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Top 5 Books by the Greats: Entrepreneurs Who Went from Small to Big Business

2 minutes Read

what we are readingOwning a small business is challenging. Every day is full of surprises, and it can sometimes feel like your to-do list is never ending. Following your passion certainly can be exhausting, but the good news is that there’s a payoff. For every long day, curve in the road and difficult situation, there’s opportunity for growth.

Take it from the ones who have been there, faced adversity and come out even stronger than before. We’ve compiled a list of superstar businesses whose owners followed their passions and started small. From that single kernel of an idea came some billion-dollar, worldwide enterprises. So take a minute to learn from the ones who made it big—and think about how you want your business to grow.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

The CEO of Zappos knows about being happy. From running a pizza business and owning a worm farm, to his success at LinkExchange and Zappos, his story takes a turn when he decided to focus on long-term happiness. Spoiler alert: it’s not just about profits. Although cold, hard cash is nice, keeping his customers and employees happy was a direct path to his own personal fulfillment.

Direct From Dell by Michael Dell

It’s almost a fairy tale—a 19-year-old starts a computer company in his dorm room at University of Texas with less than $1,000, develops a new sales model and turns it into a $100 billion dollar enterprise over the next decade. Michael Dell, founder of Dell computers, revolutionized the way people buy computers, and his story is not only inspirational, it provides solid business-building advice, too.

Made in America by Sam Walton

Legendary founder of retail powerhouse WalMart, Sam Walton, is one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in the business. He built a single dime store into the world’s leading retailer, and his story offers guidance on growing a small business with hard work and dedication. Modern opinions about WalMart may be mixed, but there’s no denying he’s a business great, and anyone can learn from his folksy wisdom.

Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by Howard Schultz

As you savor your morning coffee, you can also learn how Starbucks went from one single store on Seattle’s waterfront to more than 21,000 stores worldwide. Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO, describes the growth of the company as he turned his passion for great coffee into profit, serving up a double shot of business knowledge and inspiration.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman – Yvon Choinard – Patagonia

This famous outdoor clothing and gear supply company is owned by an ambitious, strong-willed yet shy French Canadian who just wanted to climb a mountain. The book describes the rapid growth of his small company and how he navigated through stalled sales to emerge even stronger. You’ll love the philosophies he describes for everything from product design and development to human resources and image.

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