Thinking of starting a business? Well-done. A little nervous? Don’t worry, it’s okay to be a little tense before you embark on this exciting journey.  If you want to prepare a little, here are some business books you can read to get inspired!

Starting out as a woman entrepreneur can be challenging. You might find it difficult to balance both home and work. There might even be times when people don’t take you seriously, because of the stereotype associated with business being mostly a male-dominated area. However, it is important to be patient and stay committed to your venture. 

A lot of business and entrepreneurship is learned on the job, so don’t worry if you don’t have work experience or an MBA degree. However, a little preparation never hurts. We’ve curated this list of business books, especially for women. There are many more, but these are a good starting point. 

10 Best Business Books That Every Women Entrepreneur Must Read

1. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How To Win Friends And Influence People
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A book that never gets old, this is one of the most critical business books to read ever written. Managing and running a business isn’t just about finance and marketing. A key part about starting a business is managing relationships, with your customers, clients and even the people you employ. This book teaches you communication and relationship management skills that will definitely stay with you for life. 

2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg 

Lean In By Sheryl Sandberg
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A must-read on the list of best business books for women. Why is it that despite women and men being equally capable, men tend to perform better in both academics and the corporate world? According to the author (who is also the COO at Facebook), it is mostly because many women still suffer from confidence and self-esteem issues. The book teaches women to take charge of their lives, how to balance work and home. What makes it particularly interesting is how it is full of short stories from Shery’s own life.

3. Follow Every Rainbow by Rashmi Bansal

Follow Every Rainbow by Rashmi Bansal
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This may not count as one of the business books to give you tips on starting a business. But what it does share with you is multiple stories of women entrepreneurs in India who started small and made it big. A serious dose of inspiration. Not only does it focus on success stories, but also on the many obstacles and failures along the way they had to overcome to make their dreams come true. These heartwarming stories give you the sense that they could do it, you can too. 

4. Jugaad by Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja

Jugaad by Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja
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In case you don’t know what Jugaad means in Hindi, it simply means a creative, out-of-the-box solution to a problem. Among top business books in India, the authors apply the concept of jugaad to solving business problems. The book tells you how. It teaches you that very often, the answer to obstacles that might appear complex is actually very simple. The concept is now being used by many corporate organisations, and you too can grow a successful business with a little jugaad!

5. Thrive by Ariana Huffington

Thrive by Ariana Huffington
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There’s a reason we decided to put this book on the list of recommended entrepreneur books. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to be fully involved in their businesses. Starting a new venture can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Having to battle stress, nervousness, and fatigue during this process is normal. This book tells you how to stay calm through the journey, and emphasises the importance of staying fit, meditation, sleeping well and the right nutrition. 

6. Bhujia Barons: The Untold Story Of How Haldiram Built A 5000 Crore Empire by Pavitra Kumar

Bhujia Barons: The Untold Story Of How Haldiram Built A 5000 Crore Empire
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What makes this one of the top entrepreneur books? Perhaps because no one is unfamiliar with the Haldiram name. Started as a humble shop in Bikaner, Rajasthan, Haldiram today has become a household number, even bigger than McDonald’s in India. This book tells you the story of the company, how it grew so big, and how despite having passed through generations it still remains a strong business. 

7. #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso 

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso
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One of the best business books if you want to read about the women entrepreneurs outside India. In an attempt to make a little money, 22 year Sophia Amoruso started selling vintage clothing online. Her efforts took off, and her company soon grew to become a Nasty Gal. A leading clothes retailer. What makes this book a must-read is that it is Sophia’s narration of her story, and specifically targeted at aspiring women entrepreneurs. After reading the book, you can also watch the show by the same name on Netflix.

8. How To Be A Bawse: A Guide To Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

How To Be A Bawse: A Guide To Conquering Life
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Watched Canadian-Indian YouTuber Lilly Singh’s videos? Now you must read her book on her journey from an average Indian immigrant who made random videos on the internet, to a YouTube sensation, actor and talk show host. This book is incredibly fun and very relatable as compared to inspirational books that tend to be dry. A must-read for all women, particularly the ones who want to make it big.

9. It Happened In India by Kishore Biyani

It Happened In India by Kishore Biyani
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We recommend this as one of the top business books to understand how to build a business with nothing but a vision. This story of how the Pantaloons and Big Bazaar chain, both names we are well aware of happened. In the book, Kishore Biyani shares with readers how he realized the need for supermarket-like stores for middle-class people in India. And how he started with one store. He also speaks about his failures along the way and shares things that all aspiring entrepreneurs must bear in mind.  

10. Corporate Chanakya by Radhakrishnan Pillai 

Corporate Chanakya by Radhakrishnan Pillai
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Ever thought that the traditional Indian wisdom that we only listened to in our grandparents’ stories could also have great business value? This book certainly shows you how to apply these teachings from Chanakya, the great ancient leader, to modern-day business scenarios. Language and concepts are simple and very easy to understand. 

If there’s one thing we can assure you, it is that this reading should give you a strong perspective on the various aspects of starting a business. We also hope it will inspire you one step further in making your business dream come true. 

Good things take time, and big things start small. Go on, take the first step. We’re with you girl!

Akshita Gupta
Akshita Gupta

Akshita has two passions she continues to chase: Building impactful businesses, and creativity. When she's not hustling as an entrepeneur, she's either writing, or reading. A fierce advocate of women in business, she dreams that The Channel 46 will some day find its way in every Indian woman's life.