Best Startup Books - More than 150 books to read

Starting a new business can be as exciting as it is nerve-wracking. You start asking yourself so many questions about staffing, the different approaches you should follow for your new business, and what you’re doing is right. You not only want your startup to be a success, but you want it to sustain its success in the future.

Whether or not you’re at the helm of the startup, you start to learn a lot of things about building a new business. It’s about working as a team and making sure everyone does their part.

If you’re the owner, then you need to be a good leader to your employees and inspire loyalty. It would help if you also learn the importance of task designation and making sure you hired the right people for the job.

This seriously doesn’t even cover the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a startup. Even if you think you’ve done an excellent job so far, there will always be room for improvement. You can always learn from experienced experts and do things better in order to save yourself time, money, and effort.

Different approaches need to be considered depending on your startup business. You’ll need to take into consideration methods for marketing, advertising, branding, and other areas crucial to building a client base. You’ll want to make sure your startup sends exactly the right message to your target audience so they won’t hesitate to visit your location or website.

Starting a business these days is a lot easier than it was before. Thanks to social media, anyone can spread the word about your business, brand, or blog with little trouble.

That makes it even more important for you to learn about startups from our collection of the best startup books. Discover how these books can help take your business from “okay” to thriving in no time at all.

 

 

Best Startup Books

 

The

The Lean Startup

There are quite a few good business books on technology, and I'll list below some I find to be a good starting point. Personally, I like biographies a lot and I mostly read biographies of dead people, because those are the most honest ones. So because the computer age is still very young, there won't be a lot of biographies in my list.
Bogdan Iordache
Co-Founder/How to Web
Startup

Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur

For a long time, I didn't see myself as an entrepreneur. I worked for an organization where I felt fulfilled, loved the work I got to do, and was amazed by who I got to do it with. Then five years ago, my husband started our first gym and I began to see behind the curtain of entrepreneurship. I stumbled upon Startup Life by Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor, it gave me great perspective on how to support my husband, how business affects a couple on multiple levels, and how we could evolve our roles and relationship.
AnneMarie Schindler
Founder/Small Wins Consulting
Startup

Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors

In addition to walking you through, in great detail, how a board functions, Brad has adopted many of the Lean Startup approaches to building, operating, and managing your board in a way that resembles continuous deployments. Any practitioner of Lean Startup would do well to use this approach to building their board.
Eric Ries
Founder/Long-Term Stock Exchange
Startup

Startup Evolution Curve From Idea to Profitable and Scalable Business: Startup Marketing Manual

Currently, as I'm focused on marketing for my startup, I’m using “Startup Evolution Curve” by Dr. Donatas Jonikas, which is a marketing study full with real-world examples of startups and how they tackled specific marketing issues. I’m using this book as an inspiration, as five minutes into reading from it, I’m full of new ideas and committed to trying them.
PS: Proud to say that my startup, Echoz, it’s also featured in the book.

Nicolae Andronic
Founder/Echoz
The

The Startup Way

Continuous innovation is the key to long-term impact and success. Eric shows how organizations of all kinds—not just startups—can be built to learn and adapt. In the pivot-or-perish networked world of twenty-first-century business, this is mission critical reading.
Reid Hoffman
CEO/Linkedin

The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career

Everyone, women and men alike, needs to think big to succeed. This is a practical book that shows you how to take control and build a career that will enable you to have real impact.
Sheryl Sandberg
COO/Facebook

The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

The 10% Entrepreneur and Girlboss. Both empower people to create a strategic plan and risk-taking that are needed for considering entrepreneurship. A lot of it is experimenting, learning and just doing.
Andrea Loubier
CEO/MailBird
Lost

Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World

Rand Fishkin is the real deal. This book is an honest, generous and useful look at what actually happens when you build a company, including the downs as well as the ups... I wish I had read it thirty years ago.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
High

High Tech Startup: The Complete Handbook for Creating Successful New High Tech Companies

High Tech Startup: The Complete Handbook for Creating Successful New High Tech Companies by John L. Nesheim is a bit dated, but because of that, its very revealing as to how investment has changed over the years. I have always felt unease about the trend of “unicorns”, and subscribe more to the approach of being a “cockroach”. This book helped me better understand how to strategize for being a cockroach.
Lucas Morales
Founder & CEO/Zeall.us

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.
Elon Musk
Founder/SpaceX
Startup:

Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure

If you're interested in high tech as a career path then I'd recommend a series of case studies around the development of products / founding of companies. Here are four examples:

  • Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder (1981)
  • Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure by Jerry Kaplan (1996)
  • Show Stopper by G Pascal Zachary (1994)
  • The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator by Randall Stross (2013)
  • The Everything Store by Brad Stone (2014)

These books all tell the tale of starting a company or building a product and despite covering a time span of 30+ years and multiple generations of technology the remarkable thing is just how very, very similar they are. While the technology changes, the process of creating something from whole cloth doesn't. That's a great lesson for people to learn.

Scott Johnson
Freelance Software Engineer
Disciplined

Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup

[One of the books that had the biggest impact on Maya.]
Maya Zlatanova
Co-Founder & CEO/FindMeCure

Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer’s Guide to Launching a Startup

Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling is good for getting some actionable tactics towards building and selling software products
Turgay Birand
Founder/Edition Guard
Do

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup

There is so much great content packed into this book across all aspects of a start: ideas, execution, culture, hiring, firing, fundraising, product, metrics, incorporation, work-life balance. It is a book I can highly recommend if you're interested in or are getting started with a startup. Brad Feld and David Cohen are super smart and have a lot of experience, and it shows. I especially loved the chapter titled If you want money, ask for advice. It's something I've tried to apply ever since reading the book. I've found that genuinely seeking advice is often more productive and leads to more opportunities than asking for money or a partnership or a sale.
Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer

The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Will assume career path is running a startup, getting clients and managing a team of employees or collaborating with founders. These are some of the best books to cover these areas. It’s hard running a startup, let alone being the person who has to make the highest decisions in the organization. These books help provide the framework in how to run a successful organization but also share some of the stories and pitfalls from other founders so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
Cody McLain
CEO/SupportNinja
The

The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business

The Purpose Is Profit provides the roadmap and motivation needed to win the startup game. It is required reading for every entrepreneur committed to building a profitable business.
Barbara Corcoran
Founder/The Corcoran Group
Lean

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster

Like Charlie Munger once said: “I’ve long believed that a certain system - which almost any intelligent person can learn - works way better than the systems most people use [to understand the world]. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually fit together in a way that enhances cognition. Just as multiple factors shape every system, multiple mental models from a variety of disciplines are necessary to understand that system. You can read this book to start building a latticework of mental models in your head.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
Traction:

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

This book lays out a framework to help any startup brainstorm ways to gain more customer traction.

Gunhee Park
Co-Founder/Populum

The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company

The Startup Owner's Manual by Steve Blank is a more full on version of the Lean Startup and is a real how to manual for customer development
Bill Earner
Founder/Connect Ventures

Founders At Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days

Now this one is certainly a little less historical than the others, if only because most of the profiles are about companies founded in the last ten years. Written by Jessica Livingston, a founder of YCombinator, the book profiles some of the hottest and most successful startups in Silicon Valley history. It shows how the founders manage to create massive growth, usually with very few resources. Now I’m not saying that companies like Hot or Not compare with the accomplishments of Pericles or Da Vinci, but you can certainly see how this book captures a moment in time—and its leading men and women—and what that means. This is the most current book on the list (besides mine) but I think many of you will like it. Plus you can learn a lot about the tech scene in one swoop.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check

Sell More Faster: The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Start-Ups (Techstars)

Sell More Faster is the sales playbook every startup founder needs to read. Whether you're searching for product-market fit or have found it and are starting to scale, this book will give you the play by play approach of what you need to do to build an awesome sales organization.
Brad Feld
Co-Founder/Foundry Group
Bad

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Every entrepreneur and VC should read this book. John Carreyrou has done something important here. Maybe this book will finally put a nail in the phrase “fake it till you make it”, but I doubt it. The amount of lying, disingenuousness, blatant and unjustified self-promotion, and downright deceit that exists in entrepreneurship right now is at a local maximum. This always happens when entrepreneurship gets trendy. Carreyrou just wrote a long warning for entrepreneurs and VCs.
Brad Feld
Co-Founder/Foundry Group
Hot

Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook

It's solid, realistic advice from someone who definitely knows what he's talking about.
Kristen Hamilton
Co-founder/Koru
Entering

Entering StartUpLand: An Essential Guide to Finding the Right Job

Just as the The Lean Startup has become a must-read for founders, Entering StartUpLand should be required reading for any joiner. The book is a sweeping and insightful view into a startup's full range of operations and entry points. I highly recommend it.
Eric Ries
Founder/Long-Term Stock Exchange
The

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

If you are reading to learn skills that can be implemented in your startup, I’d recommend The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful by Eric Reis and actually avoid its predecessor The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win by Steve Blank until later in your career.
Craig Pearce
Co-Founder/Kid Genius

The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More

In this valuable guide Chris Guillebeau shows that transforming an idea into a successful business can be easier than you think…You are in charge of which ideas deserve your time, and this book can help you wake up every morning eager to progress to the next step.
Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
Disrupted:

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

The book starts like a punch in the gut, but the story and the reality dose of this book are something that we all need from time to time in the Tech Startup Age. It helped me look beyond the excitement of working on new projects as a goal in itself and keep at least one foot on the ground. Plus the writing is extraordinary!
Irina Marinescu
Product Manager & Co-Founder/Save Potatoes
Secrets

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It

As someone who’s helped a small company become a huge, valuable company, I know firsthand the power of the startup ecosystem and entrepreneurship. This book is the definitive book on navigating VC as part of that.
Eric Schmidt
Ex-CEO/Google
The

The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback

For people interested in designing or building software products: The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman and The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen. Both books have informed my product sense and helped me make decisions about great UX.
Julia Enthoven
Co-Founder/Kapwing
Venture

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

For the fellow tech nerds among you, here are a few resources for learning about angel investing, founding tech companies, or picking the right startup to work for.
Tim Ferriss
Author & Entrepreneur

The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s Most Exclusive School for Startups

If you're interested in high tech as a career path then I'd recommend a series of case studies around the development of products / founding of companies. Here are four examples:

  • Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder (1981)
  • Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure by Jerry Kaplan (1996)
  • Show Stopper by G Pascal Zachary (1994)
  • The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator by Randall Stross (2013)
  • The Everything Store by Brad Stone (2014)

These books all tell the tale of starting a company or building a product and despite covering a time span of 30+ years and multiple generations of technology the remarkable thing is just how very, very similar they are. While the technology changes, the process of creating something from whole cloth doesn't. That's a great lesson for people to learn.

Scott Johnson
Freelance Software Engineer

Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle

I thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written.
Bogdana Butnar
Head of Strategy/Poke

The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

I would definitely start my list with The Mom Test because there is no resource on how to ask questions without being too eager or too revealing. I think this skill should be trained, be it an entrepreneur or not.
Roxana Bitoleanu
Founder/Taraba Virtuala
The

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

I read this book at a time when Udemy was rapidly growing—over the 18 months where we went from 30 to 200 people. It was helpful to read about Horowitz's challenges, worries, and triumphs when addressing the same types of issues at a similar stage of growth. There are so many big decisions you need to make where there's just no clear-cut, right or wrong answer. There are a lot of gray areas. You gather information from your team, but the hard decisions rest with you. This book helped me realize that while I needed to carefully and objectively consider feedback, I was responsible for making a decision in the end—even when it was an unpopular one.

Dennis Yang
CEO/Udemy
Super

Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

The tale of Uber, the queen of the so-called ‘unicorns,’ is a parable about power―and the lengths to which some startup founders will go to amass it and hold onto it. Aside from being a delicious read, Mike Isaac’s account is also teeming with new revelations that will shock and outrage you.
John Carreyrou
Author, Journalist
Sprint:

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

A fantastic, proven formula for moving from idea to prototyping to decision making within five days, based on a process he developed while working at Google and later GV.
Eric Ries
Founder/Long-Term Stock Exchange
Design

Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility

A book called Design to Grow studies the difference of large corporations who have scale versus small startups who have agility. As the CEO of Mailbird, a small tech startup looking to take on email domination for the world, there were some valuable lessons to learn from how big corporations like Coca Cola learned to design their systems, localize them and iterate to scale their business going from a cola company to an all beverage company.
Andrea Loubier
CEO/MailBird
Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf

Favourite non-business book would be Der Steppenwolf, by Hermann Hesse. It's a book that's often read by privileged people who feel misunderstood (usually teens), so everyone focuses on the first part about loneliness in the bourgeois world and forgets about the whole second part of the book that's about overcoming that and finding a sense of humour, a shift in perspective, and a bit of distance. Jack Kerouac even dismisses the book in the fashion of the precisely same intellectual hypocrisy this book talks about, which to me sounds like hipsters talking about how other people are hipsters and fake, because they themselves have been listening the band before it was popular. Also, Steppenwolf is very relevant today - especially in the often lonely world of startup founders, where everyone talks about how great they're doing. So, the message still resonates with me.
Sanja Zepan
Co-Founder/Homey

Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success

The book is new (2017) and growthhacking is a real trend right now.
Kyrylo Taranenko
Head of Marketing/Y-Productive
Purple

Purple Cow

Then, again when I was younger, at the beginning of 2000s, Seth Godin’s Purple Cow and The Cluetrain Manifesto were two pieces of work I’d always refer to, as well as Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, later on when I was looking at how to become a better tech entrepreneur.
Dragos Novac
CEO/Nordic 9
Never

Never Give Up: Jack Ma In His Own Words

I was completely moved and impressed by him and his team. The fact that they were adamant in overcoming all obstacles and negativities despite all odds were against them. They were relentless. I was facing many problems during my first startup. Reading up on the book allowed me to understand that my problems were not good enough to make me fail but giving up was.
Jose He
Chief Performance Officer/Bountie.io
Women

Women in Tech: Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories from Successful Women in Tech to Take Your Career to the Next Level

It's actually written by startup executives, developers and techies — all of them women.

Angie Chang
Founder/Women 2.0
The

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

I really enjoyed Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. Anyone who wants to better understand the dynamics of disruption or just gain a better understanding of the website we've come to love, must read this book.

Shane Parrish
Founder/Syrus Partners
Mephisto

Mephisto

It's not only an exciting novel but opened my eyes, how close to reality his predictions were in 1936 in which direction the Nazi dictatorship was shifting.

Originally Mann was asked by his publisher to write a sci-fi novel about Europe in the future. However, he rejected the proposal stating that he could not write an apolitical book at that point in history and wanted to reveal the racism and cruelties in the Third Reich.

If more people would have been as brave as him many wars could have been prevented. Read it!

Florian Hubner
CEO/Decondia, Startup Creator
Hooked:

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Recommended by Marc Goodman in Tools of Titans.
Marc Goodman
Founder/Future Crimes Institute
The

The Execution Factor: The One Skill that Drives Success

If you’re intentional about upskilling or upgrading, The Execution Factor gives you the framework and traits to get there. Through her own wealth of examples and applicable process, Perell has created essential reading that cracks the code on how to drive success in your life and work.
Jonathan Auerbach
Vice President, Chief Strategy, Growth Officer/PayPal
Blitzscaling:

Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

The case studies you’re about to explore and the tools you’re about to gain have never been more relevant. This is an ideal moment to be reading this book.
Bill Gates
Founder/Microsoft

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Sorrell, CEO of the communications house/ad agency, WPP, has a rather eclectic mix this summer:

 

  • Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency—James Andrew Miller
  • Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes—Richard Davenport-Hines
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future—Ashlee Vance

 

Sir Martin Sorrell
CEO/WPP

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

It's important that we make this transformation, because of what Clayton Christensen calls the innovator's dilemma, where people who invent something are usually the last ones to see past it, and we certainly don't want to be left behind.

Steve Jobs
Founder/Apple
Crossing

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers

This is a key component in my Purple Cow thinking, but with a twist. I'm not as worried about the chasm as I am about the desire of marketers to go for the big middle.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
The

The Cluetrain Manifesto

Then, again when I was younger, at the beginning of 2000s, Seth Godin’s Purple Cow and The Cluetrain Manifesto were two pieces of work I’d always refer to, as well as Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, later on when I was looking at how to become a better tech entrepreneur.
Dragos Novac
CEO/Nordic 9

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

I could probably name a dozen books here, but I’ll point out The Business Model Generation and Value Prop Design from Strategyzer. I steal from these constantly and are engrained in my work process. These books put into practice really taught me how to think. As soon as I saw that everything should have a foundation of empathy, what good user-testing looks like, how to test and iterate it changed everything. After that any problem could be solved. It wasn’t solving one big monolithic problem. It was going through a process.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager

Rich20Something: Ditch Your Average Job, Start an Epic Business, and Score the Life You Want

Rich20Something reminded me that my goals aren't too far off, and that, regardless of my age, I can create a business that gives me freedom and great income!
Arne Giske
Founder/The Millennial Entrepreneur podcast
Chaos

Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine

Chaos Monkeys was a fun one that I read recently. About kind of M&A, and growing a business in Silicon Valley over the last five years.
Mike Dudas
Co-founder/Button
Material

Material World: A Global Family Portrait

I have a long list of books that I would like to get to soon. For now, as a female, first-time entrepreneur, I would recommend Lean In, The Lean Startup and The Material World.
Meenakshi Sharma
Founder/DateFyx

Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que Biz-Tech)

One of the five books Jeff recommends to young people interested in his career path.
Jeff Gibbard
Chief Brand Officer/From The Future
Big

Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Inovation

Downes and Nunes provide some very thought-provoking guidance to existing businesses about how to compete, innovate, and win in this new world of the disruptive startup.
Michael Dell
CEO/Dell
Unstoppable

Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High-Performance Leadership

Unstoppable Teams proves that with the right leadership ordinary people can do the extraordinary. Drawing from against-the-odds successes in business ventures and military missions, Mills shares the secrets for building a team that can do the seemingly impossible. Read it and take your team from stuck to unstoppable.
Liz Wiseman
Researcher, Executive Advisor, Author

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

When it comes to work books I definitely like to ask my leaders what their favorite books are. There are lots of repeats (Crossing the Chasm, Innovator's Dilemma & Solution, Lean Startup, etc), but every now and then someone will have a really unique one that I’ll read. I always read those right away. I’ve also taken book recommendations & then not read the book for like a year. I’ll go back and say, “Hey I finally read that book you recommended forever ago.” It’s fun.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager
Scrum

Scrum and XP from the Trenches

Many, but here’s a short list, for both entrepreneurs and team leaders:
  • The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel
  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  • Scrum and XP from the Trenches by Henrik Kniberg
  • ReWork – Jason Fried
Mircea Scarlatescu
Co-Founder/123flori.ro

How to be the Luckiest Person Alive!

I donʼt think a single book changed the way I see things or my career path. Iʼm trying hard to think now of something that impacted me in such a way… Maybe to some extent James Altucher did (James Altucher - How to be the Luckiest Person Alive!). Heʼs kind of a recognized author nowadays, but I remember following him on Twitter 7-8 years ago, when he was still up and coming, and his almost comical, seemingly self-destructive advice on just doing your thing and not paying attention to others made a lot of sense to me.

I was at that time in the midst of my first company, which looking back did alright, and all of us co-founders have done well, but as it was developing it was really the proverbial roller-coaster from the startup war stories. And much like with Richard Feynman whom I already mentioned above, Altucherʼs witty observations on living life and doing business were a great source of support.

Later, in 2011, the book came out based on his earlier blog posts and I remember pre-ordering it just out of gratitude for those earlier writings. And I have to admit, I havenʼt really been reading him since then.

Max Gurvits
Director/Cross Border Angels
The

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

I've seen so many people thrust into management in high-growth companies with so little guidance. From now on, I will hand them this book. Its practical wisdom is immediately useful for the newly minted manager — and us old ones.
Ev Williams
Co-Founder/Twitter, CEO/Medium
Jobs

Jobs to Be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation

Question: What books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path?

Answer: Four Hour Work Week, The $100 startup and Jobs to be done . I like books that share examples of real world approaches to getting something off the ground.

Dean Roller
Founder/Bliss Bean Bags
Braving

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

One thing I have learned is that some books don’t stick or I’m not ready for them at that time and that’s ok. Now if I get 50 or 100 pages in and lose interest I don’t struggle through the rest of it. I put it down and find another book. I try to just stick with books that I think about when I’m not reading. When I’m standing in line somewhere or walking and think “I wonder what’s next.” That’s a good book. I’m in the middle of Brene Brown’s new book right now.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager
Born

Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do

There is nothing better than doing what you were born or created to do. This book is all about that journey of learning what you were born to do.
Michael Woodward
CEO & Founder/jumbleThink

The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

I am currently reading The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. I was introduced to the author, Scott Galloway during his appearance on the aforementioned Recode Decode podcast, specifically episode released on September 14. His opinion and thoughts on the big 4 (Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google) lead me to research him. I put a hold on his book from my local library and waited a few weeks. A great thing about this book is its recency, for example, it includes Amazon’s recent acquisition of WholeFoods. So far, it has covered, in entertaining detail, Amazon and Apple. The author writes with great knowledge, mixed with the right amount of wit. The author argues that Apple is sex, Google is God, Facebook is love and Amazon is our gut. By aligning with these roles in our lives, they have become wildly successful. I hope to hear an expansion of his positions he discussed on the podcast, and hope to apply some of strategies into my own startup.
Craig Pearce
Co-Founder/Kid Genius
Invisible

Invisible Selling Machine

John thinks that Digital Marketer founding CEO Ryan Deiss' 2015 book is a great introduction to sales tactics for the new entrepreneur.
Daymond John
Founder/FUBU
The

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

Question: What five books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path & why?

Answer:

  • Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki
  • Second Chance - Robert Kiyosaki
  • Why the Rich Are Getting Richer - Robert Kiyosaki
  • The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience - Carmine Gallo
  • The Little Voice Mastery - Blair Singer
Jack H. M. Wong
Trainer & Author
Devils

Devils

I’m currently reading The Devils by Dostoevsky, and I expect to glean absolutely nothing from it but the pleasure of disconnecting from any other literature that requires me to learn a skill for the company. The overburdening characters and plethora of words for something that could otherwise be said in an instant is a type of therapeutic brain massage in an environment where saying as little as possible with maximum effect is the plow that tills the soil in startup atmosphere.
Ari Iaccarino
Co-Founder/Ridj-it

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

This book is my favorite thing he has produced. Unlike most non-fiction books, This Is Marketing does a good job of not going on too long or belaboring the point. Seth deliver succinct actionable insights, some of which I’ve already implemented with the Piper and Going Deep brands.
Aaron Watson
CEO/PiperCreative
Showstopper!:

Showstopper!: The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft

If you're interested in high tech as a career path then I'd recommend a series of case studies around the development of products / founding of companies. Here are four examples:

  • Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder (1981)
  • Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure by Jerry Kaplan (1996)
  • Show Stopper by G Pascal Zachary (1994)
  • The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator by Randall Stross (2013)
  • The Everything Store by Brad Stone (2014)

These books all tell the tale of starting a company or building a product and despite covering a time span of 30+ years and multiple generations of technology the remarkable thing is just how very, very similar they are. While the technology changes, the process of creating something from whole cloth doesn't. That's a great lesson for people to learn.

Scott Johnson
Freelance Software Engineer
Mastering

Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain

This [reading something helpful] happens with pretty much every book I read. Most recently it happened to me when I was reading “Mastering Bitcoin” by Andreas Antonoupolous. I had no idea what the components of a Bitcoin wallet address were and he elegantly explains them in detail in chapter 4. It’s particularly relevant because we started CBlocks and we focus almost exclusively on wallet generation for our customers.
Auston Bunsen
Co-Founder/CBlocks

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs

If you want to find a niche and adapt to the marketing, one of my favorite techniques is Inbound Marketing. Great book to understand what's inbound marketing and how you can use effectively this technique for your business or clients.
Ionut Danifeld
Co-Founder/DevMark.co
Bird

Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

It was wonderful to read these two provocative books of essays by two incredibly wise and compassionate women. [...] Anne Lamott’s book is ostensibly about the art of writing, but really it too is about life and how to tackle the problems, temptations and opportunities life throws at us. Both will make you think and both made me a better person this year.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
The

The Motivation Hacker

A book called the Motivation Hacker by Nick Winter is written well and too the point. We all struggle with motivation and building positive habits, and the book made me see habits in a new light with the idea of building success spirals.
Cody McLain
CEO/SupportNinja
The

The Obstacle is the Way

Follow these precepts and you will revolutionise your life.
Steven Pressfield
Author/The War of Art
Running

Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works

For business, I've read Influence by Robert Cialdini 3 times, and Traction by Gabriel Weinberg twice, so if number of times read indicates favor, then those are it. There are a whole bunch of others, like The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, Confession of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, and Running Lean by Ash Maurya, that I've also enjoyed and recommend to people.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
Alibaba's

Alibaba’s World: How a remarkable Chinese company is changing the face of global business

For business insight, check out Alibaba's World by Porter Erisman and Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant.
Vanessa Keng
Co-Founder/The Golden Concepts
Alexander

Alexander Hamilton

Winston Ma
Managing Director/China Investment Corporation

The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business: Make Great Money. Work the Way You Like. Have the Life You Want

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Collins briefed Amazon executives on his seminal management book before its publication. Companies must confront the brutal facts of their business, find out what they are uniquely good at, and master their fly wheel, in which each part of the business reinforces and accelerates the other parts, Stone writes.
Jeff Bezos
CEO/Amazon
100

100 Side Hustles: Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job

Chris Guillebeau often says, 'Inspiration is good, but inspiration combined with action is so much better,' and this collection of side hustles is an invaluable resource for both inspiration and action. It’s packed with practical and engaging ideas, tips, strategies, and, most helpful, real-life examples of people who have succeeded.
Gretchen Rubin
Author
The

The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living

I first heard the term 'deferred life plan' in this fantastic book by Randy Komisar. It has been especially relevant for me, since it is a story about a silicon valley entrepreneur and teaches the idea that there are many things more important than money. The book poses the question what would you be willing to do for the rest of your life? and persuasively argues that if you will do that, the money will follow.
Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer
Steve

Steve Jobs

It’s unusual for modern biographies to be this good. It’s especially unusually for the subject of the biography to approach the biographer in the way that Steve Jobs did (thinking that he was the intellectual heir of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein). But despite those two things, this bio is and will likely forever be a classic. It shows Jobs at his best–determined, creative, prophetic–and at his worst–petty, selfish, tyrannical and vicious. You can learn just as much about what kind of leader you probably don’t want to be from this book as you can from anything else. That’s what is so strange about Jobs and this biography. You read it and you’re blown away and impressed but I think very few of us think: yeah, I want to be that guy. I want to treat my kids that way, I want to be obsessed with trivial design things that way, I want to hate that way, and so on. You admire him but you also see him as a tragic figure. That’s how you know that Isaacson did an amazing job with this book. TC mark
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Blue

Blue Ocean Strategy

There are the normal ones that everybody loves. There would be Rich Dad Poor Dad, Who Moved My Cheese?; I love all the Dale Carnegie books; The One Minute Manager. I love newer ones like Blue Ocean Strategy and all the Freaknomics books.
Daymond John
Founder/FUBU
Creative

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

Another book that has helped me in a specific moment was “Creative Confidence”. I don’t remember which part helped me, but I can remember that I had some mornings in which I woke up at 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning just to start my day reading something creative.
Robert Katai
Founder/Instagramology
Regenesis:

Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Who Can You Trust?: How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

I loved Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck. There’s a reason this book is blowing up. It’s that good.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Great

Great Expectations

Today is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime.
Richard Branson
Founder/Virgin Group
Liberation

Liberation Management: Necessary Disorganization for the Nanosecond Nineties

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
The

The Drowned Cities

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Flash

Flash Foresight

The Joy of Not Working (Zelinkski), Flash Foresight (Burrus), The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Gracian), Sapiens (Yuval), The End of Jobs (Pearson), Deep Work (Newport), Sovereign Individual (Davidson), The Fourth Economy (Davison) & The Monk & the Riddle (Komisar). Every single one of these books completely changed how I looked at everything in the world & literally pushed my life in a new direction. They were Paradigm Shifting as they say. (hate that word but it really was a Paradigm Shift for me).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Reboot:

Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up

Jerry and I learned how to be VCs together. But more importantly, we learned how to be humans to the leaders who are entrepreneurs. Leadership is extremely difficult, and great leaders are intensely introspective, as they must learn about themselves to be effective long-term. With this book, Jerry helps any leader go deep on all aspects of their journey.
Brad Feld
Investor, Co-Founder/Foundry Group
The

The Fourth Economy: Inventing Western Civilization

The Joy of Not Working (Zelinkski), Flash Foresight (Burrus), The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Gracian), Sapiens (Yuval), The End of Jobs (Pearson), Deep Work (Newport), Sovereign Individual (Davidson), The Fourth Economy (Davison) & The Monk & the Riddle (Komisar). Every single one of these books completely changed how I looked at everything in the world & literally pushed my life in a new direction. They were Paradigm Shifting as they say. (hate that word but it really was a Paradigm Shift for me).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
The

The Walking Drum

I'd say it was back during my teenage years at High School, feeling very down when my grandfather passed away & overall just feeling VERY lost direction wise in life. I retreated to my books & the ones that still stick with me are Louis L’Amour's The Education of a Wandering Man & his Medieval adventure The Walking Drum. They entranced me & helped me to get my spirits back up.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
The

The Great Gatsby

When he got to high school, the president said, his tastes changed and he learned to enjoy classics like “Of Mice and Men” and “The Great Gatsby.”
Barack Obama
Former USA President
Ship

Ship Breaker

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Lateral

Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step

While I was thinking of the best books to add to this short list, I realized that not even half of them are directly related to digital marketing. This is because I believe that the best marketers are people who understand human nature deeply and aim to bring out the best in it. Call me naive, but that’s how I see it. If I were to want to pursue a career in marketing, I’d read [...] Lateral Thinking.
Andra Zaharia
Freelance Content Marketer/The Content Habit
Investment

Investment Biker: Around the World with Jim Rogers

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

The Education of a Value Investor: My Transformative Quest for Wealth, Wisdom, and Enlightenment

I am currently reading The Education of a Value Investor- Guy Spier. I am very interested in Value Investing and I tried reading The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham but it was too difficult for me to understand. So I decided to read this first before revisiting the Holy Grail of Value Investing.
Benjamin Kwan
Co-Founder/TravelClef
A

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
The

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

The Joy of Not Working (Zelinkski), Flash Foresight (Burrus), The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Gracian), Sapiens (Yuval), The End of Jobs (Pearson), Deep Work (Newport), Sovereign Individual (Davidson), The Fourth Economy (Davison) & The Monk & the Riddle (Komisar). Every single one of these books completely changed how I looked at everything in the world & literally pushed my life in a new direction. They were Paradigm Shifting as they say. (hate that word but it really was a Paradigm Shift for me).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Badass Your Brand: The Impatient Entrepreneur’s Guide to Turning Expertise into Profit

Finally, a book that tells you how to put up a velvet rope in front of your business and get more of the clients you want and deserve! Whether you're building a services business or a personal brand, this book provides a roadmap to making bank, in a smart and authentic way. Pia is a total pro (and a laugh riot). I can't wait to recommend this book to every entrepreneur who feels stuck. Pia got unstuck, and so can you.
Julia Pimsleur
Founder/Little Pim
The

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less

After reading The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch, I decided that extreme questions were the forcing function I needed.
Tim Ferriss
Author & Entrepreneur
Man's

Man’s Search for Meaning – The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust

Frankl is one of the most profound modern thinkers on meaning and purpose. His contribution was to change the question from the vague philosophy of “What is the meaning of life?” to man being asked and forced to answer with his actions. He looks at how we find purpose by dedicating ourselves to a cause, learning to love and finding a meaning to our suffering. His other two books on the topic, Will To Meaning and Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning have gems in them as well.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check

The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World

If you read to maintain motivation and be entertained, I recommend a few books that in addition to telling great stories, also contain lessons and learnings. You won’t gain many step-by-step type lessons from these books but you will come away realizing that not all startups, regardless of what stage they are in, are as well polished as they make you think. You will realize that they make mistakes and struggle through the same things you struggle through when first starting out. I find this helps motivate me.
Craig Pearce
Co-Founder/Kid Genius

Never Work Again: Work Less, Earn More, and Live Your Freedom

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Street

Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
The

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife and Garth Stein's The Art Of Racing In The Rain made me cry.
Gabriel Coarna
Founder/Readable
Snow

Snow Crash

Brin said he is a big sci-fi fan, and Stephenson's acclaimed 1992 novel Snow Crash is one of his favorites. The book was really 10 years ahead of its time, Brin said. It kind of anticipated what's going to happen, and I find that really interesting.
Sergey Brin
Co-Founder/Google
Streampunks:

Streampunks: YouTube and the Rebels Remaking Media

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Work

Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less

Work the System (Carpenter), which is one of the best books you can get on scaling yourself & your business. It’s excellent & wish I had read it earlier in my career.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Give

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Gotta say, I'm pretty flattered every time asks me if I've read @AdamMGrant book Give and Take. Good guy. Good book
Simon Sinek
Best-selling Author

Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
The

The Windup Girl

Novels: The Windup Girl and Pattern Recognition are chock full of images and ideas that will stick with you for months.

Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
Seeing

Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

Like Charlie Munger once said: “I’ve long believed that a certain system - which almost any intelligent person can learn - works way better than the systems most people use [to understand the world]. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually fit together in a way that enhances cognition. Just as multiple factors shape every system, multiple mental models from a variety of disciplines are necessary to understand that system. You can read this book to start building a latticework of mental models in your head.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
Dare

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

With Dare to Lead, Brené brings decades of research to bear in a practical and insightful guide to courageous leadership. This book is a road map for anyone who wants to lead mindfully, live bravely, and dare to lead.
Sheryl Sandberg
COO/Facebook

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5

Entrepreneurs largely celebrate the end of the dreaded 9-to-5 and are ready to dive headfirst into a world where they call the shots. The End of Jobs argues that rapid advancements in technology and globalization are leveraging points in the accumulation of wealth, meaning and freedom. This eye-opening book will give reluctant entrepreneurs the nudge they need, with sobering statistics on why the century-long growth in wages stopped in 2000, and why MBAs and JDs can't land jobs, let alone pay off their significant debt.
Sujan Patel
Co-Founder/Web Profits

The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked

The Joy of Not Working (Zelinkski), Flash Foresight (Burrus), The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Gracian), Sapiens (Yuval), The End of Jobs (Pearson), Deep Work (Newport), Sovereign Individual (Davidson), The Fourth Economy (Davison) & The Monk & the Riddle (Komisar). Every single one of these books completely changed how I looked at everything in the world & literally pushed my life in a new direction. They were Paradigm Shifting as they say. (hate that word but it really was a Paradigm Shift for me).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Clean

Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook

This is the bible for starting and running a restaurant. I recommend you get the printed version and the Kindle version. Use the Kindle version for quick reference and the printed version for study.

Chuck Rogers
Owner/Chuck Rogers Consulting
Tribe

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World

My good friend @tferriss is back with another great book. Tribe of Mentors features some of the most influential moguls across industries who offer advice on how to navigate life. It comes out Monday, so make sure you add this to your reading list.
Daymond John
Founder/FUBU
Adventure

Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Goliath's

Goliath’s Revenge: How Established Companies Turn the Tables on Digital Disruptors

Will your business be disrupted? Definitely. Do the disruptors have to be a small band of hackers in a garage? Definitely not. This book is full of practical tips for big companies to get a leg up on scrappy startups.
Adam Grant
Author
Anna

Anna Karenina

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Right on the Money: Doug Casey on Economics, Investing, and the Ways of the Real World with Louis James

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

We-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy

I will only recommend you read these books if you are into collaborative & shared resources startups. They talk about the rise of crowd based capitalism - a new way of organizing economic activity that may supplant the traditional corporate-centered model. They allow you to make quick comparisons & brainstorm ideas with the existing peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, China's Didi Kuaidi, and India's Ola.
Erik Cheong
Co-Founder/Park N Parcel
Antifragile:

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Like Charlie Munger once said: “I’ve long believed that a certain system - which almost any intelligent person can learn - works way better than the systems most people use [to understand the world]. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually fit together in a way that enhances cognition. Just as multiple factors shape every system, multiple mental models from a variety of disciplines are necessary to understand that system. You can read this book to start building a latticework of mental models in your head.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
The

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

I probably have recommended The Art of Learning and The 4-Hour Body, I'm not kidding, more than any other books.
Bryan Callen
Co-Host/The Fighter and the Kid

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

After working at many startups and now running my own company, the one difference I have observed between good and great companies (and products) is how oriented the org is toward learning, The more people in an organization learn, the more value they create for the whole company.
Josh Brewer
Co-founder/Abstract
The

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Idea to Execution: How to Optimize, Automate, and Outsource Everything in Your Business

Probably Idea to Execution: How to Optimize, Automate, and Outsource Everything in Your Business, because it’s by Ari Meisel who interviewed me on his podcast in 2014 on the topic of less doing.
Andrea Loubier
CEO/MailBird
The

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

If you read to maintain motivation and be entertained, I recommend a few books that in addition to telling great stories, also contain lessons and learnings. You won’t gain many step-by-step type lessons from these books but you will come away realizing that not all startups, regardless of what stage they are in, are as well polished as they make you think. You will realize that they make mistakes and struggle through the same things you struggle through when first starting out. I find this helps motivate me.
Craig Pearce
Co-Founder/Kid Genius
The

The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age

The Joy of Not Working (Zelinkski), Flash Foresight (Burrus), The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Gracian), Sapiens (Yuval), The End of Jobs (Pearson), Deep Work (Newport), Sovereign Individual (Davidson), The Fourth Economy (Davison) & The Monk & the Riddle (Komisar). Every single one of these books completely changed how I looked at everything in the world & literally pushed my life in a new direction. They were Paradigm Shifting as they say. (hate that word but it really was a Paradigm Shift for me).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

I chose this book because it taught me how important it is that your business represents you and that you passionately believe in it. I also learned from it the importance of organizational culture, and that the endpoint of a sale should always be customer's happiness, not the money-product/service exchange.
Robert Hajnal
Founder/Trail Running Academy

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer

Kelly is a legitimate fantasy and sci-fi nerd. He knows Dune by Frank Herbert and The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson inside and out. Kelly has daughters and texted me about the latter book, which follows a young female protagonist: How do you raise girls that are of the system but crush the system while rebuilding a better one?
Kelly Starrett
Owner/CrossFit
The

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

How do you explain Warren Buffett? Everyone knows that in a deep and liquid capital market like that of the US, it is just about impossible to beat the stock market averages over anything more than the short term. But Buffett has been ahead of the curve for most of the past 50 years, making him one of the world’s richest people. Alice Schroeder’s massive authorised biography, The Snowball, provides some clues about how he’s done it.
Richard Lambert
Director-General/Confederation of British Industry

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

I'll give you two books that changed my life. I've probably only read four but, first one The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth by Chris Brogan, my good friend Chris. That book changed my life. That book was the beginning of me falling in love with who I truly was versus what I tried to be.
Scott Oldford
Founder/LeadCraft
Turning

Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great

Here are some of the books that have been very impactful for me, or taught me a new way of thinking: [...] Turning the Flywheel.
Chris Goward
Founder/WiderFunnel & GO Group Digital
The

The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).

Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Company

Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business

Growth has been hacked to simply mean “more”. More revenue, more customers, more employees, more products, more, more, more. That’s a tragically myopic view of growth. Paul Jarvis will help you open your eyes to a broader, wiser definition of growth. One of learning, one of betterment, one of contentment. There’s never been a more opportune time to launch or run companies that embrace having and being “enough”. The most important ingredient is a new worldview. Company of One can give you just that.
David Heinemeier Hansson
Co-Founder/Basecamp
Hedge:

Hedge: A Greater Safety Net for the Entrepreneurial Age

My favourite book in 2018 was HEDGE by Nicolas Colin. The book resonated with me in many ways, but the two most important angles would be:

As a corporate strategist in the fintech vertical, the book has captured my imagination by surfacing a few important paradigm shifts, such as the rise of the multitude as a power structure in the corporate value-chain (end-users are now both consumers and suppliers), the implications of increasing returns to scale to business models, and the imperative of reinventing consumer finance and insurance based on how people will live and work in the future (more hunting, less settling, changing jobs faster, the new reality of continuous risks that are now part of people’s lives). As I grasped with this perspective, and then re-assessed the current fintech landscape, it gave me a new theory about the startups that might be the winners in this space – because there’s a difference between radical reinvention of finance and the simple digitization of it, by applying a layer of tech on top of existing practices.

Personally, the book resonated with me mostly by flagging the asymmetry between today’s job market realities (people hunt more and the career is re-defined as a series of gigs across the world), versus the policymakers’ failure to grasp with these new realities and create new institutions that are designed to remove the friction that comes with this unprecedented geographical and economic dynamism. Having changed countries twice in the past 2 years, I experienced first-hand the downside of economic-hunting and the failure of the current societal infrastructure to serve us – from banking services, to housing, to governmental institutions. But this vacuum creates opportunity, especially for existing or future entrepreneurs as the book clearly illustrates, and this opportunity is what has been keeping me up at night, lately.

Dan Colceriu
Creator/Strategy, Digested newsletter
Shoe

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

As a general rule, most new memoirs are mediocre and most business memoirs are even worse. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is an exception to that rule in every way and as a result, was one of my favorite books of the year and favorite business books ever. I started reading it while on the runway of a flight and figured I’d read a few pages before opening my laptop and working. Instead, my laptop stayed in my bag during the flight and I read almost the entire book in one extended sitting. Ostensibly the memoir of the founder of Nike, it’s really the story of a lost kid trying to find meaning in his life and it ends with him creating a multi-billion dollar company that changes sports forever. I’m not sure if Knight used a ghostwriter (the acknowledgements are unclear) but his personal touches are all over the book—and the book itself is deeply personal and authentic. The afterward is an incredibly moving reflection of a man looking back on his life. I loved this book. It ends just as Nike is starting to turn into the behemoth it would become, so I hold out hope that there may be more books to follow.

Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
It's

It’s Your Business: 183 Essential Tips that Will Transform Your Small Business

If you know an entrepreneur, give them a copy of @jjramberg new book to help them on their journey.
Simon Sinek
Best-selling Author
Ready

Ready Player One

I'm not someone that chooses favourites, however, the most recent book that I got a lot out of and which, for me, spans both business and non-business is 'Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline.

It was recommended by the VP of Labs at Unity as a book to help appreciate the potential of how virtual reality can impact our future. It certainly achieved that. There's no doubt that it helped my mind delve into the potential opportunities that VR will provide both for Artomatix (an AI for art creation company I helped co-found) and many other startups.

It also is a fun read that references a lot of classic games from the 1980's and I'm looking forward to the movie that's coming out. Hopefully, the movie will be as good as the book.

Neal O'Gorman
Serial Entrepreneur

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog

Prior to getting into books about business and startups, I read mostly fictional books, and mostly about dogs (think Marley and Me or The Art of Racing In The Rain).
Craig Pearce
Co-Founder/Kid Genius

Guards! Guards!

Growing up, I loved fantasy worlds - Middle Earth, Discworld and Narnia were where I loved to let my mind wander. I think if I had to pick a favourite then, it would be Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. That was the first Discworld book I read where I realised there was another level to it - that Discworld was satirical. I went back and started reading the whole collection from The Colour of Magic onwards, and haven't missed one since.
Dave Child
Founder/Readable.io
Connected

Connected Strategy: Building Continuous Customer Relationships for Competitive Advantage

This insightful book blends academic rigor with practical, step-by-step tools that can help you design innovative business models for the Networked Age. Connected Strategy shows how to leverage continuous connectivity and emerging AI to make deep relationships that benefit customers and businesses alike. Read this book if you want to build a business model of the future.
Reid Hoffman
Co-Founder/LinkedIn
The

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism

I will only recommend you read these books if you are into collaborative & shared resources startups. They talk about the rise of crowd based capitalism - a new way of organizing economic activity that may supplant the traditional corporate-centered model. They allow you to make quick comparisons & brainstorm ideas with the existing peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, China's Didi Kuaidi, and India's Ola.
Erik Cheong
Co-Founder/Park N Parcel

New to Big: How Companies Can Create Like Entrepreneurs, Invest Like VCs, and Install a Permanent Operating System for Growth

New to Big is a great how-to book for change leaders seeking to drive scalable, profitable growth in big companies, reminding us how to use deep questioning, masterful listening, and a learning culture to discover the ‘commercial truth’!
Kate Johnson
President/Microsoft U.S.
From

From Impossible To Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Question: What books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path?

Answer:

  • Rework, Getting real and Remote - The combo from Fried and DHH.
  • Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
  • From Impossible To Inevitable by Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin
  • How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross
  • Content Machine by Dan Norris
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
  • Contagious by Jonah Berger

 

Vincenzo Ruggiero
CEO/Prospect.io
Execution:

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

‘Execution’ by Lawrence Bossidy and Ram Charan is a book that talks about decentralization and the fact that you are supposed to relinquish control to get things done. However, It’s one of the key learnings that most startups fail to understand. Luckily, the book has taught me great things about entrepreneurship.
Faisal Amin
Co-Founder/Fruitbowl Digital
Principles:

Principles: Life and Work

Ray Dalio has provided me with invaluable guidance and insights that are now available to you in Principles.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft