Entrepreneur.com contributors share the books that inspired and jump-started their careers.

  • 1The Leadership Challenge, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

    amazon.com

    The Leadership Challenge

    "This book was seminal for me early in my business career. It brought structure and insight to the at-the-time mysterious subject of leadership, and it addressed matters of both the head and heart." – Mark Sanborn

  • 2The Strategy Paradox, by Michael Raynor (Crown Business, 2007)

    amazon.com

    The Strategy Paradox

    "This book has had great influence on me. The author's key point is that businesses are usually managed much too conservatively and, while counter-intuitive, the best strategy is often the riskiest one." –Jay Turo

  • 3Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne (Harvard Business Review Press, 2003)

    amazon.com

    Blue Ocean Strategy

    "This book develops the concept of and shows how to use 'blue ocean strategy.' It highlights, for example, how to make the competition irrelevant by creating a new market space or a blue ocean rather than focusing on out-performing the competition in the existing industry. The book has spun-off whole new industries and markets including that of strategy consultants." –Punit Arora

  • 4Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity, by Michael Michalko (Ten Speed Press, 1991)

    amazon.com

    Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity

    "This book taught me to be a more creative thinker. It provides tons of creativity techniques and examples of how they were used to create breakthrough ideas and inventions." –Dave Lavinsky

  • 5The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz (Fireside, 1987)

    amazon.com

    The Magic of Thinking Big

    "This book has helped me overcome countless obstacles. If I start a project and become overwhelmed, re-reading it focuses and reminds me of all the tools I can use to achieve any goal." – Stephen Key

  • 6The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss (Harmony, 2007)

    amazon.com

    The 4-Hour Workweek

    "This book helped me in two very distinct ways. First, it opened my eyes to how business can be sourced and conducted globally for even the smallest of businesses -- the global economy isn't limited to the big corporations anymore. Second, it was life changing because it made me, as an entrepreneur, ask deeper questions about what I want out of life, not just the business." –Shari Alexander

  • 7Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright (HarperBusiness, 2011)

    amazon.com

    Tribal Leadership

    "Despite conventional wisdom, research reveals that naturally forming small groups of people within organizations, and not leaders, drive success, quality and innovation. This book provides a great framework for companies to build a culture of success, quality and innovation."--Ross Kimbarovsky

  • 8Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, By Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Crown Business, 2010)

    amazon.com

    Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

    "This book was very influential to me as it exposed the most constant and crucial element in business and consulting -- how to harness and influence important and necessary change."--David Koji

  • 9The Victorian Internet, by Tom Standage (Phoenix Books, 1999)

    amazon.com

    The Victorian Internet

    "This is a fascinating history of the telegraph and how it was arguably more impactful on communications than the Internet. Standage articulates the parallels between the two paradigm shifts very well and illustrates how even large-scale technology innovations have similar socio-political repercussions through the centuries." – Tom Cochran

    Click here to see the full list at Entrepreneur.com.