Top 25 books for Faith Driven Entrepreneurs

 

Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” We think the same is true of entrepreneurs. If you want to be good at what you do, it helps to take a cue from the best. Here, we’ve collected a short list of books written for entrepreneurs, business leaders, creatives, innovators, and employees in any sector.

On this list you’ll find books written by leaders for leaders. You’ll learn why what you do at work matters. And you’ll hear story after story of success, failure, and everything in between. We hope this list enlightens you, challenges you, and helps you along your entrepreneurial journey.

Know of any we missed? Let us know what books deserve a spot on this list.


#1 Rule of life

by Praxis Labs

Before beginning any venture, leaders must ask certain questions: What are my motives for leadership and entrepreneurship? How do I understand my identity, vision, and mission? What is the source of my creativity and what shapes my imagination? How do I internalize the pursuit of power, prestige, and wealth?

To this end, our good friends at Praxis Labs offers A Rule of Life for Redemptive Entrepreneurs as a set of shared practices for the Praxis community, and for anyone interested in faithfully pursuing a vocation as an entrepreneur, innovator, or creator.

We thought so highly of this content that we invited Andy Crouch to talk about this book and why it matters on his podcast with FDE.

 

#2 every good endeavor

by Tim Keller

With deep conviction and often surprising advice, Keller shows readers that biblical wisdom is immensely relevant to our questions about work today. In fact, the Christian view of work—that we work to serve others, not ourselves—can provide the foundation of a thriving professional and balanced personal life. Keller shows how excellence, integrity, discipline, creativity, and passion in the workplace can help others and even be considered acts of worship—not just of self-interest.

If you’ve been around our podcast, you know that we have the utmost respect for Tim and his wisdom in this conversation. You can hear Tim Keller talk about faith, work, and identity in his podcast with FDE.

 

#3 My, myself, and bob: a true story about dreams, god, and talking vegetables

by Phil Vischer

This is a story of dreaming big and working hard, of spectacular success and breathtaking failure, of shouted questions, and, at long last, whispered answers. With trademark wit and heart, Phil Vischer shares how God can use the death of a dream to point us toward true success.

Phil has delivered what has come to be known as one of our most popular podcasts. Hear Phil Vischer share the emotional side of his entrepreneurial journey on his podcast with FDE.

 

#4 work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work

by Tom Nelson

Work. For some this word represents drudgery and the mundane. For others work is an idol to be served. In either case, a biblical understanding of work as godly activity and a means of spiritual formation is lost. 

Striking a balance between theological depth and practical counsel, Work Matters engages the theological basis of God’s plan for everyday work. Tom Nelson explains how the fall has impacted vocation, how God’s redemption touches every sphere of our lives including our work, and how what we do now is connected to what we will do forever. As Nelson connects Sunday worship to Monday morning, he gives readers practical tools for understanding their own gifts, so that they may better live in accord with God’s design for work.

You can hear more from our good friend Tom Nelson on his podcast episode with FDE (to be released July 16).

 

#5 called to Create

by Jordan Raynor

In this energizing book, serial entrepreneur and bestselling author Jordan Raynor helps artists, entrepreneurs, writers, and other creatives reimagine our work as service to God and others.

Raynor shares compelling stories from an eclectic group of 40+ Christian entrepreneurs, including the founders of TOMS Shoes, Charity: Water, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, Guinness, HTC, and Sevenly, as well as nontraditional entrepreneurs such as C. S. Lewis, Johann Sebastian Bach, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Raynor's "show" rather than "tell," story-driven style makes you feel as if you are sitting at the feet of some of the godliest and most successful entrepreneurs of all time.

Perfectly poised to reach today's growing creative class, this unique work restores God's position as the first entrepreneur, helping readers see the eternal value in the work they do today.

 

#6 mission Drift: The unspoken crisis facing leaders, charities, and churches

by Peter Greer and Chris Horst

Slowly, silently, and with little fanfare, organizations routinely drift from their purpose, and many never return to their original intent. Harvard and the YMCA are among those that no longer embrace the Christian principles on which they were founded. But they didn't drift off course overnight. Drift often happens in small and subtle ways. Left unchecked, it eventually becomes significant. 

Why do so many organizations--including churches--wander from their mission, while others remain Mission True? Can drift be prevented? In Mission Drift, HOPE International executives Peter Greer and Chris Horst tackle these questions. They show how to determine whether your organization is in danger of drift, and they share the results of their research into Mission True and Mission Untrue organizations. You'll discover what you can do to prevent drift or get back on track and how to protect what matters most.

We invited our good friend Peter Greer on our podcast to share more about this topic. Listen to his podcast with FDE here.

 

#7 the Tech Wise Family

by Andy Crouch

Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It's about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology's promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world's knowledge at our fingertips. And it's definitely not just about the kids.

Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology's distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.

As entrepreneurs, we’re all somewhat terrified by what technology might be doing to us and our families. If you’re interested in this topic and how it relates to you, listen to Andy Crouch talk more about it on his podcast with FDE.

 

#8 entreLeadership

by Dave Ramsey

EntreLeadership is Dave Ramsey’s championship playbook with step-by-step guidance to take your business where you want it to go.

Dave has grown his company to a winning national brand with more than 800 team members who have impacted millions of lives. EntreLeadership is how he did it, mistakes and all. This is 20 years of real-world experience with all the sweat, tears and prayers. This is how his company has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Nashville seven times. It’s proven. It’s practical. And it’s how you can do it too.

Whether you lead a team of two or 200, you can grow your business to where you want it to be. Reaching your dream is no longer a question of "What if we could?" You can. EntreLeadership is how.

 

#9 the Redemptive NonProfit

by Praxis Labs

In the century since its invention, the nonprofit organization structure has powered immense social good, by enabling countless entrepreneurial leaders to address problems not adequately served by the market. But when it comes to delivering that social good today, many nonprofits fall short of the durable impact they hope to deliver. Our friends at Praxis proposes that there is a higher horizon of opportunity for the redemptive nonprofit—one that seeks the renewal of the larger society as well as all the stakeholders involved in the work.

They hope to inspire a new generation of leaders to go beyond the baseline of ethics and excellence that should characterize any organization (whether or not it receives a tax exemption)—to building nonprofits that embody the radical hope of the Christian gospel and its power to transform persons, communities, and the course of history.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have Jena Nardella on our podcast, so stay tune to hear more from her!

 

#10 The ideal Team Player

by Patrick Lencioni

In The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader desperate to save his uncle’s company by restoring its cultural commitment to teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues. 

Beyond the fable, Lencioni presents a practical framework and actionable tools for identifying, hiring, and developing ideal team players.  Whether you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork, a staffing professional looking to hire real team players, or a team player wanting to improve yourself, this book will prove to be as useful as it is compelling.

In all our interviews with entrepreneurs this is the top book people point to when it comes to building a team and beginning to set culture. See why in this video series.

 

#11 practicing the Kings Economy

by Michael Rhodes and Robby Holt

The church in the West is rediscovering the fact that God cares deeply for the poor. More and more, churches and individual Christians are looking for ways to practice economic discipleship, but it's hard to make progress when we are blind to our own entanglement in our culture's idolatrous economic beliefs and practices. 

Practicing the King's Economy cuts through much confusion and invites Christians to take their place within the biblical story of the "King Jesus Economy." Through eye-opening true stories of economic discipleship in action, and with a solid exploration of six key biblical themes, the authors offer practical ways for God's people to earn, invest, spend, compensate, save, share, and give in ways that embody God's love and provision for the world.

Our partners at Made To Flourish have written about how the ideas presented in this book, specifically that of gleaning, are challenging and stretching concepts. Read more here.

 

#12 strong and Weak

by Andy Crouch

Flourishing people are strong and weak. Two common temptations lure us away from abundant living—withdrawing into safety or grasping for power. True flourishing, says Andy Crouch, travels down an unexpected path—being both strong and weak.

We see this unlikely mixture in the best leaders—people who use their authority for the benefit of others, while also showing extraordinary willingness to face and embrace suffering. We see it in Jesus, who wielded tremendous power yet also exposed himself to hunger, ridicule, torture and death. Rather than being opposites, strength and weakness are actually meant to be combined in every human life and community. Only when they come together do we find the flourishing for which we were made.

With the characteristic insight, memorable stories and hopeful realism he is known for, Andy Crouch shows us how to walk this path so that the image of God can shine through us. Not just for our own good, but for the sake of others. 

As entrepreneurs and business leaders, how do we avoid abusing our power? This is one of many topics Andy Crouch addressed on his podcast with FDE.

 

#13 treasure Principle

by Randy Alcorn

Jesus spent more time talking about money and possessions than about heaven and hell combined. But too often we’ve overlooked or misunderstood his most profound teaching on this topic, from his words in Matthew 6. Jesus offers us life-changing investment advice. He actually wants us to store up treasures for ourselves—just not here on earth. Instead, he urges us to store our treasure in heaven, where they will await us, and last forever. We can’t take it with us—but we can send it on ahead!

With this compact classic, you can read about and understand God’s view on stewardship during a short plan flight. In The Treasure Principle, you’ll unearth a radical teaching of Jesus—a secret wrapped up in giving. Once you discover this secret, life will never look the same. And you won’t want it to be.

Why does this matter? Because entrepreneurs need to recognize the value of surrendering it all to God. You can also check out this video series from RightNow Media to accompany the book.

 

#14 work pray love

by Diane Paddison

The number of Christian women in today's professional workforce is increasing, and they are hungry for practical mentoring. They yearn to learn from someone who has climbed the ladder of success without sacrificing family or faith—something author Diane Paddison has done with excellence and grace.

This is a working book for working women.

Full of practical, proven guidance that is both professionally viable and biblically sound, each chapter includes sidebars featuring pertinent facts from current research, resources relevant to the chapter's topic, action-oriented 'to do' lists, and other interactive material.

Work, Love, Pray is a valuable resource for professional Christian women, but it's also a must-read for the husbands, sisters, daughters, and friends who share their lives.

 

#15 rooting For Rivals

by Peter Greer and Chris Horst

Christian organizations have come to be known mostly for what they're against. And all too often, that includes being against each other. But amid growing distrust of religious institutions, Christ-centered nonprofits have a unique opportunity to link arms and collectively pursue a calling higher than any one organization's agenda.

Rooting for Rivals reveals how your ministry can multiply its impact by cooperating rather than competing with others, modeling Christlike love and generosity in the process. Peter Greer and Chris Horst explore case studies illustrating the power of collaborative ministry. Writing with vulnerability, they also share their own failures and successes in moving toward a kingdom mindset.

In Rooting for Rivals you'll discover the key to revitalizing your ministry and making an enduring difference in the world.

You can also hear Peter Greer talk about this book on his podcast with FDE.

 
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#16 designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home–at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve.

In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

 

#17 love and Respect

by Emerson Eggerichs

New York Times bestseller Love & Respect has sold over 1.6 million copies! Love & Respect reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, easily and biblically.

Touted by leaders as a “classic” among marriage books, this book also reveals insightful wisdom about what it looks like to have respect in the workplace.

A Faith Driven Entrepreneur understands the importance of family and having a healthy balance between work and life. That’s why we think this book matters for you. Also, check out this accompanying video series by RightNow Media.

 

#18 dare to Serve

by Cheryl Bachelder

Cheryl Bachelder joined an ailing restaurant chain and turned it into the darling of the industry—by daring to serve the people in her organization well. In Dare to Serve, former Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder shows that leading by serving is a rigorous and tough-minded approach that yields the best results.

When she was named CEO of Popeyes in 2007, the stock price had slipped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, the team was discouraged, and the franchisees were just plain angry. Nine years later, restaurant sales were up 45 percent, restaurant profits had doubled, and the stock price was over $61. Servant leadership is sometimes derided as soft or ineffective, but this book confirms that challenging people to reach a daring destination, while treating them with dignity, creates the conditions for superior performance.

Watch Cheryl Bachelder’s story in our Top 100 Videos for Faith Driven Entrepreneurs.

 

#19 the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership fable

by Patrick Lencioni

Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech's CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: Uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? Lencioni's utterly gripping tale serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight.

Throughout the story, Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. Just as with his other books, Lencioni has written a compelling fable with a powerful yet deceptively simple message for all those who strive to be exceptional team leaders.

Check out the video series from RightNow Media that accompanies the book.

 

#20 your Work Matters to God

by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks

One of the definining books that has impacted a lot of people involved in the faith and work conversation, Your Work Matters to God is one of the forefathers of the faith-driven entrepreneur movement.

Your Work Matters to God demonstrates just how important secular work is to God. Whether you are a man or woman, once you realize how many different ways there are to influence your coworkers for Christ without preaching a word, you'll be challenged to develop a lifestyle so striking and true, the people you work with will be eager to let you talk about what makes you different.

 

#21 work as Worship

by Mark Russell

The time has come for us to see a purpose for business that goes beyond money and that has a vision for this economy that goes even beyond this earth. Built around twelve themes: calling, leadership, character, success, money, stewardship, balance, disciplines, relationships, pluralism, ethics and giving, Work as Worship opens our collective eyes to the spiritual nature and mission of our daily work. Written by respected business leaders from well-known brands (Hobby Lobby, Interstate Batteries, PepsiCo, TOMS Shoes, etc.), Work as Worship creates a space for ongoing community and conversation on these important issues.

 

#22 when Helping Hurts

by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

With more than 225,000 copies sold, When Helping Hurts is a paradigm-forming contemporary classic on the subject of poverty alleviation and ministry to those in need. Emphasizing the poverty of both heart and society, this book exposes the need that every person has and how it can be filled. The reader is brought to understand that poverty is much more than simply a lack of financial or material resources and that it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve the problem of poverty.

While this book exposes past and current development efforts that churches have engaged in which unintentionally undermine the people they're trying to help, its central point is to provide proven strategies that challenge Christians to help the poor empower themselves. Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts catalyzes the idea that sustainable change for people living in poverty comes not from the outside-in, but from the inside-out.

 

#23 the Gospel at WorK: How Working for king jesus gives purpose and meaning to our jobs

by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert

Many Christians fall victim to one of two main problems when it comes to work: either they are idle in their work, or they have made an idol of it. Both of these mindsets are deadly misunderstandings of how God intends for us to think about our employment.

In The Gospel at Work, Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert unpack the powerful ways in which the gospel can transform how we do what we do, releasing us from the cultural pressures of both an all-consuming devotion and a punch-in, punch-out mentality—in order to find the freedom of a work ethic rooted in serving Christ.

Solidly grounded in the gospel, The Gospel at Work confronts both our idleness at work and our idolatry of work with a challenge of its own—to remember that whom we work for is infinitely more important than what we do.

 

#24 garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human

by John Mark Comer

You’ve heard people say “Who you are matters more than what you do”. Does the Bible really teach that? 

In Garden City, popular pastor and speaker John Mark Comer gives a fresh take on our calling and our purpose, with a surprisingly counter-culture take. Through his creative and conversational style, Comer takes a good look at Genesis and the story of a man, a woman, and a garden. He unpacks God’s creation and his original intent for how we are meant to spend our time. Here, you’ll find answers to questions like “Does God care where I work?”  “What about what I do with my free time or how much rest I get?” “Does he have a clear direction for me?”

Practical and theologically rich, Garden City speaks to twenty and thirty-somethings who are figuring out next steps and direction in their lives. Garden City is the Purpose Driven Life for the next generation—the book that helps us answer why we are here and what should we do about it.

 

#25 gospel Patrons: People Whose Generosity Changed the World

by John Rinehart

Behind great movements of God stand a few generous men and women called Gospel Patrons. This book tells three stories from history about business leaders who were behind the scenes fueling amazing works of God.

Gospel Patrons is an invitation to believe that God is not done writing history and he’s prepared a part for you to play. It’s a call to engage. It’s a challenge to give your life to what matters most.

The Biblical message of generosity can transform any Christ follower's life, of course, including an entrepreneur's. Gospel Patrons is a great overview of how successful business people, especially entrepreneurs, have been the patrons behind some of the most impactful Gospel movements in history.


OTHERS WE RECOMMEND

Obviously, we were never going to be able to limit ourselves to just 25 books, so here’s a few more. These come recommended by our friends at LeTourneau University, Praxis, Denver Institute for Faith & Works, and many others. Happy reading!