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.

The Facebook Effect: The Real Inside Story of Mark Zuckerberg and the World’s Fastest Growing Company

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.

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

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.

Scrum: A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines, and boosting productivity

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.

Future Brain: The 12 Keys to Create Your High-Performance Brain

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.

Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms

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.

Let’s Not Screw it, Let’s Just Do it: Lessons for the Future

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.

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter

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.

The Creator’s Code

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.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

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.

Screw Business as Usual

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.

The Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness

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.

Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future

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.

The 4-hour Work Week: Escape the 9–5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich

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 Art of War

(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.

The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs

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.

Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company and Revolutionized an Industry

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!

Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want

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.

The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company

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.

The Startup Playbook

Interesting read in a case study format — really easy to consume a few stories from successful businesspeople before bed!

The New Rules of Marketing & PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

Very large book for the detail focused on using marketing and PR to propel your startup along.

This article was originally published on the Appster Blog

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