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7 Fiction Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Mindy Jensen
4 min read
7 Fiction Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Brandon Turner reads 27 books a day.

OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but he reads all the time. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a speed reader, but that man plows through books in a way that makes me quite jealous. (Of course, he doesn’t have a 10-year-old and 7-year-old currently trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Consecutive Hours Fighting like I do, but I digress.)

I aspire to be like Brandon, and you should, too. He is brilliant, and he never stops learning.

There’s no shortage of business books out there and there’s no shortage of real estate books, either. But sometimes you aren’t in the mood for a business book or a real estate book. (I know, crazy talk, right?)

I asked around for fiction book recommendations for entrepreneurs, and I got some really great responses. Many of the same titles were suggested multiple times.

Absolutely my favorite response was recommended by Brian Davis of SparkRental, who also writes for The BiggerPockets Blog periodically and Brett Bastello from Community Tax. Not only did I love this book, but the lessons you can learn while being entertained are numerous.

The Martianir?t=biggerpocke0a 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0553418025 by Andy WeirScreen Shot 2017 04 12 at 3.13.20 PM

When an astronaut is accidentally abandoned on Mars all alone, he has only his wits and motivation to survive on. His fate is entirely in his own hands, and it is literally an innovate-or-die scenario. In a neat trick of thematic juxtaposition, Weir tells a parallel narrative of the massive collaborative effort taking place on Earth to try and bring the astronaut home. One narrative is about lone survival against all odds, and the other is about the power of collaboration and teamwork—and the lessons of each are necessary for entrepreneurs to succeed. As a bonus, the prose is witty, funny, and a pleasure to read.

The Richest Man in Babylonir?t=biggerpocke0a 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0451205367 by George S. ClasonScreen Shot 2017 04 12 at 3.13.42 PM

Recommended by Chris Murray of Varda Kreuz Training, this is a fabulous, timeless book that reveals the secrets to making and keeping personal wealth.

I also read this book after numerous people recommended it. It reads like the King James Version of the Bible, but the lessons it contains are so powerful that I had to stop highlighting it because I was highlighting entire pages!

It was published in 1926 but is every bit as relevant today as it was then.

The Fountainheadir?t=biggerpocke0a 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0451191153 by Ayn RandScreen Shot 2017 04 12 at 3.14.08 PM

Adam Jusko from Credit Card Catalog and Bryan Koontz from Guide Fitter both raved about this book. Adam told me, “I’m sure Ayn Rand’s name will come up over and over. My favorite is The Fountainhead, which not only espouses staying true to your vision but also warns about the naysayers who will try to bring you down. Atlas Shrugged is probably the better-known of Rand’s books, but it is basically a bloated version of The Fountainhead, which is the better read by far.”

Jason Bauman from Trinity Insight shared a couple of books that I have not yet read—nor even heard about before—but I have put them on my list. Based on his description, they cover some pretty important business topics from the extremely timely privacy rights to basic business ideas of figuring out how to create a business by seeing what others do not.

The Circleir?t=biggerpocke0a 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0345807294 by Dave EggersScreen Shot 2017 04 12 at 3.14.48 PM

The Circle is near-future dark satire. I think it’s important for entrepreneurs to read because it lays out some pretty complex questions about the right to privacy and how easy it is to rationalize it away. In today’s connected era, business will have access to a lot of potential information about their customers. How they manage that data should matter. In general, I think that technology is a net positive, but it’s good to keep that optimism grounded in how radically a transparent society would change things.

Quarter Shareir?t=biggerpocke0a 20&l=am2&o=1&a=1940575001 by Nathan Lowell

Quarter Share is the first of a six-part series of short novels that follow the protagonist, Ishmael Horatio Wang, who leaves his home Screen Shot 2017 04 12 at 3.16.19 PMplanet to try and build a life for himself in space. I think this is a great book because it shows how, even when he was just a lowly member of the crew, Ishmael identified how he could improve his ship and eventually make some cash by thinking of novel solutions to problems that others just thought of as a fact of life. Ishmael identifies underserved markets and then leverages what he has available to enter that market and become profitable.
A light-hearted entry into this list is from everyone’s favorite, Dr. Seuss. I actually bought a copy of this book for each of my daughters and am having it signed by every teacher they have as they go through school and will give it to them upon high school graduation. While I’d love to take credit for this idea, I actually found it on Pinterest. It’s so fun for me to see the comments from each teacher and to follow their progress through the years.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!ir?t=biggerpocke0a 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0679805273 by Dr. SeussScreen Shot 2017 04 12 at 3.16.52 PM

“I recommend every entrepreneur read Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Is this is a kid’s book? Yep! Does it have a powerful message that resonates with all ages? Absolutely! Entrepreneurs are natural explorers. Just as it says in the book, they have brains in their head, feet in their shoes, and can steer themselves in any direction they choose. You’ll have great moments of success alongside your other fellow entrepreneurs, but you will also have moments where you’re left behind in a lurch and trying to figure out what road is best to travel with your small business. Being too hesitant to decide what to do may stick you in the dreaded ‘The Waiting Place’—it’s up to you to keep moving forward through the good and bad times alike. Just remember, ‘Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!’” —Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation

The Alchemist by Paul CoelhoScreen Shot 2017 04 12 at 3.17.16 PM

I don’t think a fiction-books-for-entrepreneurs list would be complete without The Alchemist by Paul Coelho and neither did Jennifer Martin of Zest Business Consulting, Holly Stokes from The Brain Trainer, and James Sinclair of Trade Finance Global. The Alchemist is about following your dreams, making sacrifices, and not settling for a basic level of comfort. It isn’t the most practical book, but it does give you a sense of perspective about your problems and how to view each obstacle in your path. It is a short, simple, frustrating read—good for any entrepreneur.

You Can Learn From Anything, Anyone, Anywhere

The opportunity to learn surrounds you every day. Every single person on this planet can teach you something, and some of the best learning comes from non-traditional settings.
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Do you have a favorite fiction book you’d recommend entrepreneurs read?
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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.