2016 Startup Library Of Reading For Founders
I’d love to say I read all my life but this isn’t the case. I used to hate reading. High school and university kind of ruined reading being a pleasurable pursuit for me. Being forced to read textbooks, however interested I was in them, slightly soured the whole act of it.
But this all changed suddenly when a manager of mine strongly recommended I read a book called “The Lean Startup”. This book captured my full interest and I read it front to back over a weekend. This book left an impactful mark on me. It was the first time I ever enjoyed a book. After this book I committed to reading because I realised that I actually love it — I love to learn.
The commitment to reading isn’t a large one — however, consistency is key. I schedule time to read and stick to it. I read before bed, on the train and for a few hours on the weekend. I’m also extremely lucky to be able to learn whilst at work during down time.
This pursuit of endless learning is something founders need to master. You never know 100% of any topic as the world is too vast and there are too many fluid viewpoints. Someone is always thinking differently just as you are with your startup. To get the ball rolling, I’m going to give you some food for thought — a place to start perhaps. In the photo above are all the books I’ve read this year.
I’ve put together a link for you to grab it and some words on what I thought of it below.
If you saw the movie “The Social Network” and enjoyed it you should read this book. They say the book’s always better — I think it is in this case. It’s got some great commentary about MVP Facebook and the relationships between founders.
This one isn’t so startup-y, but can teach founders some lessons on polarising groups of people for a cause. The people and groups behind the anon movement leveraged massive online channels to get people moving.
If your building a mobile app or digital product and have a dev team, this is a must read. It will teach you how to leverage Scrum management methodologies to lead the team and be more productive.
If you’re into personal optimisation — getting better and more efficient as a person — then this is a worthwhile read. It will teach you great strategies across a really broad range of areas to turbo charge your mind. There are never enough hours in a day for a founder or consultant and this book helped me a lot.
If you’ve never been exposed to the VC space, this is a perfect first read. I teach this to many people with varying understandings, so this helped me become a better teacher. As a learner I did learn some great tips and the book clarified some questions I had. It’s written by a VC, so you know it’s got merit to it.
Richard Branson is most definitely an idol of mine. He excels in business and philanthropy. This is a good read to get a deeper understanding of how he operates and what he does outside of his Virgin business empire.
From the Harvard Business Press, this book is about spinning up your presence in a new leadership role. If you’re new to a startup or are building a new team, this book has great teachings. I love the part about asserting authority without looking like a control freak.
This book examines six key areas of success and tries to draw the line between why startups fail and why they succeed in their pursuit of unicorn-ness.
How can you make your app or website as addictive as a drug? Simple. The human brain reacts in the same way to hard drugs as it does Facebook! Learn the methods.
This one’s about how to operate your business in a socially-conscious manner — embracing communities and empowering people to do awesome work beyond just helping move the profit needle.
This one was a recommendation from the VP of Sales here at Appster. If you’ve never thought of yourself as a salesperson, you need to. Read this for an intro on what makes people click buy and how you can help that along.
An amazing book — probably the second best for me this year. This is Peter Thiel’s (PayPal) playbook — he outlines where innovation lives and what you can do to be part of it. He also tells his story, which is amazing and invigorating to an entrepreneur.
This one didn’t really gel that well with me. I don’t feel any founder should aspire to this but there were some interesting learnings on time management. Cave into the hype and give it a read!
(The little black book with nothing on the spine on my shelf)
This is an ancient book translated from a military leader and it’s safe to say not much has changed. The book is a series of statements on managing people in battle. Guess what? You’re in battle in startup land and you may just learn something about it. Hot tip — you may need to read this two or three times to get it all.
Written by a very influential VC, William Draper, this book details his life and venture capital forays. It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at how VC works and is created.
This stands as the read of the year for me — I had no idea how Salesforce was created. Its a thrilling look into the founder and the journey. Its also got “plays” where Marc shares tips you can implement in your startup right now!
This book is like an illustrated children’s book on creating value propositions and products. Pretty cool methods for value creation in a fun format.
Steve Blank, one of the startup gods, wrote a real bible on startups. If you’ve got the time, this one is worth a read in chunks.
Interesting read in a case study format — really easy to consume a few stories from successful businesspeople before bed!
Very large book for the detail focused on using marketing and PR to propel your startup along.