The best books on the essentials of entrepreneurship

Who am I?

I left the corporate pigeonhole in 2015 and flew out into the Great Expanse. Ever since, I have been a catalyst for people’s self-expression across different media and formats. My work is a direct consequence of this motivation. I am a person branding coach, writer, editor & book coach and voiceover artist. I prefer depth over width, silence over noise, calm over chaos. My thinking is a blend of structure and free flow. My work is more than just work to me: it is a core part of my being. Being of a contemplative nature, I often ask myself big questions about value- creation, impact, empathy, collaboration, etc. I live in the Indian city of Bangalore (Bengaluru) with my family.

I wrote...

The Underage CEOs: Fascinating Stories of Young Indians Who Became CEOs in Their Twenties

By Ganesh Vancheeswaran,

Book cover of The Underage CEOs: Fascinating Stories of Young Indians Who Became CEOs in Their Twenties

What is my book about?

The Underage CEOs tells the stories of eleven youngsters in India who became entrepreneurs right after college/university, thereby becoming CEOs in their twenties itself! They rejected conventional career paths, fought off pressure from society, peers and parents, and took charge of their destinies. They have changed the lives of several people through their ventures. What's more, they are having a lot of fun!

These young men and women are not exceptions. Today, the business climate in India offers multiple opportunities to those with good ideas. If you have a strong vision, drive and patience, you can make a difference in your chosen field. The Underage CEOs is a call to action to take a leap of faith and rewrite your destiny at a young age!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of On Entrepreneurship and Impact

Why did I love this book?

I love this book because it nails the essentials of entrepreneurship. The author is a serial entrepreneur, venture investor and philanthropist who has set up and scaled up enterprises in Silicon Valley and India. He presents a set of principles, values and strategies to help entrepreneurs gain a lasting advantage – as opposed to a temporary one. He writes in simple English without resorting to jargon. The fact that he delivers his wisdom in nuggets makes it engaging and useful for the reader. At a time when most of the world merely skims the surface of anything, Desh Deshpande advocates depth — a philosophy I follow, too.

By Desh Deshpande,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Entrepreneurship and Impact as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Why did I love this book?

This book advocates a way of life I took to a couple of years ago – and have tried to stick to, ever since. Across the world, we professionals find it a big problem to focus on something and get it done. Distraction — especially the online kind — has become the bane of our life, making it almost impossible to go deep into any one activity or project. This book comes as a welcome departure from the current norm and tells us how we can avoid flitting from one thing to another or being pulled in different directions by different priorities. I am the kind that likes to take up just one or two things at a time and finish them well before moving on to something else. This is the only way I can create something of consequence, something of value. If you too think this way, you’ll find this book damn useful.

By Cal Newport,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Deep Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many modern knowledge workers now spend most of their brain power battling distraction and interruption, whether because of the incessant pinging of devices, noisy open-plan offices or the difficulty of deciding what deserves your attention the most. When Cal Newport coined the term 'deep work' on his popular blog, Study Hacks, in 2012, he found the concept quickly hit a nerve. Most of us, after all, are excruciatingly familiar with shallow work instead - distractedly skimming the surface of our workload and never getting to the important part. Newport began exploring the methods and mindset that foster a practice of…

Book cover of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Why did I love this book?

It is easy to duplicate something that’s already out there in the market, or create something similar to it. It is when we try to do something absolutely new — create something original — that several stiff challenges arise. Noted entrepreneur Peter Thiel’s book throws some light on how we can tackle these and create an enterprise of consequence. He lays out the digital business landscape well and gives us strategies and ideas to set up something new and grow it in the new-age economy. I like how he draws unconventional references (e.g. The Mechanics of Mafia, Follow the Money, Late Mover Advantage) to make his point. And, of course, his no-fluff approach works, too!

By Peter Thiel, Blake Masters,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Zero to One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What Valuable Company Is Nobody Building? The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren't learning from them. It's easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there. "Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how". (Elon…

Book cover of Be Your Own Brand: A Breakthrough Formula for Standing Out from the Crowd

Why did I love this book?

I am a person branding coach. I help people build their person (aka individual) brands. I know that the single most potent asset of every entrepreneur is their person brand. The more distinctive this is, and the more convincingly the person communicates it, the better for them and their business. Your person brand signals who you are, what you do, your core values, and why someone should work with you, instead of with someone else. David McNally and Karl Speak examine this concept threadbare and, in simple language, explain how you can build your brand as an individual.

By David McNally, Karl D. Speak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Be Your Own Brand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this second edition of their classic book on personal brand, David McNally and Karl Speak show that developing a personal brand is not about constructing a contrived image. Rather, it is a process of discovering who you really are and what you aspire to be. The hallmark insight of this new edition is that the best way to establish a strong and memorable brand is to make a positive difference in the lives of others through making lasting impressions that build trusting relationships.

McNally and Speak take you through the process of identifying the key components of your brand,…

Book cover of When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn't the Life You Want

Why did I love this book?

I was thinking of writing a book like this when I saw it in a bookstore! Someone had already written it! It tells us how various people from diverse backgrounds chucked their profession or job (because they didn't like it or didn't find it suited to themselves) to do what they really wanted to do. 

I can relate strongly to this book because this is what I did too, a few years ago. The chapters are written in the first person by the people who jumped. This gives the reader a greater sense of live action. 

Each story has a lesson or two. Read a story, mull over what you learned from it, and then move to the next one. This book should help you set the "caged bird of your heart" free. 

By Mike Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When to Jump as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you're at a crossroads, this is the book you need to read to begin chasing your dreams. Includes a foreword by Sheryl Sandberg.

Do you have a little voice in your head telling you to pursue the thing you love? Leaving a comfortable job to pursue a passion is a brave, bold move - but it's far from impossible. In this inspiring read When to Jump founder Mike Lewis has curated a community of people to share their stories about taking the leap into the unknown - people from all walks of life who left the safe inertia of…

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