7 Best Books About Business Failure That Teach You the Value of Success (With Goodreads reviews)

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Should you read books about business failure? Oh, absolutely yes! If you want to be realistic about business success, then books about business failure must adorn your bookshelf! But before I reveal my top picks, here are some fascinating facts about “failure in business!”

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of employment-oriented service LinkedIn, and an active investor in top global companies such as Airbnb and PayPal, tasted failure initially. He developed a social networking and online dating site called the SocialNet. and yes, it eventually failed.

Evan Williams created Odeo, a podcasting platform, before co-founding the popular microblogging and social networking service, Twitter. Shortly after Evan formed Odeo, Apple launched the iTunes store’s podcast section, which led to the closure of Odeo.

Kathryn Minshew lost her entire savings that she had invested in PYP Media because of a disagreement between the co-founders of the company. Later in 2011, Katherine and members of her former team founded The Muse, one of today’s leading online career platforms.

From bankruptcy to imprisonment and termination of employment, some of the biggest names in global business have faced serious setbacks.  But they had one thing in common – the “never say die attitude”. They learned how to turn their business failures into great success stories.

Why Aspiring Entrepreneurs & Bloggers Need to Read Books About Business Failure?

A 2003 study, in the Academy of Management Review, revealed that aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from business failures only if they understand the consequences of decisions, assessments, inactions or actions that caused past failures. This learning is only beneficial if they realize how to use this knowledge to successfully run their next enterprise. And it can only happen when aspiring entrepreneurs read books about business failures that teach the value of success.

Here I am going to share a list of 7 books which offer a great scope to analyse and review failures to leverage favourable outcomes in business.

What Are The 7 Best Books About Business Failure That Teach You the Value of Success?

Failing to Succeed: The Story of India’s First E-Commerce Company- by K. Vaitheeswaran

At a time when almost no one in India engaged in online transactions, K. Vaiteswaran, in 1999, co-founded Indiaplaza, i.e., India’s first e-commerce portal. Years later, when the e-commerce sector in India boomed, Indiaplaza was shut down despite being a pioneer in this field.

Vaiteswaran’s book, “Failing to Succeed”, goes deep down into the darker side of launching a start-up business, and the innumerable pitfalls that Indian entrepreneurs have to overcome. The book is full of derisive observations, fascinating anecdotes, and some stunning customer insights,. And of course you wouldn’t like to miss those behind-the-scenes happenings in the start-up ecosystem! “Failing to Succeed” unravels the problems that technology start-ups in India face.


buy failing to succeed

This is one of the must-read books about business failure for industry professionals, investors, business school graduates, aspiring entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in India’s fast-growing start-up environment.

A compelling narrative, “Failure to succeed” is all about the search for ways to progress and achieve success, despite repeated setbacks.

Goodreads Review:

Jul 21, 2017 Surabhi Sharma rated it ***** it was amazing

Shelves: 5-star, from-authors-publishers
Failing to Succeed is not a guide book to succeed, it gives an insight into the entrepreneurship and startup. IndiaPlaza/Fabmart came into existence in 1999 as an online retailer when there was hardly any competition in online retail to give them a fight.

K. Vaitheeswaran tells the tale of the rise and fall of IndiaPlaza, India’s first e-commerce company lasted for 14 years. He discloses that an inexplicable set of events that destroyed what could have been a profitable business. He stumbled not only once but many times and trials and tribulations gave him a hard time dealing with business failures and pitfalls. An entrepreneur he was always remained hopeful and stayed till last.

If you are planning to launch a new venture or dream to become an entrepreneur or working in a start-up or a non-fiction or biography reader or a reader looking for a good book or a student. This book is for you.

Fail More: Embrace, Learn, and Adapt to Failure As a Way to Success – by Bill Wooditch

“Fail More” is a one-of-a-kind book that suggests its readers to learn from their mistakes. According to author Bill Wooditch, learning from mistakes is the only way to ensure that the same mistake is not repeated.

A guide for entrepreneurs and business professionals, the book offers knowledge, and the necessary tools to craft success by embracing every failure, be it large or small.

Fail more one of the must read books about business failure

“Fail More” inspires budding entrepreneurs and offers them strategic actions to convert failures into rewarding gains. Wooditch’s book unveils both inevitable and likely setbacks and also gives readers practical approaches to quick self-judgment.

Freedom to Fail: Lessons from my Quest for Startup Success – by Shabnam Aggarwal

Shabnam Aggarwal, brought up in an Indian immigrant family, moved to India to start her own business. She quit her cushy, high-paying job at Merrill Lynch to chase her passion of bringing a change in the world.

But things didn’t work out as expected. In her book, “Freedom to Fail”, Shabnam narrates her story of recruiting a team of hardworking millennials, raising the initial round of venture capital, and expanding her business to many cities. However her success  turned out to be a short-lived one as everything ended with a bitter failure.

read freedom to fail

The book “Freedom to Fail” delivered powerful lessons to cope with fear and insecurity. It is one of the most engaging books about business failure that tells readers why it is important to fail to succeed in the long run.

Shabnam’s personal experience in “Freedom to Fail” gives aspiring entrepreneurs an insight into how to deal with setbacks, helping them master the art of converting business failures into mega success.

Goodreads review

Jul 12, 2019 Rashid rated it ****: really liked it
If you are depressed from your Current failure (start-up, business, job) – this one is for you

It’s not a business book nor a fictional novel, instead of a mix of both, I loved the way Shabnam put her entire story – she got an amazing style of expressing things. Going through the book was more like I was in her shows and living the moment, there were instances which made me laugh (there were two instances when someone asked her what she to wear) the way she expressed it …I was laughing (One Beat…..Two beats).

Hope to see more books from her. We just get to know more about her continuous struggle, trying to figure out what needs to be done to sustain – ultimately meeting her failure in the end (by closing her only start-up). The book also talks about seed capital, fundraising, pitch deck, product-market fit, go-to-market plan, business plan, where to find investors, bridge round, EBITDA, Business model calculation – but no were in-depth details about the concept.


The Successful Mistake: How 163 of The World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Transform Failure Into Success – by Matthew Turner

In “The Successful Mistake”, author Matthew Turner has surveyed 163 global business leaders to suggest realistic ways that can help readers quickly and strongly come back from a failure. The book reveals approaches of  some top business personalities whom Turner interviewed personally.

The book features inspiring stories about the world’s celebrated entrepreneurs and business thought leaders. One of them is Rachel Elnaugh, the founder of the UK’s leading gift company, Red Letter Days. Another inspiring personality whom Turner interviewed is the leading visionary and pioneer in online marketing, Mitch Joel. The book also features Chris Brogan, the New York Times bestselling author.

All of them have transformed their greatest mistakes into legacies that still thrive.

the successful mistake one of the good books to read about business failure

One of the most insightful books about business failure, “The Successful Mistake”, reveals a “Seven-Stage Process” for bouncing back from mistakes and failures. 

Matthew Turner’s book aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs identify and rectify mistakes in the early stages.

Goodreads review:

Mar 01, 2017 Shana Rhinhart rated it ***** it was amazing

It is not often that I read a book where I learn something valuable on every page. Matthew explains in down to earth terms the rise and fall path of mistakes and what type of mind set you need to turn them into fantastic learning experiences that make you a better person. He interviewed over 163 Entreprenuers who had risen in their fields and made some colossal errors and how they overcame the fall out to rise even higher. They describe in detail what it took mentally and emotionally to overcome and transform their inner landscape via understanding their failures.

I thought this would be a quick read but I was wrong. I took me almost two weeks to read it. It took so long because I needed to digest what I was reading and then self reflect. Matthew does not suggest I do this, I took it upon myself and I am grateful I did it.

The benefits are amazing. I now look at employment, employers and what to look for as a company expands in totally different ways. I don’t want to give you any more spoilers than that. I was so impressed that I joined his facebook group and talk with him weekly! I am seriously impressed and have made a life long friend in the process!



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