9 Inspirational Books for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur.com contributors share the books that inspired and jump-started their careers.

1. The Leadership Challenge, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

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"This book was seminal for me early in my business career. It brought structure and insight to the at-the-time mysterious subject of leadership, and it addressed matters of both the head and heart." – Mark Sanborn

2. The Strategy Paradox, by Michael Raynor (Crown Business, 2007)

"This book has had great influence on me. The author's key point is that businesses are usually managed much too conservatively and, while counter-intuitive, the best strategy is often the riskiest one." –Jay Turo

3. Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne (Harvard Business Review Press, 2003)

"This book develops the concept of and shows how to use 'blue ocean strategy.' It highlights, for example, how to make the competition irrelevant by creating a new market space or a blue ocean rather than focusing on out-performing the competition in the existing industry. The book has spun-off whole new industries and markets including that of strategy consultants." –Punit Arora

4. Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity, by Michael Michalko (Ten Speed Press, 1991)

"This book taught me to be a more creative thinker. It provides tons of creativity techniques and examples of how they were used to create breakthrough ideas and inventions." –Dave Lavinsky

5. The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz (Fireside, 1987)

"This book has helped me overcome countless obstacles. If I start a project and become overwhelmed, re-reading it focuses and reminds me of all the tools I can use to achieve any goal." – Stephen Key

6. The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss (Harmony, 2007)

"This book helped me in two very distinct ways. First, it opened my eyes to how business can be sourced and conducted globally for even the smallest of businesses -- the global economy isn't limited to the big corporations anymore. Second, it was life changing because it made me, as an entrepreneur, ask deeper questions about what I want out of life, not just the business." –Shari Alexander

7. Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright (HarperBusiness, 2011)

"Despite conventional wisdom, research reveals that naturally forming small groups of people within organizations, and not leaders, drive success, quality and innovation. This book provides a great framework for companies to build a culture of success, quality and innovation."--Ross Kimbarovsky

8. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, By Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Crown Business, 2010)

"This book was very influential to me as it exposed the most constant and crucial element in business and consulting -- how to harness and influence important and necessary change."--David Koji

9. The Victorian Internet, by Tom Standage (Phoenix Books, 1999)

"This is a fascinating history of the telegraph and how it was arguably more impactful on communications than the Internet. Standage articulates the parallels between the two paradigm shifts very well and illustrates how even large-scale technology innovations have similar socio-political repercussions through the centuries." – Tom Cochran

Click here to see the full list at Entrepreneur.com.