Resources for bootstrappers, indie devs, and product makers

Five Must-Have Read Books For Makers in 2020

Edwin Klesman
Jan 7 · 6 min read
Five Must-Have Read Books for makers, bootstrappers, indie devs and product makers

In this post, I’ve listed five books that helped me to shape my mindset and that help with creating and marketing a viable product

If you are a developer that wants to make her/his next step to go from side-project to viable products then read on as these books will help you.

DISCLAIMER: The links are affiliate so I might earn a buck If you buy via the links that I provide, but I have carefully picked the books from all the reading I’ve been doing in the past years. The list in this article is curated on personal experiences so it only lists books that provide real value and proactively help makers advancing to their next level in digital product development.

There Are Resources Everywhere

I’ve been a developer for over sixteen years and during the last five years or so, the number of resources for people that want to start their own digital SaaS/Web App/Mobile app/Online Course/Email letter/.. business have grown exponentially.

From free online courses — both from the platforms themselves or third party websites, to books from and for makers. From blogs and vlogs to podcasts.

There is an abundance of people that “have done it” and that share their knowledge (either for free or paid).

The truth is, I never cared much for reading until I started getting hooked to podcasts while commuting in an hour-long drive at a previous job. I got hooked on consuming interesting talks on how to do things while driving and taking that step to start consuming audiobooks was just a small one after that.

In this article, I’ll show you five books that I’ve read personally and that gave me specific insights and/or tools to increase my chances of building a viable product that delivers value to both the users and me, the creator.

Without further ado, let’s get started with the list of five books that help makers to create viable products.

5 Must-Have Read Books

Alright, Let’s proceed with the list for five books that you have to read in 2020. Five Books that will help you to create viable products the right way and with more value.

1 | Product Positioning To Find Your Market

Paper Book: Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It
AudioBook: in the making
Author: April Dunford

In a nutshell:

In this book, April Dunford gives you a hands-on plan on how you can position your product so it has the most potential to succeed. Although it might seem hard for a maker to change the angle on your product as you imagined it, getting better results because you present your product in the right way to reach the audience with the best potential will definitely help you to start building and releasing successful products, gain income and work on what you love most.

Value Points:

  • Easy read
  • A clear and solid foundation on why positioning matters
  • Actionable plan to apply it for your product(s)

2 | Asking The Right Questions

Paper Book: The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers & Learn If Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You
Audio Book: available on Audible
Author: Rob Fitzpatrick

In a Nutshell

The Mom Test is written by Rob Fitzpatrick, who has a developer background himself. With his technical background, Rob knew how difficult it would be to ask people questions to get that much-needed information to find out if your product is going to form the solution to a problem or land on the wish lists of potential users.

What makes this useful:

  • Shows how to NOT ask questions and how easy biassing give you “fake positives”
  • Instructs you on how to actually ask the right questions and get conversations going
  • Shifted my mindset as a tech guy to look beyond your “baby” product and get a real solution going for you (and others)

3 | Stay Small As A Maker

Paper Book: Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business
AudioBook: available on Audible
Author: Paul Jarvis

In a Nutshell:

After reading (or listening to) Company Of One, I got more confident about the path I set out for myself and the reality of creating a company that will create revenue for me. A path that would lead to independence, and let me focus on creating value and building products on my own terms.
This book gives a clear insight into the possibilities, structure, and reality that a Company Of One can bring along when setup correctly.

It helps to focus on growing from something small, finding out what that is, and making it viable and sustainable as a one-person show.

Value Points:

  • Stop thinking about growth and shift your mindset on providing value
  • Shows a low-risk approach on starting your business using a side-project
  • Talks about the added value of searching for a niche

4 | Being Consistent Through Creating Habits

Paper Book: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
AudioBook: Available on Audible
Author: James Clear

In a Nutshell

If you want to succeed as a maker, you need to increase your game. You need to be able to get work done on a regular basis in order to build something that you can ship. One way to reach your goals is to get yourself some routines so you stop procrastinating, get work done and start shipping code.
Atomic Habits is a book that will give you actionable steps to understand how habits work, how you can create your own habits and make them work for you and your goals.

Value Points

  • Well-thought-out approach on how to create your own habits
  • Gives good insights and really substantiates how habits work and how they can help you
  • Start getting the right habits and start shipping!

5 | Getting The Right Mindset

Paper Book: Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too
Audio Book: Available on Audible
Author: Gary Vaynerchuk

In a Nutshell

You might be into Gary or you’re not. But the fact remains that he has created a way of working and producing content and made a real brand out of himself. In his book Crushing It!, Gary talks about seven principles to build a solid social media presence for yourself.
The biggest insight that I got from it, was that stopping to overthink what you’re putting out there (content-wise) and documenting your own journey might be the best that you’ve ever done for yourself yet.

Value Points

  • Actionable principles that will help you to brand you and (somewhat indirect) your product(s)
  • Stop worrying about the format or how fancy your content looks. Make it bare value and reality and document yourself
  • A nice mind-shifter to get your focus on the right things.

Rounding Up 🏁

I hope you find the resources on this list as valuable as they were to me.

The five books in this article didn’t just help me to get a different perspective on product development and marketing.

They helped me to shape my mindset, showed the importance of consistency, creating value for others, and focussing on my own goals.

May they help you to reach your goals, create value and build wonderful products in 2020 and beyond 🙌🏻

Shipharder.com

Features mindshaping content on how to build viable products and documents a developer’s story on doing so.

Edwin Klesman

Written by

Team lead @Detacom | cross-platform | mobiledev | apps | azure | xamarin | Saas | ♥family+movies+food | Owner www.eekayonline.com | my own views

Shipharder.com

Features mindshaping content on how to build viable products and documents a developer’s story on doing so.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade