Influential South African Business and Entrepreneurship Books you Need to Read

Posted on September 4th, 2018
Business Skills & Planning

Only a few years back you would have been hard-pressed to find SA entrepreneurship and business books with a truly South African perspective. Fortunately those days are firmly behind us.

This year has been a particularly good one for local releases, everything from startup guides with advice for founders, to business biographies where entrepreneurs dig into the personal.  Here are our favourites so far.

Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat. – Nic Haralambous

Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat. The Truth Behind Building Businesses is the debut book by Nic Haralambous, an entrepreneur and founder of retailer, and more recently involved in launching cryptocurrency website

According to Haralambous, the book is a business autobiography about all the things that he learned throughout his time as an entrepreneur over the past 15 years, including his exit from his app startup Motribe to Mxit in 2012.

Bonus, the book comes with a complementary pair of socks if you buy it from the website.


Meeting Your Power – Returning Home To Yourself – DJ Zinhle and Nokubonga Mbanga

DJ and entrepreneur DJ Zinhle and business coach, Nokubonga Mbanga, together penned a book aimed at helping women become the best version of themselves. They do this by sharing the lessons they learnt on their life journeys.

In an excerpt from the book, DJ Zinhle writes:

“I am raising a girl and I want her to grow up knowing that she is good enough, that she will be everything she needs to be, whoever she wants to be, and that she will be amazing at it because greatness is already within her. I want her to know that achieving her dreams and reaching the highest levels of success in her life is entirely up to her. I do not know if I will be able to achieve these goals, but I will do my best.”


Vusi – Vusi Thembekwayo

Vusi is Vusi Thembekwayo’s second release. Unlike his first offering, The Magna Carta of Exponentiality, a leadership and management book, Vusi is a biography-cum-business manual.

Thembekwayo is a global speaker, founder of My Growth Fund and a Dragon.

“I was inspired by the opportunity to inspire others. There can be no greater gift than the opportunity to inspire others into seeing themselves differently,” Thembekwayo said in an interview with Books Live.

The book details his journey to the top of his game, becoming one of the youngest directors of a listed company and CEO of a boutique investment firm.


The Heavy Chef Guide to Starting a Business in South Africa – Fred Roed

Heavy Chef, the entrepreneurship community, and Xero this year  launched a book entitled The Heavy Chef Guide to Starting a Business in South Africa.

The book is the first of many of these guides and is written by Heavy Chef founder and CEO Fred Roed.

The book includes 160 pages of startup tips, packed full of lessons from Roed on starting and exiting a successful business, as well as input from ‘heavy chefs’ (entrepreneurs) that have spoken on the Heavy Chef events stage over the past decade.

Magnetiize – John Sanei

John Sanei is an entrepreneur, trend specialist, business strategist and global speaker. His first book Moonshot looked at futureproofing yourself and your business in the age of disruption.

In his follow up book, Magnetiize, he expands on these ideas, challenging business leaders, employees and individuals to become future-ready.

“The book is about this misconception that to be successful means to be busy. The misconception that ambition means you’re constantly busy. It’s broken. The book is called Magnetiize because once you bring about the life that you want to bring about to yourself, you have to know the ‘I’ behind the ‘I’,” Sanei shared in a GQ interview.


Win! Compelling Conversations with 20 Successful South Africans – Jeremy Maggs

The book profiles South Africa’s mavericks in their respective fields – including business, entrepreneurship, sport, politics, entertainment or philanthropy.

Each of the leaders provide their insights on strategic planning, business and change management, human resources development, and building a personal brand.

The book looks at different definitions of success – whether it be how one leader runs a multi-billion-dollar company; how another inspires masses of people to follow a trend, or how an idea can spark the innovation of a product.

Featured in the book are Ludwick Marishane, founder of Headboy Industries and South Africa’s youngest patent-filer after having invented DryBath at the age of 17 and Vinny Lingham, serial entrepreneur and investor, among others.