As your journey begins as an entrepreneur, you quickly realize you are not just committing to your business but also to a unique learning process. To further our knowledge, we as entrepreneurs must have an active reading list, as books are one of the most valuable resources available to us.

However, the challenge is finding the right reading material. You need to find something that will not only resonate with you but inspire you to aim higher and guide you through the process.

For me, I have always been an avid reader. However, I have noticed a shift in my reading needs, focusing on books that cover business development, time management, best business practices and self-development topics. Majority of the time, my reading choices are through suggestions and referrals from fellow entrepreneurs, advisors, and mentors.

To help you out, we asked top entrepreneurs who we have interviewed on DCN, “what books would you recommend to the DCN community?”

From business best practices to self-development, here are ten must-reads for our fellow cannabis entrepreneurs: 

1: The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers By Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies.

2. Killing It: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart By Sheryl O’Loughlin

The former CEO of Clif Bar, Co-founder of Plum, and serial entrepreneur offers insights about launching and growing a business while maintaining a fulfilled life in this practical guide filled with hard-won advice culled from the author’s own sometimes dark, raw experiences. With a foreword by Steve Blank.

Aspiring entrepreneurs are told that to launch a business, you must go all in, devoting every resource and moment to making it work. But following this advice comes at an enormous personal cost: divorce, addiction, even suicide. It means sacrificing the intangibles that make life worth living.

3. The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

Pamela Epstein, Founder of Green Wise Consulting LLC., ” The Alchemist by Paulo Coeho it is one of those books you can read and re-read and can impart a different lesson depending on what is happening in your life but the bottom line it rinds you this is YOUR path so own it and enjoy it.”

4. The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup By Noam Wasserman

The Founder’s Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team. Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman reveals the common pitfalls founders face and how to avoid them.

He looks at whether it is a good idea to cofound with friends or relatives, how and when to split the equity within the founding team, and how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired. Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas.

Steve Mackey, CEO of Lodestone Data, ” I would recommend “The Founder’s Dilemmas” by Noam Wasserman. If only I had read this a year ago!”

5. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future By Peter Thiel

In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Ryan Porter, CEO of Grassworks Digital, “I’d recommend Zero to One by Peter Thiel. It talks about promoting change, and how the idea of going from zero to one — from nothing to something — is so astronomical. A great example would be Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, which sounds like science fiction until you realize teams of talented people are working on building functional examples.

A lot of the exciting things happening in the cannabis industry are zero to one-type concepts, in that entrepreneurs are doing something which hasn’t been done before. That makes it easy for some people to accept hearing no, or accept the idea that something can’t be done, but that just means more opportunities for the rest of us.”

6. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants By Malcolm Gladwell 

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since, the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won. Or should he? In DAVID AND GOLIATH, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, suffer from a disability, lose a parent, attend a mediocre school, or endure any number of other apparent setbacks.

7. The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness By Steve DeAngelo

The Cannabis Manifesto is both a call to action and a radical vision of humans’ relationship with this healing but a controversial plant. Steve DeAngelo, the founder of Harborside Health Center, the world’s largest medical cannabis dispensary, presents a compelling case for cannabis as a wellness catalyst that must be legalized. His view that there is no such thing as recreational cannabis use challenges readers to rethink everything they thought they knew about marijuana.

The Cannabis Manifesto answers essential questions about the plant, using extensive research to fuel a thoughtful discussion about cannabis science and law, as well as its biological, mental, and spiritual effects on human beings. With a cultural critic’s eye peering through the lens of social justice, DeAngelo explains how cannabis prohibition has warped our most precious institutions—from the family to the workplace, to the doctor’s office and the courtroom.

8. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles By Steven Pressfield

Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.

9.  Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers By Tim Ferriss

From the author:
“For the last two years, I’ve interviewed more than 200 world-class performers for my podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests range from super celebs and athletes to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists. This book contains the distilled tools, tactics, and ‘inside baseball’ you won’t find anywhere else. It also includes new tips from past guests and life lessons from new ‘guests’ you haven’t met.”

David Hedrick, CEO of Surf & Terps Canna Cafe, “Tim Ferris is one of my favorite authors and Tools of the Titans is one of my favorite books for business or entrepreneurship.”

10. Thinking, Fast and Slow By Daniel Kahneman

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

I would like to end on this note, try to read books that go beyond business and entrepreneurship. Why not read a novel that might inspire you to travel, like The Alchemist. When you read about different people, places, and principles, your world will expand. Remember, inspiration can come in unexpected ways and from unexpected sources. You never know, one of these books could change your life. Several have already changed mine.

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