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10 Books you should read to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset

To start and grow a thriving business, you need to make books a regular part of your diet. Just like food is for the nourishment to the body, so are books the nourishment to the mind.



10 Books you should read to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset

Would you like to be your own boss? Are you tired of working from 8 to 5, receiving meager monthly pay checks, and wondering when your next promotion might be? Then you need to become an entrepreneur and run things on your own terms.

But what does it really mean to be an entrepreneur? Can anyone just wake up one fine morning and say, “hey, it’s time I started my own business”, or is there more to it?


Today, we are going to look at 10 books you should read to help you understand what running your own business really entails. The struggles, persistence, skills, and of course, success stories to help inspire you down the road.

Every leader, which is what an entrepreneur must be, should read at least five books a month. Books are essential if you want to broaden your way of thinking, learn new skills, and push through tough times.

To start and grow a thriving business, you need to make books a regular part of your diet. Just like food is for the nourishment to the body, so are books the nourishment to the mind.

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  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is one of my all-time favorites.

Relationships are essential to the success of any business. After all, what’s a business without customers or allies? Therefore, it’s important to know how to motivate your workers and persuade clients.

If you want to grow quickly as an entrepreneur, master the art of building long-lasting alliances with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.

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Proximity is power in business. Build and maintain your connections. Human relationships should never be underestimated.

  1. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon basically doles out common sense advice brilliantly presented through tales and parables from the times of ancient Babylon. It’s an undisputed finance classic.

If you are in a financial rot without even knowing it, Clason offers you the red pill that will open your eyes to the cold reality.

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If you want to discover the age-long principles behind wealth creation, this is a must read.

  1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

To be an effective manager, learn how to use your time wisely. You can’t run a successful venture if you are terrible at time management. You can be busy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and still end up achieving very little.

The 4-Hour Workweek shows you how to make every hour count. It proves that it’s possible to turn 80 hours of work into 4 and still achieve the same results – Unbelievable right? Well, you’d have to find out for yourself how exactly this can be achieved.

If you always struggle to meet deadlines and need a way to propel your hourly output, this book will show you how to maximise your life so that you can spend fewer hours working.

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

This is an intriguing title. And the content is even better.


The mind is the greatest tool ever given to man. When it comes to succeeding in business or in life, your own mind is the most powerful influence you will ever face. The weak minded never go far, especially so in business.

Not everything in life is relevant. Things matter only when you make it so. You will learn how to channel all your mental energy only on things that can help you achieve what you’ve set out for.

Discover how to take control of your own mind and not allow people, struggles, and downfalls occupy valuable real estate in your head and eat away at your brain.

  1. Man Up: How to Cut the Bullshit and Kick Ass in Business (and in Life) by Bedros Keuilian

Excuses and procrastination are the greatest killers of progress. You put days, months, or even years between you and your financial goals every time you delay doing the inevitable.

Being an entrepreneur demands you roll up your sleeves and do the dirty work.  Most people are fond of reveling in their thoughts and end up never gathering the will to set things in motion.

Bedros Keuilian shows you exactly how to stop making excuses and put in the effort when you can’t find the motivation to do so.

This read is for you if you are fond of thinking about your dreams but always find excuses to remain safe in your comfort zone.

  1. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Warren Buffet

To attain your full potentials in business, you’d have to learn the fundamentals.

Many entrepreneurs fail because they lack a basic understanding of what it takes to sustain a business. For this reason, Warren Buffet has arranged his most valuable writings in a well presented manner. Think of it as a quick guide to business success. If you’d rather learn the easy way and avoid the pains of trial and error, go grab a copy.

Of all the things you’d learn from this guide, the basics of sustaining cash flow and an understanding of profit and loss are just the tip of the iceberg. It is an all-encompassing guide to business practices.

  1. To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

To Sell is Human is what you’ve been looking for if you consider yourself shy and think you don’t have the essential skills of salesmanship.

Every entrepreneur needs to understand how to make their target want their offers. Learn how exactly to make people budge in this interesting read.

  1. Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

The world of business is not all sunshine and rainbows. Do you have what it takes to stick it out even when everything seems to be going wrong?

Rand Fishkin in this brilliant book sheds light on what it’s like to struggle and survive in the world of business as a startup. It presents strong advice that can be applied to any business, no matter the size or industry.

  1. The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank

As a business, achieving the perfect product-market fit is all it takes to become a leading brand. Steve Blank shows you how to do just that. It presents a series of practical exercises that ensure you don’t make any faulty assumptions about your target market, which can turn out badly for your business. It also gives concrete examples of how to organize your marketing strategies and sales.

  1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Carl Newport

I had to list this one last because it provides the solution to a problem people, both young and old, battle with daily, around the world.

Today’s world is full of distractions like the internet and social media. It’s increasingly hard to focus on and complete cognitively demanding tasks without succumbing to one form of distraction or the other. Carl Newport presents four rules to help you cultivate a deep work ethic.

There you have it. Get started with your reading and take the first step to a better life.

You may say you can’t find the time to read a book, or even finish one. But there’s time if you create it.

And remember, at the end of the day, it’s all up to you to put everything you’ve learned into practice. See you at the top.



  1. Nkenna

    April 17, 2019 at 9:04 am

    And the essays of Warren buffet becomes my next read.

    Suggestion: how about a reading list for capital and money markets.

  2. Dùbé

    April 17, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Currently on The Richest Man in Babylon, very practical and interesting. Also straight to the point coz I really hate long reads. In any case, kudos Tobenna.

    • Ndukwe

      April 18, 2019 at 1:36 am

      It is rather a long story parable on how to get rich by saving 10% of your earnings and investing it. I got inpatient with the ancient story.

  3. Daniel

    April 17, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Awesome list.

    Quality stuff too. Thanks

  4. Annie

    April 17, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    My weakness is I will start reading a book and never finish it. How can I change this habit ?

    • Alfred Akuki

      April 17, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Hi Annie there are apps that now aid you in this process like blinkist. Some even summarise the book.

  5. Seun Lawal

    April 18, 2019 at 11:44 am

    You didn’t include Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

  6. Obiorah Emeka Kingsley

    April 18, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks for the good work, to me is one of the best companies we have here…If you understand where am coming from.

    I listened once on the radio, today am a subscriber of your newsletter.

    I love the article. But please I know I can go in search of these books, but your direction will be of immense importance to which store I buy they from.
    Thank you.

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Career tips

Great tips for landing a job during this lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has had its impact on job opportunities, but here are some tips for landing jobs.



Some tips for landing a job during this lockdown

The economic lockdown and movement restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on job opportunities. Some of them could be in the form of job losses, getting new jobs, or even changing the way we work.

Given the unemployment numbers especially in these challenging times, it might be hard not to be apprehensive.


According to a report from Bloomberg, Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for personal finance website, said, “It’s important to remember that there is hiring happening. There’s always attrition and individuals leaving for other jobs.”

Robin Ryan, a career counsellor, said that just a few unemployed people are job hunting at the moment. Most believe that there are no jobs, they can’t be hired, or that only lower-level jobs are available.

Here are some tips for landing jobs during this lockdown.

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Beat the system: Make a list of your recent jobs and your top accomplishments at each of them. Those are the items that should be on your résumé. To get past automated applicant vetting systems, enter your work tasks—budgeting, project management, graphic design, team leadership, etc.—in the first bullet point under each job. Don’t include extraneous formatting, such as text boxes, tables, footers, or headers, because application software can’t recognize it.

(READ MORE:Skills Africa needs for sustainable development)

Assess your prospects: You have to find out if the opportunities in your industry are shrinking. According to Hamrick, “many people fail to see that their skills might apply to a variety of settings.” Consider some of the sectors that have stayed open in the lockdown—finance, real estate, food and other consumer goods, technology, and retail, plus suppliers and distributors for each. If that exercise doesn’t yield much, think about how your skills might help companies sharpen their online business. “There’s a need for people to help facilitate digital transformation,” Hamrick says.

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Some tips for landing a job during this lockdown

Hit up recruiters (Recruiting agency firms): Let them help you with your resume and offer suggestions about things you might do to stand out.

Use your resources: Companies are filling positions needed to support virtual workers as part of their pandemic strategies. Many company websites might not yet reflect these changes, so try popular online job search websites, type in a company and your city, and you’ll get a better sense of what kind of hiring is going on.

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Network: That friend-of-a-friend who previously ignored you. He’s home now and might be up for a quick Zoom coffee date. Connect with everyone you know in your field. (LinkedIn is good for this.). Those connections build on each other. You can ask mutual acquaintances to introduce you to people who can help and once that happens, you can fix a virtual coffee date. If that goes well, ask for an introduction to a hiring manager or supervisor. You’ve got nothing to lose.


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Career tips

Millennials changing the definition of work; doing the most with freelancing

Given the numerous number of changes in today’s world, millennials are gradually changing the definition of work, and beginning to embrace freelancing.



Millenials, Freelancing

Given the numerous changes in today’s world, millennials are beginning to embrace freelancing. It is not just about thinking outside the 9-5 work hours, they are gradually changing the definition of work. This signals a new relationship between the worker and the economy; it is not just where they are working. It is what they are working for.

Millennials do not see companies as salary machines and do not also see themselves as ‘another chair-filler’. They actually see themselves as having the power to make choices, and their decision to work in one place or another is about finding value, not just the luxurious life attached to a conventional job.


[READ ALSO: Nigerian Millennials have figured where to invest their money]

How Millennials make the most of freelancing

Skills over degree

Nearly half of millennials have tried freelancing, and nearly three-quarters of freelancers say it is getting easier to find work. Most millennials begin their journey into freelancing by discovering their passion and finessing their skills in order to look unique. They often find time to develop themselves outside the scope of their disciplines by attributing more values to skill acquisition than conventional degrees. With unique skills like photography, graphic design, content creation, etc. millennials are able to make enough money to pay their bills and afford their lifestyles.

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Working Remotely

Millennials are taking advantage of working remotely. Working remotely affords millennials the much-needed flexibility they need in their daily routines. Working remotely also helps improve the productivity of millennials, unlike conventional workers. This way, they are free from distractions that cannot be taken care of. It is amazing that working remotely can have millennials working straight for 8 hours without thinking of food or break.

READ ALSO: Tech Startups should emulate Konga – EX Unilag VC

Gigs rather than restrictive job functions

Millennials use freelancing as an opportunity to harness their creative abilities rather than focusing on restrictive job functions. Millennials get certain jobs called side gigs which can help them explore their creativity. They figure out who their clients really are and what they want from them. More importantly, is that millennials find an untapped market and then quickly build a huge customer base on it which will be making enough cash in short notice.

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Networking for Growth

Gone are the days when business cards were fashionable. This is because people do not really remember business cards. Millennials use networking as a way of getting to know the persons behind the business. They look for a spark in any conversation that a relationship can be built upon. Also, through the use of social media platforms, millennials are also able to collaborate to ensure the growth of the freelance economy.

Millenials, Freelancing

[READ ALSO: Millennials are becoming parents and school fees are getting more expensive]

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Finding a freelance platform that affords skilled professionals flexibility and opportunities to grow is a concern for millennials. TERAWORK is a highly recommended freelancing platform that provides freelancers with an opportunity to work on flexible schedules, get rid of the daily commute process and have a perfect balance between work and professional life; not only because it affords local and international millennials opportunities to harness their skills, but the platform also allows these skilled individuals to showcase their past work experience and provide them with the access to new jobs every day.

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Career tips

12 lessons on business strategy from the game of Chess

Are you a chess player? Well, not a lot of people are. Therefore, if your answer is no, you really need to try it. After all, it is called “the game of kings and queens” for a reason.



game of Chess

Are you a chess player? Well, not a lot of people are. Therefore, if your answer is no, you really need to try it. After all, it is called “the game of kings and queens” for a reason.

Chess is a board game that has been around for centuries. It has to do with the art of war. It’s all about strategy, tactics, and the ability to outmaneuver your opponent; the final aim being to checkmate them (that is, capture their king). Once that happens, the game is over.


Chess has been shown to:

  • Improve IQ
  • Build confidence
  • Improve problem-solving skills
  • Teach planning and foresight
  • Improve concentration
  • Exercise both sides of the brain
  • Improve memory
  • Enhance creativity

It’s quite obvious that these benefits are indispensable when it comes to successfully running a business; especially if you are in a highly competitive market.

What goes on in the game is the perfect metaphor for business competition. In fact, you can learn a thing or two by playing chess. These lessons will prove very useful to you if you are an entrepreneur trying to plant your feet and control considerable market share. It will surely improve your ability to make sound business decisions.

[Read Also: CWG confirms Adeyipo’s appointment as MD]

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No wonder you can find a Chessboard in the home or office of top CEOs (Bill Gates, Peter Thiel), world leaders (Barack Obama, Bill Clinton) and even famous TV personalities (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Julia Roberts of Pretty Woman).

How does playing chess relate to running a business?

The parallels between chess and business are clearly evident. The game is about war; specifically about protecting the invaluable piece (the king), and outthinking the opponent who’s trying to defeat you.

There are different strategies for both offensive and defensive play, and the best chess players should have experience with both. As a business person, you need to successfully navigate defensive and offensive positions in your industry.

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If you’ve seen people play chess, or maybe you play, you’ll notice that the opponents patiently wait their turn, study the board, anticipate their next move, and go through potential scenarios in their head. This is not so different from what is obtainable in the business world.

Both are based on SWOT analysis. That is, recognizing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Chess also involves an opening, a middle game, and an endgame. This is quite similar to the business cycle (expansion, peak, contraction, and trough).

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What lessons does chess teach?

To play the game you first have to master the rules, understand the players, and ultimately, play to win.

  1. Master the rules

Before you can take part, you have to learn the rules. That’s also the way it is in business.

If you jump in without first understanding the dynamics of how things work, including consumer demand, market regulations, pricing techniques, and what have you, you are most likely headed for failure. That is why it’s important to start small and grow gradually, expanding your reach as you get more experienced.

  1. Understand the players

Just like in chess, you need to understand your competition if you want to succeed in business.

Chess players spend time studying how their opponents think. This way, they can device countermeasures that will enable them to stay ahead, withstand an attack, and make a counter-attack.


That’s exactly what you need to do as an entrepreneur. Learn what your competitors are doing. Who are they? What are they offering consumers that you are not? How can you make your products, services, and marketing efforts better? These and many more are important questions you have to ask yourself.

  1. Play to win

In chess, you have to keep the ultimate goal in mind. If you play emotionally or succumb at the first signs of hardship, you won’t win. You have to be ready to make tough choices.

[Read Also: 46-years after, Mr. Bigg’s is not so big anymore]

Some people play conservatively. They hang on tight to their pieces and refuse to make sacrifices. That’s also the way it is in business. To achieve your goals, you have to stay flexible. Know when to make adjustments, whether in your product combinations, management techniques, or marketing efforts.

Always keep your eyes on the big picture.

  1. Don’t rush to make a move; there might be a better one.

Inexperienced players stop searching for a move once they’ve located a good one. They forget there might be a better one.

In business, you have to make sure you make choices based on the complete set of information from the whole landscape. Don’t jump into the first option that looks good. Consider all your options.

  1. Plan several moves ahead

Chess players plan their moves and consider potential responses to those moves. Experienced players foresee moves several turns ahead. That’s how they manage to outwit their opponent.

[Read Also: Entrepreneurship isn’t all that glamorous – Jason Njoku]

This is what you must do as an entrepreneur. Making a good forecast is crucial to business success.

You also need to device contingency plans for situations that may arise in the future. “We’ll figure it out when we get there” might be a risky proposition you won’t be able to afford.

  1. Don’t play the plan; play the board

When playing chess, your opponent constantly devices measures to undermine your plans.

While it is important to make plans, it’s even more so to know when to abandon them or simply make adjustments.

While you have your business strategies in place, competitors are also applying their own to capture more market share than you do. Your aim should not be to follow a rigid set of plans. What determines your success or failure is your ability to adapt well and on time and respond effectively to counter what your competitors are doing.

  1. Know the value of the pieces

Each chess piece has a specific value. By knowing them, you are better suited to make decisions on how to place them across the board.

Similarly, when you know the value of your employees, customers, and associates, it will be easier to make wise decisions regarding job responsibilities, consumer targeting, and many more.

[Read Also: It’s time to break Nescafe’s two-decade grip on Nigeria’s coffee market]

  1. Manage your resources

To win, learn how to manage your resources.

In business, this applies to cash. If you run out of cash, you are done. You need to make sure you are not overspending. Every single expense you make should earn profit. Nothing should be wasted. You also need to ensure you are raising money appropriately as you go. Your expenses should never exceed your revenue.

  1. Keep an eye on the clock

“Time is material” – this is a common saying in chess.

You not only have to manage your pieces, you also have to manage time.

In a tournament setting, the games are timed so you have a limited period to make a number of moves.

It doesn’t matter if you are beating your opponent on the board, once you run out of time, you lose and your opponent takes the game, although you were doing exceptionally well on the board.

To prepare, players spend months or even years memorizing potential strategies and moves. This way, they can recall at a moment’s notice the move they have to make so they won’t spend too much time thinking.

This is why it is important to prepare in advance. A wise entrepreneur can make decisions which appear to be quick, but in reality, are a result of months of study and preparation.

  1. Make sacrifices

In chess, you learn to make necessary sacrifices that will give you the upper hand, or enable you to capture the king (Checkmate!). There are situations where you have to offer up a piece with intentions of gaining an advantage later on.

  1. Learn the value of patience

Before you can attack effectively, you have to take time to place your pieces in effective positions. A premature attack might backfire. The same idea is obtainable in business. Avoid making rash moves. Only make a move when everything is in place. For instance, don’t be in a hurry to start a business or launch a new product before conducting market research, no matter how excited you are about it.

  1. Create a balance between skill and intuition

There’s a balance in chess between intuition and analysis. There is always a human element that can’t be replaced by months or years of study and preparation. Chess is an infinite game with millions of possible moves. Therefore, it’s not possible to know and plan for every contingency. There are moments when you have to make a move based on intuition.

Once a player finds the balance between intuition and skill, their game improves remarkably. Many great chess players have come out on top a number of times when they went with their gut rather than their skills.

As an entrepreneur, you need to find this balance. It is what thinking outside the box is all about. It is also the key to creativity and great achievements and may be the difference between success and failure. Be it unique marketing campaigns, new and unique products and services, and other products of intuition.

In conclusion,

If you want to succeed in business, you have to be ruthless. This is exactly what chess is about.

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