1) The Lean Startup
Written by Eric Ries, this is sort of the bible for new business ventures. Regardless of the business you build, this will teach you the mindset of creating quick “minimum viable products” and using the feedback loop to quickly change your product based on user input. The theory is practically accepted as truth nowadays, since so many new businesses operate under this methodology. It gets you out of the mindset of “I want the product to be perfect before launching it to the world!” and into “lets make something that barely works then let users tell us how to build the rest”.
The folks at 37 Signals did a wonderful job with this book. It is a really interesting read into corporate counterculture. This company hates meetings and other time-wasters, and offers tons of eclectic/strange but work-changing practices that keep people productive. It makes fun of the typical hour-long meeting, and dives into the practices of a company that operates with primarily remote employees. An excellent foray into efficiency in the startup workplace.
3) How to Win Friends and Influence People
You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you! Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie’s first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.
4) Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Peter Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.
Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.
Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.
5) Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days
“Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days” is a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days. These people are celebrities now. What was it like when they were just a couple friends with an idea? Founders like Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail) tell you in their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build a company.
6) Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How To Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms
Entrepreneurs who dream of building the next Amazon, Facebook, or Google can take advantage of one of the most powerful economic engines the world has ever known: venture capital. To do so, you need to woo, impress, and persuade venture capitalists to take a risk on an unproven idea. That task is challenge enough. But choosing the right investor can be harder still. Even if you manage to get backing, you want your VC to be a partner, not some adversary who will undermine your vision in order to make a quick return.
Jeffrey Bussgang is one of a few people who have played on both sides of this high-stakes game. By his early thirties, he had helped build two successful start-ups-one went public, the other was acquired. Now he draws on his experience and unique perspective on the “other side” as a venture capitalist helping entrepreneurs bring their dreams to fruition.
7) Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist
Beginning in 2005, Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson, managing directors at Foundry Group, wrote a long series of blog posts describing all the parts of a typical venture capital Term Sheet: a document which outlines key financial and other terms of a proposed investment. Since this time, they’ve seen the series used as the basis for a number of college courses, and have been thanked by thousands of people who have used the information to gain a better understanding of the venture capital field.
Drawn from the past work Feld and Mendelson have written about in their blog and augmented with newer material, Venture Capital Financings puts this discipline in perspective and lays out the strategies that allow entrepreneurs to excel in their start-up companies. Page by page, this book discusses all facets of the venture capital fundraising process. Along the way, Feld and Mendelson touch on everything from how valuations are set to what externalities venture capitalists face that factor into entrepreneurs’ businesses.
8) Startup CEO: How To Build a Company To Success
A definitive book for any CEO–first time or otherwise–of a high-growth company. While big company CEOs are usually groomed for the job for years, startup CEOs aren’t–and they’re often young and relatively inexperienced in business in general. Author Matt Blumberg, a technology and marketing entrepreneur, knows this all too well. Back in 1999, he started a company called Return Path, which later became the driving force behind the creation of his blog, OnlyOnce–because “you’re only a first time CEO once.”
9) The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Business Law
This standard-setting book is an essential resource for anyone looking to understand the legal challenges faced by entrepreneurs. From leaving your current job to taking your company public, THE ENTREPRENEUR’S GUIDE TO BUSINESS LAW has the information you need to avoid potentially costly missteps. This book contains 17 chapters that follow the progression of a start-up business and anticipate its legal concerns through each stage of growth, with essential coverage of e-commerce and international issues where appropriate.
10) Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0
Once You?re Lucky, Twice You?re Good is the story of the entrepreneurs who learned their lesson from the Internet bust of 2000 and in recent years have created groundbreaking new Web companies. The second iteration of the dot-coms? dubbed ? Web 2.0?? is all about bringing people together. Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace unite friends online; YouTube lets anyone post videos for the world to see; Digg.com allows Internet users to vote on the most relevant news of the day; Six Apart sells software that enables bloggers to post their viewpoints online; and Slide helps people customize their virtual selves.
Business reporter Sarah Lacy brings to light the entire Web 2.0 scene: the wide-eyed but wary entrepreneurs, the hated venture capitalists, the bloggers fueling the hype, the programmers coding through the night, the twenty-something millionaires, and the Internet ? fan boys? eager for all the promises to come true.
11) The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Startups That Win
The essential book for anyone bringing a product to market, writing a business plan, marketing plan or sales plan. Step-by-step strategy of how to successfully organize sales, marketing and business development for a new product or company. The book offers insight into what makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture. Packed with concrete examples, the book will leave you with new skills to organize sales, marketing and your business for success.
12) High Tech Startup: The Complete Handbook for Creating Successful New High Tech Companies
This practical handbook is filled with hard-to-find information and guidance covering every key phase of a start-up, from idea to IPO: how to create a winning business plan, how to value the firm, how venture capitalists work, how they make their money, where to find alternative sources of funding, how to select a good lawyer, and how to protect intellectual property. Nesheim aims to improve the odds of success for first-time high-tech entrepreneurs, and offers an insider’s perspective from firsthand experience on one of the toughest challenges they face — convincing venture capitalists or investment banks to provide financing.
13) Do More Faster: Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup
“Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup” is a collection of advice that comes from individuals who have passed through, or are part of, this proven program. Each vignette is an exploration of information often heard during the TechStars program and provides practical insights into early stage entrepreneurship. Contains seven sections, each focusing on a major theme within the TechStars program, including idea and vision, fundraising, legal and structure, and work/life balance. Created by two highly regarded experts in the world of early stage investing. Essays in each section come from the experienced author team as well as TechStar mentors, entrepreneurs, and founders of companies.
14) Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? For years, this question preyed on the mind of the author of this book, Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.
Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness — why some companies make the leap and others don’t.
15) The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are sky-high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over and traditional job security is a thing of the past. Here, LinkedIn cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world. The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.
16) Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur
Written by Dermot Berkery, an internationally known venture capitalist with Delta Partners, this complete toolbook thoroughly details how venture capitalists arrange the financing for a company; what they look for in a business plan; how they value a business; and how they structure the terms of an agreement. Within its pages, you’ll find everything you need to successfully raise new business capital with the most attractive terms possible.
17) Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
This book introduces startup founders and employees to the “Bullseye Framework,” a five-step process successful companies use to get traction. This framework helps founders find the marketing channel that will be key to unlocking the next stage of growth.
Traction is a guide to getting customers, written for startup founders, marketers, and those interested in how today’s startups grow and get traction. This book shows you how the founders of several of the biggest companies and organizations in the world like Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), Paul English (Kayak.com) and Alex Pachikov (Evernote) have built and grown their startups. The authors interviewed over forty successful founders and researched countless more growth stories to pull out the repeatable tactics and strategies they used to get traction.
18) The CEO Tighttrope: How to Master the Balancing Act of a Successful CEO
Trammell has created this resource for aspiring, new, and more experienced CEOs. He shares stories that allow you to identify your own strengths and weaknesses and provides questions that promote self-analysis. Filling a void in the market for a clear, compelling guide for CEOs, The CEO Tightrope is certain to become your go-to valued resource.
19) The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
In The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki brings two decades of experience as one of business’s most original and irreverent strategists to offer the essential guide for anyone starting anything, from a multinational corporation to a church group. At Apple in the 1980s, he helped lead one of the great companies of the century, turning ordinary consumers into evangelists. As founder and CEO of Garage Technology Ventures, a venture capital firm, he has field-tested his ideas with dozens of newly hatched companies. And as the author of bestselling business books and articles, he has advised thousands of people who are making their startup dreams real. From raising money to hiring the right people, from defining your positioning to creating a brand, from creating buzz to buzzing the competition, from managing a board to fostering a community, this book will guide you through an adventure that’s more art than science—the art of the start.
20) The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
A lot of people talk about how great it is to start a business, but only Ben Horowitz is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one. In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, draws on his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies to offer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools don’t cover. His blog has garnered a devoted following of millions of readers who have come to rely on him to help them run their businesses. A lifelong rap fan, Horowitz amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs and tells it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, from cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
21) Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Collins and Porras go beyond the incessant barrage of management buzzwords and fads of the day to discover timeless qualities that have consistently distinguished out-standing companies. They also provide inspiration to all executives and entrepreneurs by destroying the false but widely accepted idea that only charismatic visionary leaders can build visionary companies. Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the twenty-first century and beyond.
22) Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
This book written by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is a great resource if you want to learn about the path that Zappos took to get to over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales in less than ten years. It also provides some of the lessons learned along the way from all the mistakes. In addition, the book is a grab read for those founders that are looking to create a stronger company culture, which will make employees and coworkers happier and create more employee engagement, leading to higher productivity.
23) Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on why do some ideas thrive while others die. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”
Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)–the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
24) Crush It!: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed in this book, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, any reader will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, CRUSH IT! is the ultimate driver′s manual for modern business.
25) The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs
In a praiseworthy effort to distill some of the most important lessons of entrepreneurship, Kevin D. Johnson, president of multimillion-dollar company Johnson Media Inc. and a serial entrepreneur for several years, shares the essential beliefs, characteristics, and habits of elite entrepreneurs. Through the conviction of his own personal experiences, which include a life-changing visit to Harvard Business School, and the compelling stories of modern-day business tycoons, Johnson transforms an oftentimes complex topic into a lucid and accessible one.
In this riveting book written for new and veteran entrepreneurs, Johnson identifies one hundred key lessons that every entrepreneur must learn in seven areas: Strategy, Education, People, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Leadership, and Motivation. Lessons include how to think big, who makes the best business partners, what captivates investors, when to abandon a business idea, where to avoid opening a business bank account, and why too much formal education can hinder your entrepreneurial growth.
26) The Paypal Wars: Battles with Ebay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth
When PayPal launched its online payment service and set out to overhaul global currency markets it successfully weathered the dot-com bust and a fierce competitive struggle with the auction giant eBay. But hordes of government regulators, trial lawyers, and organized crime rings soon targeted PayPal for destruction, turning its quest to make Internet history into a desperate struggle for survival.
27) The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Mae a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick. Among Chris’s key principles: if you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish – sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.
28) The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it
An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.
Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business—from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed—and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise. Most importantly, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.
29) Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to Plan That
In this inspiring book, Ash Maurya takes you through an exacting strategy for achieving a “product/market fit” for your fledgling venture, based on his own experience in building a wide array of products from high-tech to no-tech. Throughout, he builds on the ideas and concepts of several innovative methodologies, including the Lean Startup, Customer Development, and bootstrapping.
30) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.
31) Can’t Hurt Me
For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare—poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, David transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside Magazine to name him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.”
In Can’t Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us only tap into 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this the 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.