5 Books I loved Reading When Founding A Startup
I’ve been wanting to write about the list of books I enjoyed reading when I started building Typito. Not trying to take away credit from podcasts, interviews, talks and other video they are great sources — but personally and this is even something some of my startup founder friends agree with, books focused on startups, tech, marketing, productivity etc happen to an entrepreneur’s really close friends. And I think this is a great opportunity to give some credits to some of the books that have helped me with very interesting and helpful perspective when solving problems while starting up. So I am going to touch upon 4 interesting books you should definitely consider reading if you are starting up.
1. Crossing the Chasm
First book I wanted to talk about is Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. At a very high level, Moore explains the concept of market or market segment in this book and then takes you to a journey in understanding a terminology that makes every entrepreneur anxious and stressed out — Product Market fit — I mean the ones who haven’t achieved it and who are struggling to do so, which is most of the startups. The book also talks about the technology adoption curve, referring to how customers in a market are distributed from innovators and early adopters who will give your a shot at your product to laggards whom you shouldn’t go after. And to build some anticipation, Moore talks about how to cross the chasm and drive adoption that goes beyond early adopters — I will leave it for you to figure that out in the book.
2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Second one is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by entrepreneur turned investor Ben Horowitz. Trust me — this is a must read. Ben has tried to take the reader through his roller coaster Startup journey in this book while giving pragmatic advice while doing so. The book doesn’t discriminate between different parts of starting up — hiring, product development, firing and what not and gives you realistic ways of approaching these phases in a way that’s best for the startup.
Third is Hooked — How to build habit forming products written by Nir Eyal. As the title goes, this book, according to me, gives a very interesting perspective on building products by leveraging the concept of habit-formation for your customers. Touching upon a bit of human psychology, consumer behaviours and stories about startups that have got their habit-formation right, the book is a gold mine for folks who want to build high value products that attract users to use them in a recurring manner.
The 4th book for me is Traction — How any startup can achieve explosive growth by DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg. In strong contrast to the other books, this book is not here to give you a different perspective that could help you in the long run. This is instant glucose, absolutely actionable resource, with very little abstract stuff. The book talks about 19 traction channels you should definitely consider with out any bias while growing your customer base and believe me, it’s spot on!
5. Creativity, Inc.
Last of the top 5 books I’d recommend is Creativity, Incorporated by Ed Catmull, the president of Disney Pixar. The book touches upon some of the practices adopted by Pixar while building a culture that harbours transparency, ownership and productivity — I mean, what more do you want? Braintrust, Postmortem, Notes day — the book is a fine journey through some of the interesting practices followed by a team that started as a Computer Graphics hardware division of Lucas Arts and later evolved to become one of the biggest animation motion pictures company in the World — as you can imagine, that’d be quite an interesting read.
Now there are a lot of other exciting books you should definitely try to get your hands on — some of them I got my hands on are — Start with Why by Simon Sinek, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Originals by Adam Grant, How Google Works by Erin Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg and many more. If you are starting up, I’d strongly urge you to spend a little bit of time reading such books — they end up taking you to a different plane of understanding from which you get to look at your startup in a zoomed out fashion with a fresh perspective and that really helps. Hope you find this useful.
Here’s a video I created listing out my favourite startup books.
Hope you like it!