What can entrepreneurs read into the business success of Donald Trump et al?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the Palm Beach County GOP Lincoln Day D

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the Palm Beach County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner at the Mar-A-Lago Club, Sunday, March 20, 2016, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) - Credit: AP

Life can be strange at the best of times – and so it was the other day I found myself in my local library asking if they had any books by Donald Trump.

The librarian looked at me curiously, as if I had asked for something from the top shelf, before escorting me to the appropriate section.

But there was method in my madness. Not for me the politics of Trump; the rows about abortion, or the build-a-wall to kick out the Mexicans and stop the Muslims rhetoric. The Trump I was keen to find about was the businessman.

The book I was after is called the Art of the Deal, which I had heard about and was keen to read. However, the one available was Trump 101 The Way to Success – a distillation of his thoughts on business and how to succeed. It was a book produced by Trump University, which he had set up to distil his methods to wannabe apprentices. You probably get the picture.

But actually I found myself flipping through and nodding in agreement at some of his pearls of wisdom, which had the hallmarks of common sense. Just don't say it too loudly.


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Reading about him taps into a weakness of mine for business books.

It's probably me simply noticing these things thanks to Future50, but there seems to be a plethora of good books around about the subject of entrepreneurship and start-ups at the moment.

Below are a selection I have come across recently.

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Recent reads include the Lifestyle Entrepreneur by Cato Hoeben and Angela Neustatter. There are elements of living the dream in this book, and it is as much aimed at those who wish to work for themselves as much as create their own business.

I also enjoyed the $100 Start-Up by Chris Guillebeau, he has a website too with lots of resources including business plan templates to help fledgling businesses get off the ground. Like may of these authors, he is very active on social media too, but perhaps his most useful tip is that at some point you have to stop planning and take action. The book is also full of very useful case studies, largely US focused but also with some UK business examples. These are of what you would describe as everyday businesses – ie not the kinds you may read about in the financial pages, but certainly ventures that have been successful for their owners.

Entrepreneur Revolution by Daniel Priestley stresses the need to build value when building your business – or, in simple terms, don't just think about how you are going to make money, think about what you can do to best serve your customers. That, he argues, will help you build a better and more sustainable business.

Meanwhile, two business and finance journalists have also each written very informative books about starting up your own business.

Rachel Bridge's How to Start a Business Without any Money takes you through the process of starting up when money is tight and her experience of setting up a business selling 'Entrepreneur Mugs'.

Entrepreneur by Lucy Tobin profiles the stories behind a selection of online businesses such as Moonpig.com and Wonga to name a few. The second section distils this into tips on how to set up an online business.

A book I have heard and read about elsewhere, but not actually read, is the E Myth Revisited: Why Small Businesses Fail by Michael Gerber.

The gist of this book is that owners struggle because they fail to make the transition to taking a strategic view of running the business and default to the operational role they are used to. Again it's another US book – a lot of them are – which I need to add to the wish list once I've finished with Mr Trump.

What business books do you recommend and how have they helped you run your business? Email shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk.

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