As an entrepreneur, you may find yourself constantly on the search for new inspiration and constructive direction in the books and articles you read about the startup industry. Luckily, there are thousands of different articles online and tons of books on Amazon explaining the many success stories, failed attempts and lessons learned from current and past entrepreneurs and startup founders. However, the key to actually attaining those new inspirations and constructive directions is in finding the right books to read.
To help speed up your search for the right books, I am listing down 10 of the greatest books to read that will give you the immediate value you’ve been looking for.
The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder
The Startup Playbook is the perfect read for aspiring entrepreneurs looking for insider information on the countless highs and lows of the startup industry. Author David Kidder interviews hundreds of startup founders, entrepreneurs, and CEOs from many different major household names, collecting the best intel on their key practices, behaviors and ideas. By shedding light on the minds of some of the most-successful American innovators of our time, Kidder compiles a perfect how-to list, simplistically answering the most-asked question: how they lead their multimillion dollar businesses to success.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
Recommended by major entrepreneurs, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, Zero to One is a staple read for those needing viable guidance and inspiration. Zero to One is based on the carefully curated notes from a 2012 Stanford Law student, Blake Masters, who was taking Peter Thiel’s course on startup success at the time. Theil, a successful investor and startup founder himself, thoroughly covers how to turn visions into successful enterprises through a series of unique thinkings and alternative perspectives while sharing his own success story.
Who by Geoff Smart & Randy Street
Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street is a New York Times Bestseller and multi-award-winning book based on solving what the Economist calls the “single biggest problem in business today”: unsuccessful hiring. Smart and Street’s solution is effortlessly practical, claiming the main mistake business owners tend to focus on is the “what.” The solution, they argue, is to address the “who” by finding the right people for your business and learning how to effectively motivate your team of the right people. Startup founder, Roger Marino, vouches for Who stating, “This book will save you and your company time and money. In business, what else is there?”
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Written by Chris Guillebeau, The $100 Startup, is a comprehensive read on entrepreneurs turning what they genuinely love to do into full-time jobs with competitive income. Guillebeau does so by analyzing 50 of the most-intriguing case studies examining entrepreneurs who started with little to nothing and ended with more than they could’ve ever predicted. Repeatedly stressing that you don’t need an massive amount of capital to start and run a successful startup, Guillebeau offers new perspectives on what you do need in order to start and run a successful startup: adventure, meaning and purpose.
Hooked by Nir Eyal
Hooked by Nir Eyal is a heavily engaging read for startup founders looking to create popular, habit-forming products. Author, Nir Eyal, answers the frequently asked question regarding why certain products flop while others grab wide-spread attention– leading to the development of this concise how-to-hook-your-audience guide. Hooked covers a series of interesting topics aimed at increasing habits that stick. One of the more fascinating subjects being how emotions drive and effect certain behaviors leading to repeat buying. Learn how to build a product people love, produce “hook cycles” and encourage repeat buying in Nir Eyal’s Hooked.
Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn
Founder and CEO, Pat Flynn, explores a number of different strategies used to launch a successful business in Will it Fly? Flynn argues, asking “Will It Fly” and “what if my idea fails” when debating a prospective business idea is common and potentially harmful for most entrepreneurs. Through the use of action-based examples, small-scale litmus tests and real world case studies, Flynn offers a step-by-step process to help assess if your idea will “fly” or not, before going all in. Will It Fly? is the perfect read for those debating startup ideas, entering a new market or considering launching a new product.
The Ideal Executive by Ichak Kalderon Adizes
The Ideal Executive takes a unique approach to assessing contemporary management writings by telling a story. Dr. Adizes goes into detail examining different aspects of leadership and management before making his major claim that the “ideal leader” is similar to a mythological unicorn. Unicorns are wonderful to think about, dream about and imagine, but unfortunately, they do not exist. Just as companies may be confident that they can hire, train and educate someone to be the perfect “ideal leader,” attaining that level of perfection is impossible. The “ideal leader,” just like the unicorn, doesn’t exist. This book is a must-read for all managers, executives and leaders in the startup industry.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is a detailed collection of stories from his career. Horowitz opens up about the many difficulties he faced while on his journey to becoming a successful technology entrepreneur. Thoroughly analyzing the many issues leaders face, Horowitz offers a distinctive insight into what you must do after you have screwed up rather than focusing on what you can do to avoid screwing up. While The Hard Things About Hard Things does majorly focus on the difficult topics, Horowitz lightens and heightens his examples with lyrics from his favorite rap songs– making the book an even more entertaining read!
The Art of the Start by Guy Kawaski
The Art of the Start is a valuable read for startup founders, entrepreneurs and CEOs, covering various business areas from start to finish. From first developing a business idea to hiring the right people for your company, The Art of the Start is an exemplary tool for entrepreneurs. In 13 quick chapters, Guy Kawasaki discusses crucial topics for startup founders including the art of launching, positioning, socializing, and marketing. As someone who has advised thousands of successful startup founders and has made one of himself as well, Kawasaki is the perfect mentor for those looking to turn their startup dreams into a reality.
The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
The Lean Startup should be a required read for aspiring tech startup founders and entrepreneurs. Author Eric Ries shares his expertise on how to utilize counter-intuitive practices and leverage human creativity while on a budget. Encouraging entrepreneurs to continuously test their visions, adapt and adjust, Ries pushes boundaries and preaches innovation. Ries advice and ideas are practical and proven in the startup industry — making this book a must-read for those looking to initiate and manage personal and company growth.