Top Startup Books to Read this Summer
Summer is a great time to catch-up on startup reading — but there are so many terrific books to choose from, sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices. You’ve probably been told a million times to read books like Eric Ries’s Lean Startup, Steve Blank’s The Startup Owners Manual, or Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness. But we wanted to get you some fresh new reads :) So we turned to our incredible Selection Board to find out what they recommend. Check out their choices below.
Think out of the box.
Soraya Darabi, cofounder of Zady.com and more recently Founding Partner of Trailmix VC, seems like a clear fan of Wharton professor Adam Grant. She recommends his book “Originals,” which is about how to champion new ideas and fight groupthink. She also recommends Grant’s “Give and Take,” which is about how success is increasingly dependent on our interactions with others.
How to get sh*t done, effectively and efficiently.
TicTail cofounder and CEO Carl Waldekranz recommends The Effective Executive by prolific writer and leading management thinker Peter Drucker. The book focuses on how to set priorities, manage time, effective decision-making — everything you need to do to be productive.
When it comes to productivity, Soraya recommends Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto, which (as you may have guessed) is a tribute to the one and only checklist. Now, many of you may not be fans of checklists but this book goes to show how well-crafted checklists can dramatically improve outcomes — with tons of concrete examples from various industries.
And Sunrise cofounder and CEO Pierre Valade recommends a very original read but also a very important one: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson.
The art of negotiating (and getting what you want).
Afrimarket cofounder and CEO Rania Belkahia recommends Getting (More of) What You Want by Stanford GSB Professor Margaret A. Neale. The book highlights how negotiation is present in almost everything we do and how inexperienced negotiators leave significant value for you to claim.
Learning from the best.
BIME Analytics cofounder and CEO Rachel Delacour recommends Tools of Titans, which shares real-life tactics, routines and habits of top-performers. Oh, and it’s by Tim Feriss, the author of the 4-hour Workweek.
All about the team, from recruitment to management.
Kima Venture’s Jean de la Rochebrochard (OK fine, he’s not part of the Selection Board but we couldn’t help ourselves) *and* Rania both highly recommend Who: The A Method for Hiring. If you want to avoid all the people-related pitfalls you may encounter, this book will actually walk you through and help you get your hiring in order. For teams of 20 or more employees, Jean also recommends The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.
The inspirational biography.
Bowei Gai, cofounder of Cardmunch and more recently founder of World Startup Report, recommends a book that probably every entrepreneur has read or will read at some point in their life: Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs. Bowei recommends this book for when entrepreneurs need a pick me up.
Culture shift and innovation paradigms.
There is a lot to learn on innovation, especially when we look at larger companies. Carl recommends the Innovator’s Dilemma, by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, which looks at why big firms fail even when they get everything right (hint: the same practices that can make businesses successful can also make them fail).
For anyone interested in looking at how big corporations keep up with cultural shift, Soraya recommends Chief Culture Officer. This book looks at how a new professional in the corporate world in needed to pay attention to oncoming cultural changes — and since the publication of this book many organizations (including Google) have created CCOs.
Not what they teach you in business school.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the hype of being an entrepreneur — and then quickly realize just how difficult the reality of it actually is. Both Rania and Carl recommend The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Andreessen Horowitz Partner Ben Horowitz. This book looks at the tough problems of running a business that they don’t teach you in business school — including firing your friends.
Once upon an ecosystem…
This final read is a bit of a bonus for all the French-speakers out there. Ecosystème is the 2nd novel of Rachel Vanier (who just happens to be our Communications Director at Station F). It’s a tongue-in-cheek read that shows the comic side the startup world.
Are there other books you’d like to recommend? Feel free to share them in the comments!
Here’s the full list: