What are the best business biographies that capture America’s entrepreneurial spirit?

We’re wondering what some good reads are to encourage and inspire the American entrepreneurial spirit. Everyone knows of the standard ones like Good to Great, Steve Jobs biography, Getting Things Done, Winning (Jack Welch’s bio), etc, but we’re looking for ones that you’d recommend that might not be as well known.

ClickBricks Executive Contributor Asked on September 23, 2015 in Books.
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3 Answer(s)

Two books I highly recommend on entrepreneurship are:

Rickenbacker: An Autobiography and Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power

The first is a wonderfully compelling look at Eddie Rickenbacker who went from the son of a poor immigrant family, to founding and running Eastern Airlines, one of America’s earliest and most successful commercial airline carriers. In between, he worked several odd jobs, became a World War I pilot hero, raced Indy 500 cars, survived a multi-week ordeal stranded in a raft in the Pacific Ocean, ran an automobile company, and spent weeks in rehab after surviving a horrific commercial airline crash. These are some of the remarkable stories and events Rickenbacker was involved in. The book is written by him and comes with a lot of energy and moxie. I’ve read it to my four children as an example of the self-starter, we can fix/do anything attitude so-often found in early Americans. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The second is a bit more academic in nature, but covers dozens of key economic events in the life of America – from canals, to railroads, to modern day triumphs. The book is a great birds-eye overview and bounces from story to story quickly and cohesively enough to keep your attention. I too, have read this to my four kids and they found the stories engaging and the content worthy of discussing, especially, as it made them think of modern events and business endeavors they hear about at school, home, or on social media.

Brandon Muth Guest Contributor Answered on September 24, 2015.
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Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. While technically not a biography, it does tell the story of Zappos and gives tremendous insight into how they have built a very vibrant culture and loyal fan base. I would strongly recommend this book as I think it definitely “encourages and inspires the American entrepreneurial spirit” which is what your original question asked.

Walt Hardenstine Guest Contributor Answered on September 30, 2015.
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“The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker

This is one of the three books that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had his senior managers read for a series of all-day book clubs. Drucker helped popularize now commonplace ideas about management. For example, that managers and employees should work toward a common set of goals.

“The Effective Executive” explores the time-management and decision-making habits that best equip an executive to be productive and valuable in an organization.

“The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen

Bezos also had his executives read “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” one of the all-time most influential business books and a top pick of several other founders and VCs, whose reviews are below.

Steve Blank, a former serial entrepreneur who now teaches at U.C. Berkeley and other schools, says of the book: “Why do large companies seem and act like dinosaurs? Christensen finally was able to diagnose why and propose solutions. Entrepreneurs should read these books as ‘how to books‘ to beat large companies in their own markets.”

These two books can influence many startup entrepreneurs and job seekers to get high paying entry level jobs

sachinreddy Guest Contributor Answered on December 1, 2017.
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