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Being an entrepreneur and starting a new business is hard. It takes courage, perseverance, determination as well as a good idea.

So it helps if you can learn and apply ideas from other entrepreneurs that have already learnt the expensive lessons. With so many sources of information about entrepreneurs, startups, digital marketing, social media, etc it is hard to know where to start.

So Melissa (Selz’s Community Manager) and I thought we would set ourselves a challenge. Think of it as a bit like speed dating but for reading ebooks on startups and entrepreneurs.

Our challenge is to:

First compile a list of 10 must read entrepreneur and startup ebooks – see our list
Then read one ebook per week before the end of the year. Yes one book each per week. Told you it is like speed dating but reading.
Each week over a coffee Mel and I will then share with the rest of the team the 7 most important lessons we got from reading the book. The challenge is to condense a book down into 7 bullet points. Why only 7? I know for the authors it’s a form of sacrilege to boil down a book into 7 bullet points. But from a practical perspective, if we want to take onboard the learnings from a book, we can’t handle any more than 7 points each.
10 must read entrepreneur and startup ebooks for 2013
Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuk
The Small Army Strategy – Srinivas Rao
Think like a rock star – Mack Collier
Blogging the smart way – Jeff Bullas
The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
4 hour workweek – Tim Ferriss
Rework – Jason Fried
Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a six figure income – Darren Rowse, Chris Garrett, Problogger
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
The Art of the Start – Guy Kawasaki
#1 Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

Do you have a hobby you wish you could do all day? In Crush It, Gary Vaynerchuk shows how anyone can make a living from doing something they are passionate about. His book includes strategy and practical tips on building a business without quitting your day job and how to make money from an audience. Crush It doesn’t gloss over the work involved, and that building a business around your passion happens overnight. It sounds a perfect for Selz sellers, that’s why it’s on our list.

Read our review of Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

#2 The Small Army Strategy by Srinivas Rao

In The Small Army Strategy, Srinivas’ secret to success is all about being yourself and building an army of ambassadors to fight in your corner. The goal of the book is to show you how to treasure and nurture the community you have and not get obsessed with just size that matters. It’s quality not quantity that matters. As one book review says “BAM! Srini delivers a powerful smack in the social media chops, highlighting the importance of being human, being you and being someone who gives a damn about something.”
We’re looking forward to applying this one.

Read our review of Small Army Strategy by Srinivas Rao

#3 Think like a rock star by Mack Collier

A few people we trust have recommended this to Mel and I as a great book to read about the value of building an audience. Think like a rock star as the title suggests talks about why rock stars focus not on getting new fans but on their connecting with their most passionate fans, the people who already spending money with them. Contrast this with focusing exclusively on connecting with people that have never spent any money with you. As Mack says, who do you trust, your best friend or an ad on the TV. Mack backs this up with some attention grabbing stats

Fans spend 13% more than the average customer – Satmetrix
Fans refer business equal to 45% of the money they spend – Satmetrix
Customers referred by another customer have a 37% higher retention rate

We’ll report back on our 7 point takeaway from Think like a rock star in future posts.

Read our review of Think Like a Rock Star by Mack Collier

#4 Blogging the smart way by Jeff Bullas

Blogging the smart way is an Amazon former best seller, and is full of how to tips to market your blog with social media. Interestingly, Jeff recently posted about the benefits of selling his ebook direct compared to selling exclusively with Amazon. Jeff is listed in Forbe’s “Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers” for 2013, and Huffington Post’s “Top 100 Business, Leadership and Technology Twitter Accounts You Must Follow”.

His blog simply called gets over 4 million views a year, so he must be doing something right.

Read our review of Blogging The Smart Way by Jeff Bullas

#5 The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup has become a bit of a “how to book for technology startups” everywhere. Ries spotlights the fallacy of the perfect business plan, and advocates a one page plan instead called a Lean Canvas. The focus is on technology startup case studies and how technological entrepreneurs should test their business idea on prospective customers. The objective of any startup is to build and sell something that customers want and that meets a real need, not what the entrepreneur thinks they want or need. In short, The Lean Startup calls for doing iterations of small batches of work, testing reviewing the results based.

Mel and I have both read bits of The Lean Startup before, but this time we’ll be summarising it in 7 points from cover to cover.

Read our review of The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

#6 The 4 hour workweek by Tim Ferriss

Have you heard the old saying “work smarter not harder!” Well Tim must have had this in mind when he wrote the best seller The 4 hour workweek. Tim’s blueprint has more than 50 practical tips and case studies of people who have doubled their income or reinvented themselves. The 4 hour workweek is for those of us who dream of escaping the rat race, travelling the world, or earning more money with zero effort.

You can see why this one had to be on our list!

Read our review of The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

#7 Rework by Jason Fried

Rework is another best seller and easy read with no BS and hundreds of simple rules for success and is the perfect playbook for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and people stuck in day jobs they hate who dream of doing it on their own.

It’s been a book that several people have mentioned in the past and for that reason alone it’s on the list.

Read our review of Rework by Jason Fried

#8 Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a six figure income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

Problogger is a must blog for any blogger that wants to make money from blogging. This book has step by step practical lessons from choosing a blog topic, analyse the market, to setting up a blog and earning money. It has a practical focus based on the authors own experience.

We’re fans of the problogger blog, so this had to be on our list. We’ll let you know what we learn from it.

#9 The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup is for people that want to make a living doing what they love. Chris’ book covers 50 case studies where people monetized their passions and were able to change their life in a way that gave them greater freedom and fulfilment. The $100 Startup is an easy to use guide containing the most valuable lessons from those that have learned how to monetize their knowledge and expertise. It deals with all types of businesses, and features real people that have started businesses with $100 and now earn ‘000s of dollars.

The $100 Startup sounds a must for any aspiring blogger and entrepreneur.

Read our review of  The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

#10 The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

It begins with a dream that just won’t quit, a once in a lifetime thunderbolt of pure inspiration, the obsession, the world beater, the killer app, the next big thing. Sound familiar? But how do you turn that idea into action? Guy Kawasaki has made a name for himself as an evangelist for Apple and as a VC in Silicon Valley. The Art of the Start covers every stage of a startup assumes that you’re plan is to change the world. It is such a well publicised book, we decided to check out whether it lives up to the hype or not.

Wish us luck, we’ve got over 1746 pages to go through in 70 days!

Read our review of  The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

Read our 7 bullet points from each book and leave a comment if you have any suggestions on other books that Selz sellers or Mel and I should read.

Featured Image: Jessica Nunemaker

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About the author

Geoff Austin

I talk and write a lot. Some of it about ecommerce, selling online, startups, SEO, digital marketing.

Currently, head of analytics for an automotive business in Sydney, facilitating a culture of data-driven decisions. Delivering data-based insights and intelligence.

Chauffeur to twin daughters and a pizza chef master.


  1. Zohaib Akhlaq

    Thanks! for putting all the links here. I have read couple of them, will read others soon. Thanks for pointing me in another direction.

  2. Grant

    Book suggestion ‘Instant Casflow’ Brad Sugars

    1. Melissa Whidjaya

      Hey Grant – great suggestion! Will check that one out :)

  3. Mack Collier

    Wow thanks for the mention, Geoff, and in such great company, much appreciated!

    1. Geoff

      Hey Mack, you’re welcome. I’m looking forward to reading your book this weekend ready for next week’s post. I’ll let you know how I go with trying to summarize my learnings in 7 points!

    2. Geoff

      Hey Mack, you can now see our review, hope you like it, any more books planned?

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