9 Books Every Small Business Owner and Entrepreneur Should Read

In 2010, there were nearly 130 MILLION books in the world, and with the rise of ebooks and more people publishing content, let's just say that as a reader, you have some options... 


As small business owners and entrepreneurs however, your time is money, and you have to determine what books you should read to maximize your time investment. When I asked small business owners and entrepreneurs (members of our exclusive support group) what books they were currently reading, their responses were amazing! I loved the list so much that I felt compelled to share their recommendations with the world! 


I challenge all of you to choose one book from this list below, and read it. Commit to educating yourself, and learn from the experiences of others. If you feel I missed out on some other great reads, please comment below and I will get to work on the next version of the list! 


Oh, and PS, you may want coffee to get your reading on! Don't forget to pick up our limited edition Barbell CEO Coffee Mug while they are still in stock!


1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the 5th century BC. Attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu – "Master Sun", the text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare. It is commonly thought of as a definitive work on military strategy and tactics.

The applications outside of warfare are astounding. Dominic Frazier, of Strength Coach and Owner of Frazier Fitness shared this book with us. The similarities between the entrepreneurial mindset needed, the leadership that must be instilled, and the organizational strategies between business and this book make this a staple work of literature for every true business owner and entrepreneur.




To think bigger, you must expand on what you think you know, and learn how to view your world from different perspectives. In this book, Brian Greene takes you on an existential exploration of the meaning of your existence, how things are they way they are, and take philosophy and science to the next level. 

Julio Gutierrez, a coach, athlete, and entrepreneurial spirit suggested this book to all small business owners and entrepreneurs who are willing to embrace the unknown and to expand their minds and mental capacities. The power of that will help you find meaning out of this thing called, "life".


This New York Times Best Seller shares with us the secrets of Zen masters. In today's fast paced world we are becoming more and more dependent on external things, often losing sight of our true self and capacities. This book explores meditation, self exploration, honoring your body and mind with nutrition and exercise, and ultimately how you can instill these practices to find more zen in your urban environment.

Nick De Frietas, strength coach and life-long student of exercise and sports performance shared this book with us to help others find the balance between the hustle of being an entrepreneur and staying connected with one's self. This book is an easy read and is very quick to provide actionable and realistic daily exercises to become an Urban Monk.


From the author of Born to Run, Chris McDougall shares his personal journey scaling mountains and insurmountable distances to find the root of true strength and endurance of the body and mind. Chris shares his the real-life physical and mental feats, establishing that heroism is a skill rather than a virtue. Additionally, he shares the stories of others who have overcome the worst of odds, like Patrick Leigh Fermor, who took on a 19-day trek through Nazi resistance across the island of Crete during WWII.

Nate Helming, owner of The Run Experience, ReebokONE Running Pro, and coach at CrossFit San Francisco, shared this book with us to inspire others to unleash their extraordinary side.



Commander Divine is an ex-Navy Seal turned coach, motivation speaker, and authentic American badass. He hit the scene after releasing his first book, The Way of the Seal back in 2013. In this book, Divine deeply impacted the lives of thousands of people seeking strength, purpose, and self-development in their life. He shares trial and errors of thousands of clients and himself to demonstrate that we all are capable of 20x more than we think.

Jon Hussey, CrossFit coach and engineer, who through the love of fitness and reading inspirational stories, recently completed his CrossFit Level 1 certification shared this book with us. Divine's philosophy and mentality spoke to Jon, as well as countless others, and helped to set off the cascade of powerful life actions and experiences that led Jon to chase his passions. No matter who you are, you can always learn more and motivate others.


Shawn Stevenson learned very quickly the importance of sleep when he was struck with a degenerative bones disease that crushed his dreams of becoming a professional athlete, and even gave up on his body and health. He then decided there must be a better way. Sleep is essential to your health, mind, and success as a coach, athlete, and entrepreneur, and this book lays out 21 essential strategies that every one of us can implement in our daily lives. 

Otis James, owner and coach of Limitless Training knows all to well the effects of insufficient sleep. As coaches and business owners, sleep is our currency for success. Without it we fail to be the best version of ourselves, which limits our true capacity to do amazing things. Shawn Stevenson provides us with his 14-Day Sleep Makeover and challenges all of us to sleep better.


At the age of nine, Josh Waitzkin became the National Chess Champion. 10 years later he went on to be World Champion at Tai Chi Chuan. In this book, he shares his personal experiences, success, and failures. He teaches us the importance of learning from out mistakes, understanding the routines that help us either succeed or fail, and how to hone our techniques to acquire physical and mental mastery.

Sam Akinrinade of A Tribe Called Sprinters suggests all of us learn from the mistakes and successes of others, recognize the trends of success, and develop a personal strategy to master ourselves.


Live like a millionaire today. Design you lifestyle, and live life. Tim Ferriss introduces his concept of lifestyle design, in which he goes through his process of how you can and should relieve yourself from the mundane and old style of "working hard". In this book, he explores his notion of the "New Rich"; people who get paid more per hour, work less, and have more freedom to live life. 

Science teacher turned entrepreneur, Mark Dewar, of PuroCafe, shared this book after finding a solution to his life problems. Working the 9-5 for a set pay, then working more while at home, and not having flexibility or freedom to travel, sleep in, and work from home. Many people believe that's just what it is to be a "grown up", but Tim Ferriss suggests otherwise. Life is too short to let others dictate your life. This blueprint will show you how to challenge the status quo, gain more personal freedom at work, and even develop yourself as a better entrepreneur. 


This book has single handedly helped me (Mike Dewar, Co-Founder of J2FIT Human Performance, Founder of TheBarbellCEO, and entrepreneur) learn to be a better coach, spouse, business partner, athlete, author, and leader. 

The Heath brothers use countless research findings to determine the root causes of why people fail to change, and more importantly, how we can help those individuals make a necessary switch. 

Whether you are having issues getting what you want in life, dealing with clients, or having personal struggles in your own mind, take the time and make the switch.