15 books for entrepreneurs

16th May 2017

A selection of books for entrepreneurs.

When you’re a busy business owner, the thought of making time to read a book may be the last thing on your mind. Even though it’s something many people enjoy and know they would benefit from, it still feels like a big commitment. What if the book you pick is boring and an utter waste of time? A good way to avoid picking the wrong book is to listen to the advice of other people like you. To help you out we’ve asked the Yoco team what books for entrepreneurs that they would recommend.

Our diverse team put forward a selection of books, that will inspire, motivate, challenge your perceptions and give you a laugh or two.
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek in an article about books for entrepreneurs.

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Maya from our Growth team recommended this book by local writer (and her personal hero) Simon Sinek. If you’re looking to build a strong solid team where people trust each other, this is the book for you.

It is not the demands of the job that cause the most stress, but the degree of control workers feel they have throughout their day.

Simon Sinek
Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts recommended by Thabang of Yoco in an article about books for entrepreneurs.

Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts

Thabang from our product development team recommended Out of your Mind by Alan Watts. He enjoyed it because it helps him remember what life is all about.

Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

Our cofounder, Lungisa, and VP of Product, Andrew, recommended ‘Founders at work’ by Jessica Livingston. Andrew found it interesting to see how many great companies came extremely close to failing. Lungisa found it reassuring to learn that all founders started out as noobs.

I'd say determination is the single most important quality in a startup founder. If the founders I spoke with were superhuman in any way, it was in their perseverance.

Jessica Livingston
Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Scholtz recommended by Lungisa of Yoco in an article about books for entrepreneurs.

Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Scholtz

Because Lungisa never obeys the rules he managed to get 2 books onto the list. His second recommendation, Pour your heart into it, CEO Howard Schultz shares the principles and values that built the world's largest coffee chain.


Rebecca from our Operations team said Shantaram made her fall in love with India. The incredible thing about this book is that the author Gregory Roberts based it on his own life as an ex-heroin addict and convicted bank robber who fled to India to hide.

There are no mistakes. Only new paths to explore.

Gregory David Roberts
The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

The Hard Thing about Hard Things

In this book, recommended by Nick from the Product team, Ben Horowitz shares his experiences on running his own businesses. He offers the practical and honest sort of advice you definitely won’t learn in your business class.

The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters.

The Chimp Paradox

The Chimp Paradox was recommended by Shimaylan from our Sales team, because it gives insight into the way humans work, and why we can be so irrational at times. This understanding is critical to anyone looking to drive sales and build an effective and efficient team.

Anything in life is only as important as you want it to be.

Steve Peters
The Black Swan by Nicholas Taleb.

The Black Swan

From our cofounder Carl Wazen, this book by the philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb offers a powerful new perspective on the world. Anyone involved in the modern day business environment can benefit from seeking more Black Swans and fewer averages.

When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate.

Nassim Taleb
Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

Start with why

Liane from the Marketing team has not stopped raving about this book since she read it. The premise of the book is to start everything you do by asking yourself why you're doing it instead of what or how. There's an "A-Ha" moment on every page so make the time, switch off your phone and dive into Simon Sinek's most loved book.

Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord.

Hector and the Search for Happiness

We’re lucky that Kirsten from our People team knows a thing or two about happiness. She recommended this book because she found it eye-opening to see all the different shapes and sizes that happiness comes in.

Knowing and feeling are two different things, and feeling is what counts.

Francois Lelord

Outliers: The story of Success

Chris from Business Development and Steve from our Product team both listed Outliers by Malcom Gladwell as a book they would recommend. It’s a book that sheds a different light on what leads to success and offers practical advice.

Rise of the Robots

This book by Martin Ford was recommended by someone who would like to be referred to only as “G-Money”. The Rise of the Robots is an interesting and pretty scary book that takes an honest look at what the future job market could be and what skills will be required to survive in the future.

Elon Musk's biography by Ashley Vance.

How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

Paul from our Sales team is Elon Musk’s number one fan. Paul found a lot of value in learning how Elon Musk takes risks and just make things work. He also thought it was pretty awesome that the Iron man films are partially inspired by Elon Musk, the guy who plans to save our planet (but just in case he also plans on forming a colony on Mars).

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell in an article about books for entrepreneurs.

David and Goliath

'David and Goliath' is the one book I would recommend to any new entrepreneur or small business owner. Every day small businesses go up against large retailers or franchises. Yoco itself goes up against the large established banks. Yet often we find ways to prevail despite unfair odds. This book sheds light on why that happens and how you can get better at battling giants.

Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness.

Malcom Gladwell
Delivering Happines by Tony Hsiue.

Delivering Happiness

The final book on this list was recommended by our CEO, Katlego Maphai. The author, Tony Hsieh, is one of the most successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. He shares his beliefs for building a powerful internal culture.