The best books for part-time entrepreneurs

Who am I?

I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. In fact, I was happy in corporate life. But when my job in corporate America blew up, I realized that I need to rethink my entire approach to building my career and my life. The result of these efforts is The 10% Entrepreneur. Over the past decade, I have integrated entrepreneurship into my life on a part-time basis, reaping meaningful financial and psychic rewards in the process. In the process, I have taught hundreds of thousands of others that entrepreneurship does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

I wrote...

The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

By Patrick J. McGinnis,

Book cover of The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

What is my book about?

Becoming a full-time entrepreneur can look glamorous from the outside. Who doesn’t want to chase their dreams, be their own boss, and do what they love? But the truth is that entrepreneurship is often a slog, with no regular hours, no job security, and very little pay. What if there was a way to have the stability of a day job with the excitement of a startup? All of the benefits of entrepreneurship with none of the pitfalls?

In The 10% Entrepreneur, Patrick McGinnis shows you how, by investing just 10% of your time and resources, you can become an entrepreneur without losing a steady paycheck. McGinnis details a step-by-step plan that takes you from identifying your first entrepreneurial project to figuring out the smartest way to commit resources to it. He shows you how to select and engage in projects that will provide you with upside outside the office while making you better at your day job. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Why did I love this book?

An essential approach to building new businesses by focusing on experimentation and learning to make smart decisions based on data. In this instant classic, Ries shows you how you can test ideas without wasting time and energy and then move quickly without taking unnecessary risks.  It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to be a 10% Entrepreneur.

By Eric Ries,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Lean Startup as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'The Lean Startup changes everything.' - Harvard Business Review


Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable.

The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that's being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Essential reading for any ambitious entrepreneur, The Lean Startup will teach you to identify what your customers really want. You'll learn how to test your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it's too late.

With over a million copies sold across the globe, now is your time…

Book cover of The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Why did I love this book?

This book is a practical and research-driven guide to making smart decisions from the earliest days of an enterprise, whether you’re structuring your partnership or figuring out how much capital to raise. Packed with interesting and memorable stories, this is a book about how doing things right from the beginning can be the difference between failure and success in an entrepreneurial venture.

By Noam Wasserman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Founder's Dilemmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder's Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team. Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman…

Book cover of Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance on You

Why did I love this book?

This is a compelling and fast-paced read about how you can develop a compelling pitch that will convince people to back you. Whether you are looking for investors, customers, business partners, or employees, knowing how to pitch your ideas in a compelling way is absolutely essential. This book dives deep into that challenge with tons of ideas and advice.

By Suneel Gupta, Carlye Adler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This remarkable book can be your secret weapon for bringing your idea to life.' DAN PINK, bestselling author of Drive

'Whether you want to get ahead inside a company or build a startup from the ground up, this fascinating book is a must-read.' REID HOFFMAN, co-founder of LinkedIn

'A super-readable and actionable look at how to make your ideas take flight. Whether you're pitching a brand new startup or an idea for your company's next product, you'll find a wealth of insights and stories throughout.'
MIKE KRIEGER, co-founder of Instagram

No one makes it alone. But there's a reason why…

Book cover of Why Startups Fail: A New Roadmap for Entrepreneurial Success

Why did I love this book?

As a professor at Harvard Business School, Eisenmann has taught a generation of entrepreneurs how to launch and scale businesses. He has then watched as some of these promising businesses fail. This book explores the 6 major patterns of failure in entrepreneurial ventures, shows how they play out in the real world, and gives you the tool to avoid a similar fate.

By Tom Eisenmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Startups Fail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you want your startup to succeed, you need to understand why startups fail.

“Whether you’re a first-time founder or looking to bring innovation into a corporate environment, Why Startups Fail is essential reading.”—Eric Ries, founder and CEO, LTSE, and New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way

Why do startups fail? That question caught Harvard Business School professor Tom Eisenmann by surprise when he realized he couldn’t answer it.

So he launched a multiyear research project to find out. In Why Startups Fail, Eisenmann reveals his findings: six distinct patterns that account for the…

Book cover of Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive

Why did I love this book?

So many entrepreneurs work endless hours without finding a way to monetize their work. They achieve success on paper, but don’t actually reap the financial benefits. This book provides a roadmap to monetize your talents in a number of ways – from building your brand to figuring out how to get people to pay for your services. 

By Dorie Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Entrepreneurial You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does it take to create the career you want?

It's no secret that the world of work has changed, and we're shifting toward an ever more entrepreneurial, self-reliant, work-from-wherever-you-are economy. That can be a liberating force, and many professionals dream of becoming independent, whether by starting their own businesses, becoming consultants or freelancers, or developing a sideline.

But there's a major obstacle professionals face when they contemplate taking the leap: how to actually make money doing what they love. You may have incredible talent and novel ideas, but figuring out how to get started, building your reputation in a…

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