20 Books Every Creative Entrepreneur Should Read

We sometimes get asked, "How can a law firm devote itself both to entrepreneurs and artists?" Aren't small businesses the realm of economics and strategy, while the performing and visual arts occupy the realm of spontaneity and inspiration? In fact, law governing startups and art ventures recognizes the inherent worth of the creativity that drives both. You might say there's a craftsmanship in both. The line between artist and entrepreneur is blurring. And, as we always say, behind every great entrepreneur is a proud lawyer. Attorneys helping creatives build their dreams know that they get to see the seeds before they become the trees. They know they are just a small part of the growth process, but an essential part. 

Woodrow Wilson said, "I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow." Great artists and entrepreneurs borrow so much wisdom before hitting it big. And there are so many books filled with wisdom that can benefit visionaries with big ideas who make something from nothing. Here are 20:

  1. The War of Art - Steven Pressfield
    An intensely personal yet incredibly relevant treatise on life, love, and creativity. If you buy this on Amazon, opt for the Audible add-on. Read in your own voice, listen to an erudite British voice.
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
    More like, "how to win readers and influence more people than ever imagined!" Dale Carnegie's classic is still a treasure.
  3. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing - Al Ries and Jack Trout
    You can't get much more bang for you buck than this simple guide to looking at the world of brands and how they stand out in the marketplace.
  4. The 4-Hour Workweek - Timothy Ferriss
    Sure, the title sounds crazy, and Tim Ferriss seemed too young to be advising such a monumental shift in perspective. But, man, so much of this book makes sense!
  5. Lead, Sell, or Get Out of the Way - Ron Karr
    Ron Karr's book changes the way to look at selling. Nobody wants facts and features all "PUKE'd" out. Salesmanship is built slowly, surely... because nobody really wants to be sold to.
  6. The Four Steps to the Epiphany - Steve Blank
    Described as a "Serial Entrepreneur," Steve Blank launched the lean startup revolution long before The Lean Startup got published.
  7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
    A life-changing classic, replete with lessons on distinguishing among the important, unimportant, urgent, and inconsequential.
  8. The Challenger Sale -  Matthew Dixon and Brett Adamson
    The book that challenges the notion that building relationships is what is important. Instead, you have to challenge those relationships.
  9. Blue Ocean Strategy -  W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
    A fascinating and sometimes academic guide to creating a new relevance in established industries by leaving behind bloody red "oceans" and carving out a whole new blue ocean that creates a whole new notion of market share.
  10. The Hard Thing About Hard Things - Ben Horowitz
    Ben Horowitz, co-founder of legendary VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, lays it all out about how hard it is for entrepreneurs to start up a startup.
  11. How Successful People Think - John C. Maxwell
    Thinking creatively and challenging conventional thinking is easy to champion, but few people know how to articulate the "how" of successful thinking than John C. Maxwell.
  12. Made to Stick - Chip Heath and Dan Heath
    Some ideas last for what seems like forever, some die of the vine. For people with big ideas, this is chock full of insight into when an idea is worth running through walls for.
  13. Thinkertoys - Michael Michalko
    Think of this book as an exercise guide for the creative muscle. Simple, fun, and helpful.
  14. Selling the Invisible - Harry Beckwith
    What do you do when you have a product a customer cannot see? Service providers (such as attorneys) have an even higher hurdle to overcome in communicating what matters. Beckwith's "field guide" is concise and effective.
  15. The Writer's Journey - Christopher Vogler
    Vogler uses Joseph Campbell's myth structure to illustrate how we are all the hero of our own story, and how the obstacles to goals makes the triumph or tragedy of the hero so powerful. This is one of Hollywood's bibles. 
  16. Start with Why - Simon Sinek
    It seems so simple; if you start with "why?," rather than "how?" or "what?," you engage customers or audiences so much more effortlessly. But Sinek has the formula for applying the "Start with Why" strategy.
  17. The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod
    Even if you're a night owl, you must acknowledge that a long stressful day makes the night so much less productive. Hal Elrod shows how the early morning is a time of almost superheroic effectiveness.
  18. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook - Gary Vaynerchuk
    Gary Vaynerchuk, affectionately called Gary V. by his peers, is a character study in intensity (check out his doppelganger Dr. Davis Bannerchek on HBO's hilarious Silicon Valley), and he pulls no punches in stressing the importance of giving, giving, giving, before taking.
  19. 6 Months to 6 Figures - Peter Voogd
    Peter Voogd is a youngster with drive. This book is not as polished as the others, but has so many nuggets of collected wisdom that makes it a must-read.
  20. Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill
    The granddaddy of all entrepreneurship books. Almost a 100 years old, this book has provided top-notch advice to generations of small and big business owners alike.