15 Audiobooks with True Stories of Epic Entrepreneurial Success and Failure

The modern entrepreneur probably doesn’t have a lot of time to sit down and read a good book. That is why audiobooks are great, you can listen to them in the car, on a flight or even while walking or working out. Here is a list of 15 audiobooks, some popular and some obscure. All are not only entertaining listens but also have some important lessons to teach us about business successes and failures.

 

Losing the Signal by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff

Audible 11 hrs and 29 mins

This is a great story about BlackBerry that should remind us not to rest on our laurels, never underestimate your competition and always fight like the underdog.

Publisher’s Summary

Losing the Signal is a riveting story of a company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.

 

Wild Ride by Adam Lashinsky

Audible 7 hrs and 37 mins

Can a brilliant visionary entrepreneur be so unlikable that he is booted from the company he founded?

Publisher’s Summary

Uber is one of the most fascinating and controversial businesses in the world, both beloved for its elegant ride-hailing concept and heady growth and condemned for CEO Travis Kalanick’s ruthless pursuit of success at all cost. Despite the company’s significance to the on-demand economy and the mobile revolution and the battle for global dominance that Kalanick is waging against politicians and taxi companies all over the world, the full story behind Uber has never been told. It’s a story that start-up founders, executives of traditional businesses, tech-savvy listeners, and drivers and riders alike will find riveting.

 

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Audible 13 hrs and 23 mins

Publisher’s Summary

Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our age: Can the nation of inventors and creators who led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk – one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history – is a contemporary, visionary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists, including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.

 

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Audible 10 hrs and 2 mins

The Wright Brothers were not only brilliant innovators but also hardworking entrepreneurs, so how did they fail to significantly monetize their invention?

Publisher’s Summary

On December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville Wright’s Wright Flyer became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard. The Age of Flight had begun. How did they do it? And why? David McCullough tells the extraordinary and truly American story of the two brothers who changed the world.

 

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Audible 13 hrs and 21 mins

This is a story of how sheer passion, determination, and foolhardiness ultimately pay off bigtime.

Publisher’s Summary

In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

 

Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

Audible 16 hrs and 21 mins

Publisher’s Summary

Schlender and Tetzeli make clear that Jobs’ astounding success at Apple was far more complicated than simply picking the right products: he became more patient, he learned to trust his inner circle, and he discovered the importance of growing the company incrementally rather than only shooting for dazzling, game-changing products.

 

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble by Zac Bissonnette

Audible 8 hrs and 35 mins

Sometimes it’s not easy to tell if the sudden success of a business is due to a fad or has true staying power.

Publisher’s Summary

There has never been a craze like Beanie Babies. The $5 beanbag animals with names like Seaweed the Otter and Gigi the Poodle drove millions of Americans into a greed-fueled frenzy as they chased the rarest Beanie Babies, whose values escalated weekly in the late 1990s.

 

The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman

Audible 10 hrs and 27 mins

Publisher’s Summary

Fast Company senior editor Fishman, whose revelatory cover story on Wal-Mart generated the strongest reader response in the history of the magazine, takes us on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes investigative expedition deep inside the many worlds of Wal-Mart. Fishman penetrated the secrecy of Wal-Mart headquarters, interviewing 25 high-level ex-executives. He journeyed into the world of a host of Wal-Mart’s suppliers to uncover how the company strong-arms even the most established brands. And he journeyed to the ports and factories, the fields and forests where Wal-Mart’s power is warping the very structure of the world’s market for goods.

 

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Audible 10 hrs and 27 mins

Publisher’s Summary

Moneyball reveals a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can’t buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the giant offices of Major League teams and the dugouts. But the real jackpot is a cache of numbers collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, and physics professors.

 

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

Audible 17 hrs and 28 mins

Publisher’s Summary

In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.

 

Console Wars by Blake J. Harris

Audible 20 hrs and 41 mins

Publisher’s Summary

In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video-game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But all that would change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a former Mattel executive who knew nothing about video games and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat, and bold ideas of his renegade employees, completely transformed Sega and led to a ruthless, David-and-Goliath showdown with Nintendo. Little did he realize that Sega’s success would create many new enemies and, most important, make Nintendo stronger than ever.

 

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

Audible 13 hrs

Publisher’s Summary

The definitive story of Amazon.com, one of the most successful companies in the world, and of its driven, brilliant founder, Jeff Bezos. Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn’t content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that’s never been cracked. Until now.

 

I Invented the Modern Age by Richard Snow

Audible 12 hrs and 18 mins

Publisher’s Summary

The Rise of Henry Ford and the Most Important Car Ever Made. Every century or so, our republic has been remade by a new technology: 170 years ago the railroad changed Americans’ conception of space and time; in our era, the microprocessor revolutionized how humans communicate. But in the early 20th century the agent of creative destruction was the gasoline engine, as put to work by an unknown and relentlessly industrious young man named Henry Ford.

 

Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper

Audible 10 hrs and 49 mins

Publisher’s Summary

Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money. The notion of a new currency, maintained by the computers of users around the world, has been the butt of many jokes, but that has not stopped it from growing into a technology worth billions of dollars, supported by the hordes of followers who have come to view it as the most important new idea since the creation of the Internet. Believers from Beijing to Buenos Aires see the potential for a financial system free from banks and governments. More than just a tech industry fad, Bitcoin has threatened to decentralize some of society’s most basic institutions.

 

Dreaming in Code by Scott Rosenberg

Audible 12 hrs and 2 mins

Publisher’s Summary

Their story takes us through a maze of dead ends and exhilarating breakthroughs as they and their colleagues wrestle not only with the abstraction of code but with the unpredictability of human behavior, especially their own. Along the way, we encounter black holes, turtles, snakes, dragons, axe-sharpening, and yak-shaving – and take a guided tour through the theories and methods, both brilliant and misguided, that litter the history of software development, from the famous “mythical man-month” to Extreme Programming.

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