If I had to pick four books for a brand-new entrepreneur to read, which four would they be?
After some thought, I came to...
For where you're at, I'd recommend the following. "Principles" by Dalio is a PDF on his hedge fund's website, so no excuse not to grab a copy right now... one of my favorite pieces of writing ever on goal-setting and clear thinking. Then How To Get Rich has some good broad overviews, Ultimate Sales Machine is the best all-around marketing/sales/business development book I've read, and Getting Things Done is good for keeping things on track and not going crazy.
Principles by Ray Dalio --
Dalio built the largest hedge fund in the world, and his internal document -- Principles -- is clear, refreshing, and direct on how to think, how to set goals, how to do business, how to manage people, how to untangle conflict... a book to go back to again, and again, and again. Incredibly dense with valuable information for all stages of business life.
How To Get Rich by Felix Dennis --
Dennis built a multi-million dollar fortune from scratch and humble beginnings through force of will, persistence, and seizing opportunity. Likewise to Dalio, he's clear and direct -- though his writing is much more cynical. But probably in a good way. He tells you all the things you need to know that no one else will tell you, including the downside and the questions you have to ask to see if what it takes. He also gives immensely good guidance on seizing opportunities, keeping overhead low, finding and working with great people, and being a mix of flexible and seizing opportunity and hard-headed about getting what you want.
The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes --
The best all-around book I've found on marketing, sales, and general business development. Dalio will help you set good goals, understand the process, think clearly, and -- once you're running -- manage your enterprise well. Dennis will let you know what it really takes in terms of your character and tenacity, will teach you about seizing opportunity, and will lay down a number of very important guidelines.
But then, how do you actually sell your products and services? This book tells you. I daresay that it'd be worth reading and re-reading this book until you've implemented everything in it before reading any other book on sales, marketing, and business development. That's a slight exaggeration, but not so much.
Getting Things Done by David Allen --
Finally, this is the book that keeps you on track. This is your personal organization, staying on top of projects and initiatives, and executing well. It also helps you not go crazy. Another book worth reading and re-reading.