What Atlanta Entrepreneurs Read

A few months ago I saw a tweet by Kyle Porter that hit me right in the sweet spot.

As a lifelong learner and former Better World Books employee, this is catnip to me. And my first thought was “this a great idea, but what books would people recommend?”

So I reached out to startup founders around Atlanta with a simple request.

“What books would you recommend, and why?”

And to my surprise, a bunch of them were eager to respond. There are still a few requests out there, so I’ll be adding to this list if/when people send their recommendations.

There was no requirement that the recommendations be business books. In fact, I tried to steer people away from those same books you see on every list for reasons that the first recommendation explains better than I can.

Here is the end result. Hopefully you’re able to find a few new pieces of inspiration on it.

Jon Birdsong — WideAngle

“Business books are great in small doses, but I find my greatest inspiration from real history…not P/E ratios or board room dramas.”

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Hope for a better future is what can keep us going regardless of how dire the circumstances.

Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn by Gary Pomerantz
The story of Atlanta. It’s scars, roses, and more.

A Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner
A masterful documentation of the relationship between Lincoln and Slavery.

Andy Powell — CallRail

Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
It’s inspiring to learn how big things start small, and how brilliant people work.

Titan by Ron Chernow
The biography of John D Rockefeller, one of history’s greatest capitalists.

The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean
The rise and fall of Enron. A fun read that, I think, provides a cautionary tale against toxic company cultures.
(Relevant note: This is also one of my favorite books)

Catherine Iger — Fittery

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Because being in the moment is perhaps the hardest and best way to live. I still haven’t figured it out, but I’m working on it.

Rob Kischuk — Converge

Venture Deals by Brad Feld
Venture Deals is really good for understanding the checkers and chess of the other side of the table in an investment deal. I could alternately argue that this is jiu jitsu that is irrelevant at the early stage, but it’s also valuable to begin building this context before you need it.

Scaling Up by Verne Harnish 
Once I got to our current size of 5 people, I realized I needed some guidance on cadence, rhythm, process, communication. This books helps distill habits around vision, strategy, communication. It would be overkill to implement everything at current scale, but wasteful not to regularly consider what tools can help us be more effective

Nehemiah [Bible]
Visioneering by Andy Stanley as a potential companion 
Nehemiah is a tremendously compact and effective study in servant leadership, regardless of where you stand on Christianity/Judaism. Visioneering builds a nice leadership narrative and helps add some context that may not be internally evident within the text.

From Impossible To Inevitable by Jason Lemkin
Haven’t read yet but really want to. His conference in February was the first conference I’ve been to in a long time where the content was actually worth it. His Quora and blog content is also excellent. This is my next read and I don’t expect to be disappointed.

Emily Golub — Garnish and Gather

[I]f I had to say 3 books that were important to me over the past several years, they’d be

Lovemarks by Kevin Roberts
Building a brand that people can fall in love with is something I’m striving for everyday in my business!

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Working in the food business, this book helped to shape my views of the food world and has been a foundational piece on which I’ve built G&G.

Moms on Call by Laura Hunter
As a new mom and business owner I couldn’t have made it without their guidance. It got my twin babies sleeping through the night, and lots more helpful strategies that have been crucial in helping find the balance I need as working mom.

And of course, what kind of list would this be if we didn’t talk to the inspiration of it all?

There you go. Pick a few books, curl up, and get empowered.

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