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  • Writer's pictureJorge Diaz

5 Books that Canadian Entrepreneurs should Read: Pre-Startup Stage

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

I believe there is no "requirement" to get an MBA (Master in Business Administration) to create a small business. Having one would definitely be fantastic and will undoubtedly improve the chances of success considerably, but there are tons of other paths you can take to succeed in creating one too. It is the XXI century, and we have every day, way more available resources to develop entrepreneurial skills, so I will go straight to the meat: the books.

There are Thousands of Books Out There

Yes. You can verify that if you want just by doing a simple Google query. Still, I will leave a screenshot here from a simple "Entrepreneurship" word search in

By doing a simple search on Amazon, you can find more than 20,000 entrepreneurship digital resources available.

And 20K is a lot, for sure. Where to start, how to do it, how to come up with a path? Well, that's what this article is for: guide you through the books I consider to be the ideal ones for the early stages of entrepreneurship.

Early Stage: Maintaining Momentum

If you are transitioning into entrepreneurship, you are more likely to abandon your dreams if you fail early. Succeding from the very beginning is essential, as your motivation and momentum are way more fragile now than will be with time.

It is like going to the gym for the first time on a while: You cannot begin by doing 6km on the treadmill the very first day, otherwise failing early and being dissapointed will end up depleting your energy and your motivation. The gym will literally suck from day one and chances of having a day two will be only for heroes. On the other hand, starting with a 500m in mind and then 3km in a couple of weeks can easily make the 6km a reachable objective for a month and a half from today.

The same happens in all stages of learning. While momentum is very important, you need to be aware of not crushing your will power by overwhelming your transition with heavy load stuff. Not all books will be "consumed" the same way you need a system/path in order to reach your goals.

#1 - The Lean Startup

I have a more extensive article about Eric Ries book, but this is, for sure a very good motivating book to start. The book details the theoretical foundation of a lean startup process: conceptualization, testing, measuring and then decision making. It introduces you to the importance of understanding how the business build up should be analyzed and how to face reality with the minimum risk possible.

Once you read this book, your entire understanding of startup building reaches a new level. You learn the importance of failure and the value that measuring facts brings to the table.

  • Book-length: 336 pages (~15 hours of reading time)

  • Author: Eric Ries

  • Ideal for: All Entrepreneurs

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#2 - Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits is one of the most amazing books I've read in my life (I think my favorite, indeed). I've given it as a gift to my brother, to friends and is probably the best gift book ever. It is a lifechanging book. Not just for entrepreneurs, but for everyone. If I ever have the chance to do it, this is the kind of book I would love to write.

James Clear's concept goes straight to the importance of building systems for achieving goals. The idea is incredibly well described and comes up with a framework of tools that can be used to build a system that will definitely improve your business and personal life.

  • Book-length: 320 pages (~10 hours of reading time)

  • Author: James Clear

  • Ideal for: All Entrepreneurs

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#3 - One Simple Idea

Stephen Key's book is one of the most original books I've seen about product creation and licensing. Although it is mostly written for creative startups that want to license and patent ideas for other companies to manufacture, it is a masterclass that can be easily be read in less than 10 hours.

  • Book-length: 228 pages (~10 hours of reading time)

  • Author: Stephen Key

  • Ideal for: Product Designers, Product Creators

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#4 - Lost and Founder

Rand Fishkin, besides coming up with one of the best book titles ever, also founded Moz, a worldwide reach SEO company. Rand's story is immersively amazing and brave. The way he goes from the origins to the growth of his company will keep you turning pages constantly. And you will learn a lot, for sure.

In Lost and Founder, you will experience the rollercoaster that comes together with a startup launch, expansion, growth, failure, and lifecycle. It is a story that goes from the very beginning of his idea to all the tools and products they came up with for their audience.

  • Book-length: 320 pages (~12 hours of reading time)

  • Author: Rand Fishkin

  • Ideal for: SaaS Entrepreneurs, All Entrepreneurs

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#5 - Profit First

I love Mike Michalowicz's books. All of his books. At the moment of writing of this article, he has 5 out there and a 6th one on the way that I'll be pre-ordering for sure (I just did, as a matter of fact). Mike's life mission, as he states it in his podcast, talks, and books is to "eradicate entrepreneurial poverty." You can read more about Mike's projects at

Profit First is his most successful book. And the reason is very simple: his system has helped thousands of entrepreneurs to succeed in life. The value his system brings to the financial side of entrepreneurship is as simple as effective and has expanded so fast that there are even accountants and CPAs that practice it professionally with their clients. The same way Atomic Habits changed my personal life, Profit First changed my financial one.

  • Book-length: 224 pages (~8 hours of reading time)

  • Author: Mike Michalowicz

  • Ideal for: All Entrepreneurs

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