Top Startup Books to Read this Summer
Last summer we decided to feature some of the books recommended by the Station F Selection Board. For anyone who doesn’t know — the Selection Board is a group of 100 entrepreneurs from around the world that help us select startups for the Station F Founders Program (which, by the way is currently accepting applications through September 30th).
This year, we’ve once again decided to feature some of the books recommended by a few members of our Selection Board and investor community. While last year the list featured primarily startup and business titles, we allowed this year’s suggestions to feature other topics as well. Take a look :)
Hospitality, generosity & romance as a business.
I wanted to kick off the list with this suggestion by MyLittleParis cofounder Céline Orjubin — as it takes a bit of a different angle on business. In fact, sometimes we get so caught up in the “get shit done” mode, that we forget we are dealing with *people*. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer is a great read by a New York-based chef who owns 25 restaurants. Céline says that MyLittleParis has also employed some of the tips recommended in this book, including when the company hosted Apple CEO Tim Cook during his visit in Paris.
Céline also recommended another beautiful and less capitalistic business book, The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater than Yourself by Tim Leberecht. She claims this book has been a driver at MyLittleParis for quite a while — and helps you identify what really drives you and your team.
Just do it.
Founder of MyDala, Anisha Singh, recommends Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. In fact, Anisha says nearly all top business people recommend reading this book and unlike other self-serving memoirs, this book has a lot of material startups can relate to; the ups, the downs and everything in between.
Anisha also recommends Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things, which was also recommended by 2 of our Selection Board members last year. In other words, if you haven’t read it already, you *clearly* need to add it to your list.
Another book that was recommended for its second year in a row is Who: The A method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.
What would Lady Gaga do?
Service CEO Michael Schneider recommends The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banyan. The book’s young author sat down with the likes of Steve Wozniak, Maya Angelou, Tim Ferriss, Jessica Alba, Pitbull and Lady Gaga to find out how they got started. Michael says it’s a great story on how to hustle and also follow your unrealistic dream.
Michael also recommends a leadership-related book, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott. The author, who has lead massive teams at both Google and Apple, has developed a practical and pragmatic guide for being an effective leader.
On building printers and microprocessors.
What was the most important invention of the digital age? No, not your iPhone — but rather, the microprocessor. Jeremy Uzan from Alven Capital recommends The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove built the World’s Most Important Company by Michael S. Malone. This book shows how 3 very different yet complimentary people built one of the most important companies of the digital era.
Jeremy also recommends another historical tech read, Gutenberg the Geek by Jeff Jarvis. This is the story of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. Turns out he may have been one of the first tech entrepreneurs some 600 years ago.
“A must-read for scale-ups.”
Eventbrite cofounder and CTO Renaud Visage recommends Zone to Win: Organizing to Win in an Age of Disruption by Geoffrey A. Moore. Renaud calls this book a “must-read for scale-ups” as it is written by a well-known high-tech advisor who has developed a simple playbook based on zones to help entrepreneurs stay innovative and agile as their businesses grow.
Not (really) about business.
We also had quite a few recommendations that were not necessarily business titles. For example, Renaud recommended Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. This book is a memoir by a psychiatrist and Nazi camp survivor, who explores how you can find meaning and purpose, even after great suffering.
Interestingly enough, Renaud was not the only person to recommend us a WW2-related read. Michael also recommends Citizens of London: The Americans who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson. Michael says this book is filled with incredible stories of diplomacy from WW2, which are especially inspiring in our currently divided world.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance is another recommendation by Michael. He recommends this book as it provides “fascinating insight into the non-coastal parts of America and why Trump is President.”
Trouble with work-life balance?
This year’s special mention goes out to Selection Board member Mathilde Lacombe, who is the creator of leading blog La Vie en Blonde, cofounder of Joliebox (acquired by Birchbox)…and also the young mother of 3 children. She’s written a wonderful book, Une question d’équilibre, in which she shares some of secrets to finding work-life balance.