The best books on how to start a side hustle

Who am I?

I studied economics and environmental policy but landed in entrepreneurship. I wrote The Parallel Entrepreneur after I sold my first company and continued to work on Rbucks, my blog, after I joined the next company. Outside of work I volunteer frequently in my community. I’m an Associate Professor in the Business Department at Diablo Valley College, where I teach marketing and sit on the advisory boards for both the Business and Computer Science departments. I also lead the Diablo Valley Tech Initiative (DVTI), an economic development organization incubated at DVC. Related to DVTI, I run Lamorinda Entrepreneurs, a community group that promotes and supports local entrepreneurship. I have a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

I wrote...

The Parallel Entrepreneur: How to start and run B2B businesses while keeping your day job

By Ryan Buckley,

Book cover of The Parallel Entrepreneur: How to start and run B2B businesses while keeping your day job

What is my book about?

Building a product on the internet is relatively easy these days. It's the making money part that's hard. I wrote this book to help you become a parallel entrepreneur faster than I did, and to encourage you to do so while you have the safety net of a day job.

I've divided this book into two parts: Theory and Tactics. The Theory section will cover all sides of parallel entrepreneurship and lean on both my experiences and those of others who have also ventured into parallel entrepreneurship. The Tactics section covers everything you need to know in order to plan, build, and run a business on the internet -- all while keeping your day job.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Hacking Sales: The Playbook for Building a High-Velocity Sales Machine

Why did I love this book?

Max is one of the thought leaders in modern sales development and acceleration. His book is full of actionable advice for the modern sales rep – and entrepreneur – to blast through the building and closing of a sales pipeline. Since entrepreneurship requires selling, I highly recommend this book.

By Max Altschuler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stay ahead of the sales evolution with a more efficient approach to everything

Hacking Sales helps you transform your sales process using the next generation of tools, tactics and strategies. Author Max Altschuler has dedicated his business to helping companies build modern, efficient, high tech sales processes that generate more revenue while using fewer resources. In this book, he shows you the most effective changes you can make, starting today, to evolve your sales and continually raise the bar. You'll walk through the entire sales process from start to finish, learning critical hacks every step of the way. Find and…

Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story

By Sam Walton, John Huey,

Book cover of Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story

Why did I love this book?

Sam Walton didn’t have a side hustle, but he was certainly a hustler. He fell in love with retail outsmarted his competition. It’s a fascinating read and takes the story of Walmart, one of America’s most successful companies and largest employers, all the way down to a competition between five and dime shops across the street from each other in a small town in Arkansas. If you think of each store as a stand-alone business (as Sam did), then Sam Walton was perhaps the most successful parallel entrepreneur in history.

By Sam Walton, John Huey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sam Walton, Made in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet a genuine American folk hero cut from the homespun cloth of America's heartland: Sam Walton, who parlayed a single dime store in a hardscrabble cotton town into Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world.  The undisputed merchant king of the late twentieth century, Sam never lost the common touch.  Here, finally, inimitable words.  Genuinely modest, but always sure if his ambitions and achievements.  Sam shares his thinking in a candid, straight-from-the-shoulder style.

In a story rich with anecdotes and the "rules of the road" of both Main Street and Wall Street, Sam Walton chronicles the inspiration, heart, and optimism…

The Art of Profitability

By Adrian Slywotzky,

Book cover of The Art of Profitability

Why did I love this book?

This book came by recommendation from Jonathan Siegel, the brains and brawn behind Xenon Partners, a private equity firm that I joined in 2018. This book summarizes several profit models presented by a fictional mentor coaching a business executive. It’s clever, poignant, and was helpful to me in thinking about other profitable business models. For example, in my side-hustle life, I use the Profit-Multiplier Model: running multiple small SaaS businesses in parallel using the same tech stack (make money off the same good or skill in different markets).

By Adrian Slywotzky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Presented in 23 compact lessons, THE ART OF PROFITABILITY features an ongoing tutorial between two fictitious individuals: the old and wise teacher, David Shao, the business master, and his pupil, Steve Gardner, a young and ambitious manager. Along the way, Zhao goes through a number of business models and pushes his student to examine how a variety of businesses go about making money. Through Zhao's teachings, Steve begins to see how profits can be improved simply by taking a step back and gaining a new perspective.

Book cover of Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership From the Twentieth Century's Greatest Winner

Why did I love this book?

A great book about leadership and business. I pick it because it’s on the reading list suggested in The Art of Profitability. I learned that focus is important. Bill Russell was one of the greatest basketball players of all time because he worked harder and played smarter than everyone else. However, he also recognized that he doesn’t play every position. He needs to have a great team, one that adapts to the competition. He needs them all to play at his level and he was able to do that, winning the NBA Finals a record-breaking 11 seasons. One way to build a successful side hustle (or portfolio of side hustles) is to recruit a great team to help you.

By Bill Russell, David Falkner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bill Russell epitomizes innovation, teamwork, and leadership. Now the winner of 11 championships as a player and coach of the Boston Celtics and five-time NBA Most Valuable Player reveals the 11 essential steps to attaining success in your professional and personal life.

In this invaluable book, Bill Russell shares the insights, memories, and most important, the essential “rules of success” that influenced him in every aspect of his life, from raising a daughter as a single father to becoming a successful coach and mentor to others. Filled with personal and professional stories of his days playing with Celtic greats Bob…

Book cover of Skip the Line: The 10,000 Experiments Rule and Other Surprising Advice for Reaching Your Goals

Why did I love this book?

James Altucher has produced a gem. It is full of discrete shortcuts that anyone interested in finding success in business can apply to get where they’re going faster. I learned to brainstorm every day, to read often, and to work on ideas in parallel. I also appreciate that he recommends publishing early and often rather than overthinking and agonizing over every blog post and tweet. Just let it go, but have a plan, and be strategic. If that sounds contradictory, then you too should read the book. The beauty is in the nuance.

By James Altucher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Skip the Line as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 10,000-hour rule isn't the only way to achieve mastery. Entrepreneur, angel investor and bestselling author James Altucher reveals a new mindset and proven toolkit that will empower anybody to quickly acquire the skills they need to succeed and achieve their dreams.

We live in a hierarchical world where experience has traditionally been the key to promotion. But that period is over! Straight, clear-cut career trajectories no longer exist. Industries disappear, job descriptions change, and people's interests and passions evolve. The key to riding this wave is to constantly be curious about what's next, to be comfortable with uncertainty so…

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