10 Books That Helped Me Build a Unicorn Company
Ryan Holmes
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Essential Reading (addendum)

I’ve read most of these and I too have found them helpful. I’m glad to see only a few business books on your list and thankfully those are (mostly) not the prescriptive type. As founders, we benefit more from reading about things through both fiction and nonfiction, rather than digesting a 100 recipe books on the startup way.

There is no way.

With that in mind, I would add several more books that helped me shape the companies I have built. Here are four books that come to my mind when I think in terms of essential (and accessible) — at least for a unicorn that wants to be part of a sustainable future.

The Puritan Gift by Hopper and Hopper. Showing us in amazing detail, with incredibly deep research, how we were all on the path to building companies that served the economy and society simultaneously. It all went wrong in 1970, thanks to Milton Friedman, but we can start again.

The Four Agreements by Don Ruiz. This book has provided me with more insight about managing people than 100 human resources consultants ever could. This is literally my manual for keeping a myself and our team in harmonic performance mode. The approach has helped me avoid getting stuck in the storming phase.

Small Giants by Bo Burlingham. The book I wish I read before joining the startup ranks. (Nb: I’m not a unicorn hunter). It’s full of insight about what makes a business a giant…and it isn’t, as you might guess, all about the billion dollar valuation mark.

Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. Simply one of the best treatise on thinking.

Of course, as always, your mileage may vary because you are not me, and I am not you.

Peace.