The Top 5 Books every entrepreneur MUST read

Gary Vanbutsele
5 min readAug 2, 2022


Entrepreneurship is a very expensive school. Sometimes enrollment is free but the lessons that come later can be very expensive.

What I’ve learned from the school of entrepreneurship is that the more you’re open to learning, the less expensive the lessons are as you bypass them quicker.

In fact, the more you can learn from other people’s experiences, and actually, implement them, the quicker you’re likely to succeed. It’s, for this reason, I began reading AVIDLY a couple of years ago.

I had a wife I adore, a newborn baby, AND a newborn baby business, that I was struggling to juggle. If you’re an entrepreneur with a young family, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

I barely had time to breathe but I know if I didn’t make time to learn, things were likely to spiral more out of control.

So if you’ve been feeling like something needs to change but you’re not sure where to start, start with your mindset and these 5 books. I loved them so much, I got everyone on our team to read them.

  1. The Gap and The Gain by Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy
  2. The Power of Habit by Charles DuHigg
  3. Traction by Gino Wickman
  4. From Good to Great by Jim Collins
  5. The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander

AND for extra reading “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

What are the main lessons from each book?

1. The Gap and The Gain

I wrote a whole piece about this book in my last post and how we apply it at Whale, so I won’t go on too much but to say READ IT!

The basic philosophy behind the book goes a little something like this: focusing on lack, particularly how far you have to go, makes you unhappy.

💡Focusing on how much you’ve achieved and what’s been achieved by those around you, will change your life!

2. The Power of Habit

Yup, I wrote a post about this one too but TLDR — habits change your life, not willpower.

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed.

💡 Trying to get fit or scale your business? Focus on creating, and systemizing key (or cornerstone) habits to anchor your success.

3. Traction by Gino Wickman

Inside Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the Six Key Components™ of your business.

What I love about this book is that it’s practical! It takes the mystery out of entrepreneurship and breaks it down into 6 critical areas of business. It then goes on to show you how exactly to master those areas.

💡 Points to ponder

  • Enforcing Discipline and Accountability through the entire organization will lead to success.
  • Providing Excellence in Execution is crucial.
  • Create processes and have a scorecard to measure success.

Check out our team’s review of the book, here.

4. From Good to Great

The book describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition.

Great companies triumph over time and long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.

But what about a company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, and even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

💡Points to ponder

  • Greatness requires leadership
  • Greatness requires moving beyond competence and being good enough.
  • Greatness requires discipline — When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results.
  • Greatness requires the ability to launch radical change and restructuring when necessary.

5. The Art of Possibility

Similar to The Gap and the Gain, The Art of Possibility is a glimpse into how life and business can be different.

The dynamic product of an extraordinary partnership, The Art of Possibility combines Benjamin Zander’s experience as the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and his talent as a teacher and communicator with Rosamund Stone Zander’s genius for creating innovative programs for personal and professional fulfillment.

Through great stories and personal anecdotes, the Zanders invite you to become passionate communicators and leaders whose lives radiate possibility into the world.

💡Points to ponder

  • When we are faced with a problem, we create assumptions and scenarios within our mind. This can hold us back from taking the first step in the right direction of possibility.
  • Remove the limitations you set and open up to infinite solutions and possibilities.
  • When you lighten up, you release yourself from egoistic and self-limiting beliefs.
  • Life can often lead many of us to conform, put limitations upon ourselves and fit into a structured spiritless life. Allowing passion into the mix leads to joy and freedom.

And The Lean Startup

Most startups fail. We know this. We start businesses anyway.

But many failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach to running a startup.

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom.

What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

💡Points to ponder

  • Test Frequently and Learn Quickly
  • Observe and Measure Real Customer Behaviour
  • Focus Exclusively on Capturing Actionable Metrics

You may also enjoy our podcast Chaos to Clarity, designed to help entrepreneurs 10x their businesses and productivity in 10 minutes!



Gary Vanbutsele

Co-founder and CEO of Whale. Former founder of an IT services company where every day felt like putting out fires. Now obsessed with unlocking growth!