Book Reviews

[Review] 4 Must-Read Entrepreneurial Books

4 Must-Read Entrepreneurial Books

1. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose – Tony Hsieh

WOW. This is the most candid and informal business book I have ever read. It is stupendous from Tony left his $41000-per-year job at Oracle to he started his first company, LinkExchange, from LinkExchange was acquired by Microsoft to Tony left it because of feeling unmotivated, from Zappos’ combination of drop-shipping and selling inventory products to a well-establishment of warehousing system, from Zappos’ hardship in finance and warehouses to its profit of $1 billion for less than 10 years, from the company’s being funded by Sequoia to being acquired by Amazon and becoming an independent entity, from no culture at LinkExchange to 10 core values at Zappos, and so on. Tiki Vietnam also applies this business model (controlling its own warehouses and good customer service). It is exhilarating when he talks about business:

Never outsourcing your competitive advantage. For e-commerce, they are customer service and warehousing.

…customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be an entire company.

Others can copy our images, our shipping, and the overall look of our Website, but they cannot copy our people, our culture, or our service.

The WOW experience is extremely vital for today’s business as making customers satisfied and surprised at your service quality will result in profitability and sustainable development.

Not only did this book discussed business but it also gave stunning ideas about friendship, networking and personal effort, and even EDM music and raving culture. Tony detests networking events and reciprocity, which I agree because I find those kinds of events awkward and uncomfortable. When we want to build rapport with others, we have to be their friends first.

I have friends from all different walks of life. Some friends I enjoy hanging out with at bars. Some friends I enjoy watching movies with. Some friends I enjoy working with. Some friends I enjoy hiking with. And some friends I enjoy writing with…

To sum up, this book should be read by everyone because I believe that everybody can benefit something from it. For me, after finishing this book, I set up one goal for me every day:

1% improvement I can change to make myself better personally and professionally

2. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance

At first, the idea of reading a 380-page autobiography about a technology-savvy made me downhearted. However, eventually, I extremely relish this book that I cannot put it down.


  1. There is nothing wrong about being an introvert and enjoying reading books. You will find a lot of inspirations for your career. Don’t give up your childhood dream.
  2. Working hard is the only way that leads to success. I vividly remember that he has to take about 170 flights a year. Thanks for his hard work, he contributes tremendously to our modern world. Musk is the founder of SpaceX, co-founder of Zip 2, Paypal, Tesla, and SolarCity.
  3. Always seek to minimize monopoly in every industry. SpaceX helps the US government save a lot of money to launch satellites, instead of relying on Russian providers.

3. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason to follow your heart.

There are three milestones in Steve Jobs’ life that we have to know. One, neither Jobs nor Bill Gates finished their university degrees. Two, he was ousted from his company, Apple, because of his harsh management style. And three, he was diagnosed with cancer.

This is the longest English book I have read. I am impressed and surprised by his perfectionism, reality distortion, rebelliousness, creativity, impulsion, and charisma. It is stupendous when he talked about cannibalization:

If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will.

Thank Job for your Apple, Pixar as well as your products Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, which change our computer, music and content creation industry. Despite not being a fan of Apple, I appreciate all his innovative contributions that entirely transform the world we live.

4. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon – Brad Stone

I tend to avoid business books with fancy titles such as “Think and Grow Rich” or “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” because business cannot be all things to all people. I usually reach for books about specific organizations, and this book is the fourth one for this topic.

Amazon is a revolutionary business model which sells everything online and gradually replace normal brick-and-mortar stores. A lot of Amazon’s marketing strategies have been learned and applied by other e-commerce sites, especially for book retailers:

  • User-generated content (book review) is helpful for customers when making purchase decisions:

…we don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.

  • Affiliate marketing: advertise your site on other websites.
  • Similarities: create a group of people that have the same purchase history and suggest books for them.
  • Recommend books based on last purchase.
  • Customers can read book previews before purchasing.
  • Ship efficiently and offer precise delivery time.

This book also reveals Jeff’s being adopted, harsh management style and his reality distortion, just like Steve Jobs. However, his legacy cannot be done by ordinary people, just like a quote in Imitation Game, “Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do things that no one can imagine”.

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