What books would you consider absolutely essential reading material for entrepreneurs?
The Sales Acceleration Formula
1. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul co-founder) and Janet Switzer. The best thing I've ever seen on personal improvement.
2. At least one book on how to think strategically about the interaction of business and the environment (and how to turn a good profit while helping the earth and its citizens). Some of my favorites include Natural Capitalism (Amorey Lovins, Hunter Lovins, and Paul Hawken), Cradle to Cradle (William McDonough and Michael Braungart), and my own Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World (co-authored with Guerrilla Marketing founder Jay Conrad Levinson and endorsed by Seth Godin and Jack Canfield, among many others). Also check out TED talks by Janine Benyus and Amory Lovins.
3. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C.K. Prahalad AND Buisness Solution to Poverty by Paul Polak and Mal Warwich--two books that demonstrate how business can make a great profit serving the most needy: really cool stuff like solar-powered LED lanterns that remove a fire hazard, remove toxics exposure, provide direct and indirect economic benefits to their customers, and make a very nice profit.
4. The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey. Maybe the best thing ever written on business ethics as a success strategy.
Platfrom Revolution (make sure you have a platform and know what one is)
Venture Deals (when you are approaching investment)
The Founder's Dilemmas (more relevant than Slicing Pie from a founders POV)
Competing Against Luck (great stuff)
...and my latest fav: The Science of Growth.
Great recommendations, @Gray.
Now, if I could just find the time to read books, doing about 30 engineers' job, plus the corporate side, as a solo founder...
Here is my secret -- Audio Books.
Listen when driving, on the metro, traveling in general.
With my old 45 minutes subway commute I would consume 1-2 books a week -- easily.