came up with the idea for an app that gives short elevator pitches for nonfiction books. Blinkist was born when the idea was brought up that a nonfiction book can be broken down into its core ideas in 15 minutes or less. In the words of Blinkist CEO Holger Seim:

“When we first came up with the idea for Blinkist, we were all incredibly busy. I had piles of books that I wanted to read, but I knew I would never find the time to get through them. So that’s where Blinkist came from, out of the desire to learn as much as possible within the constraints of our busy lifestyle.”
– Holger Seim, Blinkist CEO.

Nearly a decade later, Blinkist has over 29 million users from around the world. The app has won an award from the UN, gained famous fans and was even named by Apple as one of the world’s best apps for lifelong learning.

To help you get started on your entrepreneurial journey, the Blinkist team has curated a collection of its content featuring the best books that entrepreneurs love and can teach you to become self-employed. Collections are like playlists of Blinkist explainers chosen by top minds like Elon Musk or even Blinkist CEO Holger Seim. Here’s what Blinkist recommends for budding entrepreneurs.

How to Become Self-Employed: 6 Book Recommendations

1. The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Reis

The Lean Startup gives practical advice on how to build a sustainable business model. An advocate of lean manufacturing and agile development, Eric Reis recommends continuous rapid prototyping and paying close attention to customer feedback data. If you’re a sparky entrepreneur or you’re into tech, then take these tips from one of the best books on entrepreneurship, an essential addition to any founder’s library.

The Lean Startup is the book whose lessons I want every entrepreneur to absorb and apply. I know of no better guide to improve the odds of a startup’s success.
– Mitchell Kapor, Founder of the Lotus Development Corporation.


2. No Bullsh*t Leadership by Chris Hirst

No Bullsh*t Leadership dispels the myths about what makes a great leader. Whether you’re managing a company, school or sports team, the principles behind effective leadership aren’t rocket science. Nor do they require impressive titles or expensive suits. Instead, CEO Chris Hirst explains how we can learn the philosophy behind outstanding leadership if we put our minds to it.

“Gets to the point of crucial leadership challenges in a simple and engaging way – it’s rare to find a book that does this so beautifully. Yes, it’s no bullshit, but it’s also really elegant in its directness and uses beautiful stories to illustrate the points.”
– Business Book of the Year Judges.


3. ReWork by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Starting a business often sounds like one of the most challenging endeavours. People spend years in the undertaking. But maybe it’s not as difficult as it may appear. This is the argument behind ReWork. Building from a model that emphasises leanness and action, the book offers a modern vision for today’s entrepreneurs.

Rework is a minimalist manifesto that’s profoundly practical. In a world where we all keep getting asked to do more with less, the authors show us how to do less and create more.
– Scott Rosenberg, Co-Founder of


4. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

Founders at Work reveals what went on in the early days of over 30 influential US startups. In their own words, the founders of landmark companies such as Hotmail and tell their stories about the ups and downs it took to make their ideas a reality. They also share the lessons they learned and the insight they’ve gained looking back on the trials and tribulations of those chaotic early days.

Founders at Work is the most valuable business book I’ve ever read, which compiled transcripts from dozens of tech entrepreneur interviews before the bubble burst.
– Angela Pham, Content Strategist at Facebook


5. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore

An innovative idea doesn’t always lead straight to success. Sometimes marketing a game-changing product to the mainstream can feel like walking a tightrope or Crossing the Chasm, as Geoffrey A. Moore titled his book. In this work, Moore offers strategies for accomplishing this monumental task.

As a young kid coming up in the technology industry, Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” helped me understand the evolution of market categories. As a result, I was able to apply his insights directly in my career, and I’m grateful to him for that.
– Christopher Lochhead, Host of the Legends and Losers Podcast.


6. Shortcast: How to Create Something “Different Enough” from The $100 MBA Show Hosted by Omar Zenhom

Have you ever struggled to develop an idea for your business that is “different enough”? In this Shortcast, host and entrepreneur Omar Zenhom explains how he found his own niche and how you can too.

Blinkist does Podcasts

Blinkist Shortcasts explain the key ideas from popular podcasts

You may be wondering why a podcast was featured on this list of the best books to help you become self-employed; well, let us explain.

A Blinkist Shortcast is a short version of a podcast episode crafted around its key ideas. Each episode is curated and made in tandem with the podcaster to make sure it’s true to their voice, style and intent.

With Shortcasts, and Blinkist’s audio explainers for nonfiction books, you can saturate yourself with new ideas and inspirational advice while on the train, on the move or on your way to your big investor pitch

How Blinkist Can Help You to Become Self-Employed

We’ve all been there. You start reading a book that everyone in your circle is raving about only to find it doesn’t click with you. So you keep reading, but the going is tough until you abandon it entirely. This could take valuable hours out of your busy schedule that could be spent building your business. With Blinkist, you can choose exactly what you want to read.

Are you wondering how to become self-employed or are you already gearing up to launch your own company and seeking guidance from the best in the business? Look no further than Blinkist’s curated collection, Blinks for Entrepreneurs.

Within these titles, you’ll discover a wealth of knowledge and insights from renowned CEOs and industry experts. So, if you’re eager to gain a competitive edge and learn from the best in the business, delve into this collection and let the transformative guidance of these remarkable individuals propel you toward success.


Choose from over 6,500 short explainers for bestselling nonfiction books, and then decide which titles you want to read in full. Blinkist collections act like playlists that expose you to ideas you may never have considered to give you a balanced perspective on a certain topic.

Learn how to become self-employed and finally be your own boss and begin your Blinkist free trial today. You never know where your learning will take you.

Start your 7-day free trial

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