Original question from Quora:

What books should entrepreneurs read?

This is a follow-up question to What are the best websites for entrepreneurs?

My Answer:

There is one book that every entrepreneur should be required to read and it contains some of the most valuable lessons on business you will ever learn. It also gets you started down the path of perhaps the most valuable skill that any entrepreneur could have.

The book is written by the man who wrote a letter that was mailed repeatedly for decades, something like over a half a billion times. That letter is the most mailed piece of direct mail of all time and it was so profitable that he sold his company for millions and millions of dollars.

He then went on to write more letters and ads that sold millions and millions of dollars worth of products. He was likely the greatest copywriter in the world and perhaps of all time.

In the book you learn incredible secrets about how to take care of yourself, how to take care of your customers, how to write advertising that makes money, how to pick the right product to sell, how to sell the product you’ve decided on, how to not get screwed over in business, how to protect yourself, how to get in shape, and what life is like in prison.

It’s a fascinating read by a fascinating man and of all the books I’ve read on business, this is the one that sent me in the most exciting direction. It explained so much of what I’ve done that worked well and so much of what I needed to do.

The book itself is not an endpoint, but rather a jumping off point on how you can give yourself the best odds of success in business.

Truly, this is a book no entrepreneur should be without…

It is The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert.

Gary wrote the book as a series of letters to his son Bond Halbert (who is now a world-class copywriter himself), while he was in the Boron Federal minimum security prison in California.

Oddly, I found myself driving past the now-defunct Boron Federal Prison on a trip to California and it is not a place I’d like to be.

Yet, we are all blessed because out of that experience the greatest advertising copywriter in the world decided to share intimate knowledge of his craft with the world. For less than $25 you can buy the book on Amazon and learn more things that will make you money than spending $50,000 on a college business education will ever teach you.

Oh and one more thing, you don’t even have to spend the money to buy it on Amazon if you are a cheapskate.

You can read the whole thing on Gary Halbert’s website for FREE!

So there is no reason for anybody starting a business not to read The Boron Letters.

However, let me caution you on one thing. If you want to read the free version, print it out and read it on paper (or just buy the book on Amazon and save yourself the hassle).

The reason you need to read the hard copy is it will hit you differently. I read it the first time on the computer and it didn’t strike me the same way as the printed page did.

I don’t know why. Go figure.

But you need to read the book cover to cover if you are going to start a business. If you pay attention I promise you won’t start the same business in the same way.

On the other side of The Boron Letters is a small glimpse of the world that Gary Halbert saw, and it’s a remarkable look into so many things we take completely for granted when we look at successful businesses.

If you want your business to make you money, The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert is the book to read, reread, memorize, listen to, and read again.

-Brian

P.S. I unpack more ideas in Creative Genius.