Last Updated on by Karl
Starting a business is hard.
You need to know how to market, sell, and manage your finances, but you don't have the time or money to go back to school for an MBA.
Well, there's really no need to.
Business audiobooks are one of the best investments you can make as they're packed full of actionable advice from experts who've been in your shoes before.
After my recent Audible review, a lot of readers have messaged me asking for audiobook recommendations, so I figured I'd summarize some of the best business audiobooks I've been through as well as their key takeaways.
Here's a list of 13 of the best business audiobooks recommended by entrepreneurs, executives, and other high-performers.
I've done hundreds of hours of research on this by following recommendations from podcast interviews, business communities, and other similar circles to see what's actually worth putting time into.
Not only that, I've obviously also listened to each audiobook on this list.
They are in no particular order because everyone has different needs.
You need to identify what the bottleneck is for starting or scaling up your business and take it from there.
For some, it may be a lack of marketing skills, for others, a question of productivity – I've covered all of the bases.
Not only have I listed the audiobooks, I've also gone through and added the key takeaways from each and the lessons I've learned.
But before we get into the best business audiobooks themselves…
A quick note…
Obviously you can read all of the books listed here in traditional format but audiobooks are my go-to for a myriad of reasons.
I've been doing it for years and it's saved me countless hours.
Below is a list of just some of the benefits:
1. You Can Listen to Them Anywhere
You can download audiobooks on your phone and listen anywhere without worrying about whether you've brought your book or kindle with you.
This saves a ton of idle time that you may otherwise spend scrolling through Facebook or reading the news.
2. They Allow You to Multitask
I've probably gone through at least 50 audiobooks in my life just because I'm walking my dog three times a day anyway.
If you're an entrepreneur with a commute, audiobooks are fantastic because they allow you to leverage each wasted hour spent on the road.
I'll also put one on while I'm cooking, doing chores around the house, doing cardio in the gym, and a myriad of other mundane tasks.
Hell, I sometimes look forward to doing the laundry now because I get to carry on with an audiobook I've been meaning to finish.
3. They're Way More Affordable than Printed Books or E-books
Audiobooks are usually much shorter (12 hours is normal) and almost always less expensive than their printed counterparts.
Services like Audible are the price of a couple cups of coffee at Starbucks and give you access to almost every audiobook in the world for a fixed monthly fee through their credit system.
It's a no-brainer financially.
4. It's Easier to Focus on Audiobooks
They force you to concentrate more because your attention is split between the audiobook and whatever else it is that you're doing at the time (like driving, working out, walking etc.)
Some of the best business audiobooks on this list are over a 30 hours long in audio format – I don't know about you but especially for some of the more dry books, I'd struggle to sit down and read for 60+ hours (it's slower).
5. Some People Learn Better by Listening
While the science is sketchy on this, some people (like me) find it easier to retain information when it's presented through audiobook format.
It seems like a silly point but for instance many of the high-performers in my entrepreneur mastermind group prefer audiobooks because they can concentrate more while listening without worrying about typing notes in.
I also find it easier to focus when I'm listening – personally, it feels like I'm multi-tasking but the reality is that your brain has just been fooled into thinking you're leveraging idle time as opposed to reading a book.
With that said… Let's get on with the list.
The 13 Best Business Audiobooks for Entrepreneurs
Here's an overview of the most recommended business audiobooks by entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and many other top performers.
We've also included detailed notes on the best takeaways as well as an overview of what each book is best for.
1. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don't” By Jim Collins
Even if you've never read this best-selling business audiobook, you'll know of some of the companies it covers.
These are household names like Circuit City and Fannie Mae.
What the audiobook aims to uncover is how good companies become great companies, and what lessons we can learn from their success stories.
It does so by analyzing the best-performing companies in the stock market from 1971 to 2002.
What's most interesting is how it defines a great company:
“A great company consistently exhibits, and then quickly corrects,” while “a good company occasionally makes missteps, but its CEO quickly corrects them before they become habits.”
The audiobook focuses on 11 companies that made the leap to greatness, and outlines what lessons we can draw from them.
In summary, good to great businesses:
- Had disciplined people who were good at what they did
- Acted as if they knew where the company was going and had a vision for their place in the market
- Came up with good ideas that went beyond what made money
- Acted on those good ideas even when it wasn't easy
- Did good things, not just talked about them
- Communicated their values to each other and everyone
It seems like simple stuff, but there are reasons good companies fail to become great ones. One of the biggest reasons is that they have leaders who are not really leaders so much as managers.
A good manager focuses on the status quo.
A good leader takes a good company and makes it great by pushing people out of their comfort zone, stretching them beyond what they thought possible, turning good companies into great ones.
Overall, good to great is an interesting audiobook that's easy to read and full of good ideas. If you're interested in business, I'd recommend it.
2. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
This is the first business audiobook that I ever read and in the following month I went through at least 8 others.
It's an entertaining book with lots of valuable lessons around how rich people think differently than poor people and how to build a business.
- The rich don't work for money; they make money work for them
- Why worry about saving when you can invest?
- Your house is not an asset but a liability
- The rich pay less taxes than poor people because they know how to legally reduce their tax bill
The first lesson alone has changed my life.
It's a simple idea, rich people work for money and poor people work for the rich.
But once you learn the concept, you'll quickly discover that you don't have to be a millionaire to make your money work for you.
The best thing about this audiobook? The story is amazing and time will fly by.
3. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers is an audiobook about success and how we can become more successful by applying various lessons from people who have been at the top of their fields.
The book is divided into three sections:
- The rule-breakers (about the 10,000 hour rule)
- The culture makers (deliberate practice)
- The idea hunters (harvesting ideas from others)
The first section introduces the 10,000 hour rule on how people reach a level of skill in any field.
He uses examples of famous authors, musicians, sports players and athletes to illustrate his point. This proves that anyone can achieve success by simply putting in their time (practice) into what they do best.
For instance he mentions an author who took 7 years to write his first book. Then he broke through and was able to publish one a year for the next 4-5 years till his death.
The author was able to sustain this rate because 10,000 hours of practice helped him get to the appropriate skill level.
The second section elaborates on practice and how you can become a master in your field if you want to. It boils down to deliberate practice, which is the methodical kind of learning where self-analysis is crucial.
Deliberate practice requires us to pay close attention to what we are doing by analyzing our performance, looking for mistakes and correcting them.
Gladwell gives examples of people who have reached a high degree of success through deliberate practice.
The third section talks about how ideas are often planted in a matter of chance encounters with others.
Gladwell makes his point by using examples of products and services that have benefited from serendipitous encounters.
One great example is the case of Paul English, the founder of Kayak.com
In his audiobook, Gladwell mentions how Paul English was initially working as a programmer at Amazon.
While walking in Harvard campus one day he ran into a friend, who had just started a search engine (Kayak). He ended up leaving his job to become the co-founder of Kayak.com and within a couple of years, he was able to sell it at a multi-million dollar price tag.
The book is full of interesting stories like this one where he uses examples of successful people to drive home his points about success.
Overall, Outliers is an interesting read that will help you visualize success as a skill that can be learned with practice, and not an accident.
Conclusion: If you want to learn more about the 10,000 hour rule or how deliberate practice works, you should listen to this audiobook.
4. “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss
This is the bible of thousands of entrepreneurs around the world and has inspired action in many more.
The title is a little misleading as working four hours per week isn't actually the goal of the book.
The book is about how you can achieve freedom by finding ways around conventional systems and paradigms, such as working less and living a more fulfilling life.
The 4-hour workweek also refers to the two ways that one can earn a living: working hard for 40 hours per week and achieving mediocre results or working less, living smarter and getting better results.
The book has actionable tips which can be implemented by entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike.
The 4-hour workweek is a great choice for individuals who are disenchanted with their current careers, but haven't decided on the best alternative yet.
For those already involved in entrepreneruship, there's still a lot to learn from this audiobook.
There's an extensive guide to outsourcing which I found very useful when starting out and let to starting several businesses.
The book also provides several “case studies” of various individuals who have implemented the concepts explained in the book and achieved incredible results.
5. “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited is an audiobook about small businesses, the people who create them and the business owners.
The author wrote it to help others avoid many of the mistakes that he once made while running his own businesses.
Gerber helps those interested in starting their own business by offering valuable advice from nearly 30 years experience as an entrepreneur. He also gives insight on how to avoid the struggles that most entrepreneurs face.
Some of the key takeaways from this book are:
- Take a look at your business as if you were somebody else (e.g. a customer).
- Invest in examining how you're spending your time, and decide whether that’s the best way to spend it.
- Ask yourself: where does the revenue come from?
- Double check forecasts of future success with reality.
- Don't dive into the next project until you finish the one that you're on.
There are many more takeaways from Gerber's book, and it is worth reading for those who need to start their own business or figure out a way to scale things up, the right way.
This book is not meant to be an easy read but rather as a practical guide to keep you on track.
6. “Purple Cow Revisited: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” By Seth Godin
Purple Cow is one of my all-time favorite business audiobooks and the revisited version is even better than the original.
The concept of Purple Cow is so simple and brilliant at the same time: in order to be successful you have to stand out from your competition, but how do you do it?
By providing remarkable service and creating remarkable products.
Here are 5 main ideas from Purple Cow Revisited that you should apply to your business today:
1. Purple Cow is no longer just about marketing a product or service, it's about building something remarkable and letting people know you have it.
2. To make money in the marketplace you need to be remarkable on every level: a remarkable product, a remarkable brand experience, and even the way you market your business.
3. How do truly remarkable companies end up being successful? It's all about word of mouth: having a great product or service that people will talk about brings customers in droves. Think back to when Apple first came out with the iPhone—no marketing, no advertisements, just a great product people were willing to talk about.
This is the essence of Purple Cow.
4. If you want to stand out, you have to be willing to make mistakes.
Purple Cow Revisited talks about how Purple Cows can fail in spectacular fashion because they're doing something new and different. This goes for everything from businesses starting up new marketing campaigns to products being launched into the marketplace for the first time.
5. The biggest complaint I hear from business owners is that “if only we could get more customers to come in, we would be successful.” The problem is that when you have a remarkable product or service you won't need to try and attract customers with marketing—they will find their way to you because of word of mouth.
There are so many great points made in Purple Cow Revisited about being remarkable in your business, but one of my favorite quotes from the audiobook is this:
“The goal isn't to blindly increase sales. It's to design a remarkable experience that people tell others about.”
When you can get people to talk about your product or service, you have succeeded in making a Purple Cow.
7. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey
If you've already read a few of the six business audiobooks above, you'll know that consistently taking little steps forward is the key to growing a business.
We all struggle with productivity and that's exactly what Covey's fifth book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is about.
This business audiobook is designed to give you advice on how to be more productive in your day-to-day life, not just in the workplace. It covers everything from time management and productivity, but also discusses other habits, such as how to “Sharpen the Saw”.
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” talks about the development of good character and making sure that our actions are matching up with what we want in life.
It's not an easy book to get through – it spans 336 pages and covers everything from Covey's background to how to get the most out of your day.
It's not as action-packed or entertaining as other business audiobooks and might feel like a chore whilst you're reading it, but it's certainly worth doing so if you want some different advice on improving yourself.
The main insight that I got from this business book is that you should be looking out for the long-term picture and not just thinking about your next big sale.
Making sure that every action you take will benefit your business in the short, medium, or long term is essential.
A key takeaway from this business book is Covey's “Urgent/Important” matrix, which explains that if you're going to prioritize tasks in your day, make sure they are important and not just urgent.
For example: answering all of your emails might seem like a nice idea at the time but an hour spent working on something more important will be worth so much more for your business.
There are thousands of uber successful entrepreneurs who've implemented his systems and proven that it works.
8. “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen
Another legendary book in the productivity space.
“Getting Things Done” is the definitive book on personal productivity. It has become an inspiration to modern day productivity gurus and practitioners.
The audiobook is simple and clear, covering all aspects of productivity.
It has many actionable tips that you can use to improve your daily routine, like managing your Inbox, dealing with procrastination, handling interruptions, clearing your mind and more.
Here are some key points that I learned from the book:
1. Having an empty inbox and a clear mind will improve your focus and ability to deal with uncertainty
This is the premise behind Getting Things Done.
When you have unfinished tasks hanging over your head, it's hard to relax.
You feel stressed out, worried about not getting them done on time.
Having an empty inbox and a clear mind is the true definition of stress-free productivity.
2. The key to getting things done is the ability to say “no”
We are often presented with many responsibilities and opportunities.
If we accept everything, we will only be deluged by more things to do.
Say no when you can't commit or don't have the time for something new.
This is harder than it sounds because people think they are being rude when they say no or missing out on opportunities.
But failing to do something that you said you would will only cause more problems in the long run.
3. Clear away all the distractions
The biggest time waster is your email inbox, followed by your task list and your phone/mobile device.
You can easily spend a good two hours of your day managing emails and checking on your to-do list.
For this reason, you need to set aside specific times during the day for these tasks.
Turn off your phone and mobile device when you are working so that they don't distract you.
4. Embrace the power of the two-minute rule
If an email or task can be done within two minutes, do it right away instead of postponing it to a later time.
Completing even small tasks will help you feel more productive throughout the day and reduce stress from worrying about them.
5. Prioritize your day the night before
Having a clear plan for the next day will allow you to wake up without any worries and focus on the tasks ahead of you.
To sum things up, you'll probably have a bigger impact from listening to this audiobook than actually going to business school.
9. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie's classic is a must-read for anyone who wants to be successful.
In this audiobook, he outlines simple (although not always easy) steps that can help the reader become influential and likable in any situation.
It is important to note that this business audiobook focuses on being genuine, rather than manipulative. You will be much more successful in your dealings if you genuinely care, rather than faking it.
He also focuses on the value of putting yourself in others' shoes. What's important to them is just as important to you, or maybe even more important for your success!
Throughout the audiobook, he includes several compelling stories that illustrate his points.
Overall, this book is an essential read, whether you are interested in business or not. The lessons learned will stay with you for life as you navigate your path to success and happiness.
10. “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma
This is probably the most entertaining and captivating business audiobook I've ever listened to.
The narrator (Robin Sharma himself) has an amazing voice, and he really radiates kindness & compassion.
Though the book is meant for entrepreneurs, there are some very profound lessons in it that can be applied to everyone's life.
The message given by the books title comes through very clearly: having “a passion for your life” is the most important part of living.
It's a super captivating story and the way he's laid it out leaves you with a lot of easy ways to remember the key lessons which include:
- Think about what really matters in your life, and make time for that
- Know when to quit, and when to keep going
- Take responsibility for your circumstances and actions
- Serve the world in your own unique way or have a mission
- Sharpen your focus, set priorities and be disciplined in what you choose to do
Overall, this is a fantastic audiobook.
The advice he gives is timeless and super practical, which is rare for this type of life lessons.
11. “Mastery” by Robert Greene
Mastery is a timeless book about making the most of your life.
Many people go through their lives without experiencing true happiness, true success, or even true love because they are always on the hunt to achieve the next milestone in life.
Greene's main argument is that instead of working continuously towards constant milestones we should focus on mastery – becoming our best selves and being happy with what we have.
He explains that society has us thinking that life is a quest when it is actually a journey.
In order to be successful on our journeys we need to realize that the process, not the destination, is what's important.
The audiobook focuses on how to seek mastery in five different areas of your life:
Mastery comes with practice. Greene explains that the best way to become good at anything is to go through something called a “trial by fire.”
A “trial by fire” is when someone gives you a task that you are not experienced in but if you can successfully complete the task it will leave an impact on your life.
Greene even includes examples of famous people who went through a trial by fire, such as Steve Jobs and Vincent Van Gogh.
He goes on to say that true masters in life never feel as if they are done learning but instead enjoy what they do, even when challenges arise.
Overall, I found this business audiobook to be extremely inspirational.
From the title, you might think that it is a self-help book aimed at personal development only, but Greene makes other points about life as well.
What I love most about Mastery is that its concepts are relevant to everyone—no matter your age or background.
12. “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” By Brian Tracy
This business audiobook was a game-changer for me when it comes to productivity and is the system I follow.
I've never been able to properly implement any of the other books to their fullest, but Eat That Frog changed that.
It offers extremely practical solutions to reduce procrastination.
One such way is to schedule for the most difficult task to be done in the morning.
It's always so easy to put off difficult tasks, but by doing it in the morning you get it out of the way and you never have a reason to procrastinate on that task. Makes sense right?
Not only that, it'll create momentum and get you going for the rest of the day.
You'll have a sense of satisfaction for getting that task done and will be more likely to do work on other tasks.
The author also goes over numerous techniques to reduce procrastination, making the reader aware of bad habits such as idling and delaying before jumping into the work.
The book offers many other solutions that help readers organize their work, make better time estimates and tackle tasks with more confidence.
Overall this was a really great book on productivity and gave me systems I could actually use to produce results. I highly recommend it for anyone who's struggled with procrastination like myself.
13. “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time” By Keith Ferrazzi
They say a man's success is tied to the strength of his relationships. It might be just another old saying, but it couldn't be any more true.
Never Eat Alone is a self-help book that emphasizes on the importance of getting out of our comfort zones and establish relationships with people who are going places—people who can help us achieve a certain goal we have in mind.
Some of the strategies in the book include:
- The Power of Relentless Networking
- Talk Less; Listen More
- Acknowledge Everyone in Your Network
- Becoming a Connector
- The Three-Minute Thank You
- Becoming a Skilled Empathizer
- And many more…
In my opinion, the most important part in this book didn't only lie on the actual strategies that Keith Ferrazzi provided but also contained in the conversational aspects of his writing.
It made me feel as though I was talking to him personally—because that's exactly what he did!
He reminded me of someone who deeply cared for people, someone who devoted himself to helping people achieve their goals in the most natural and honest way possible.
The audiobook was structured like a conversation with a mentor; it left me thinking: if this is what it takes to be successful, I want more of this!
Never Eat Alone is one book that makes me want to take a step out of my comfort zone and embrace the world.
Learning is a lifelong process.
We need to constantly find ways to become better versions of ourselves in order to make the most of our lives.
This list of business audiobooks is a great starting point.
Ready to start? Get one book for free by signing up for Audible!
If you're looking for more ways to take your skills and knowledge to the next level, I'd encourage you to take a look at my MasterClass review as well as platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Mindvalley.
For those on the development and data path, DataCamp is another amazing resource.
Which book are you most likely to listen to? Do you have any suggestions for me?
Let me know!