Confucious once said, you cannot open a book, without learning something. How true this is.
I love reading, everything from the business book to the sci-fi thriller. One of my favorite subject areas are books exploring the wonderful world of startups. There’s not really a user guide on how to be an entrepreneur, it takes grit, guts, and guile.
Even so, there’s a ton that’s been written on the subject and these 7 books are as close as it gets to a map for being a successful founder. If you want to know what it takes to start a business, this is where I’d start.
1. Zero To One
Author: Peter Thiel | Pages: 224
We’ve all heard about Zero To One, but I think it teaches us a very important lesson about startups: we need to aim higher.
We don’t need more of what we already have. We need disruptive innovation. We need to push the envelope. As Peter Thiel said, we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, try to do so with something we truly need.
2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Author: Ben Horowitz | Pages: 304
If you ever wanted to understand how hard it is to be an entrepreneur, this is the book for you. It shows you the reality of startups. It’s not all fun and games.
I loved the first 3 chapters of this book, where Horowitz shares his story and his struggles along the way. It’s one of the most intriguing tales you’ll find.
The rest of the book, explores his lessons learned, in every facet of being a CEO.
3. The Innovator’s Dilemma
Author: Clayton M. Christensen | Pages: 336
I remember picking this book up years ago and peeking inside. It looked like one of the most boring things I’d ever laid my eyes on. Who cares about hard disk drives anyways?
Then I started reading it and couldn’t stop. The Innovator’s Dilemma was the first book that truly taught me about the idea and importance of innovation.Much like Zero To One, this book shows you why and how to achieve disruptive innovation, in a world largely lacking in it.
4. Anything You Want
Author: Derek Sivers | Pages: 96
This is the polar opposite of many business books and that’s why I love it. It shows you a different perspective on what starting a business is.The always entertaining Derek Sivers shares his personal journey as a tech entrepreneur, but more importantly, he shows us that there’s not just one way to start a company. There are many paths to success.
5. The Lean Startup
Author: Eric Ries | Pages: 336
There are a lot of frameworks for startups out there, but none that are as well thought out and sensible as The Lean Startup.The book explores in detail how and why to effectively start any business, so that you can set yourself up for success.
6. Crossing The Chasm
Author: Geoffrey A. Moore | Pages: 288
Another oldie, Crossing the Chasm is a great read as it looks at things from the perspective of the market. Moreover, it explores how you take your business to the next level.What is the key to the going from early adopters to mainstream? How do you capture the whole market? Answer these questions and more.
Authors: Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson | Pages: 288
The best part of starting a business, is you have the ability to build its culture and what it really means to work there. From this perspective, Rework gives you insight into how you can change the meaning of what a company really looks like.From criticizing meetings to the value of launching, this fun book breaks the norms of typical corporate thinking.
It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.Oscar Wilde
Books are filled with knowledge, if you are willing to use them. Especially if you’re interested in the crazy world of startups.
While books can’t teach you everything, they give you a great foundation to start from and these 7 books will give you some perspective, when you need it most.