The Top Ten: Our Ultimate Reading List for Early Stage Startups
By James Martin
April 22nd, 2020
Finding your feet in the startup world is no easy task. However, getting to grips with all the tricks of the trade couldn’t be made easier with our list of go-to books.
Here we present our top ten must-reads, in no particular order, for any pre-seed entrepreneur:
1 - Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, Chris Voss
Who better to learn from about the fine art of negotiating than from an ex-FBI hostage negotiator? This book is a valuable source of knowledge for all salespeople, offering tips on setting influence, and how to get what you want, skills every entrepreneur must refine on the path to success.
2 - Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, Simon Sinek
Sinek’s thought-provoking read will undoubtedly push you to delve deeper and question the purpose of your company. His words will surely rattle your cage, forcing you to check in with the direction of your project, perhaps even forcing you to work on something better aligned with your vision and philosophy.
3 - Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success, Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown
If you’re looking to acquire customers and need to develop your marketing strategies, then look no further. This growth marketing book, a must-read for all founders, provides strategies on customer acquisition and even on how to run marketing experiments.
4 - Do More Faster: Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup, David Cohen & Brad Feld
Are you a newcomer to the world of startups? Then this is the book for you; a plethora of knowledge, including how to set up a company, reach out to customers and potential clients, and how to hire a team. This easy-read, consisting of bite-sized advice from people within the industry itself, will shine a light on all the crucial aspects of the industry.
5 - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance
As one of the greatest innovators of the 21st century, when it comes to changing the world, Elon Musk is quite the inspiration. Having brought together an incredible team and built a rocket that rivals those of whole governments, it is clear to see why this book has made it to our top ten must-reads for inspiration.
6 - Delivering Happiness: The Path to Passion, Profits and Purpose, Tony Hsieh
With the pressure on many startups to succeed financially, its’ not surprising that other important aspects fall to the wayside. This book will show the conscious entrepreneur how to cultivate a customer-centric business with the best company culture. Hsieh’s read is about more than just business; it’s a book about life too.
7 - Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms, Jeffrey Bussgang
Ever wondered what life is like on the other side? Written by an entrepreneur turned VC, this book provides the secrets to being able to anticipate and predict the moves of VCs. Slightly more technical and financial in terms of content then the other books listed here, but a read any entrepreneur should consider if they want to be one step ahead.
8 - Sprint: How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, Jake Knapp
The number one reason why a startup fails is lack of market; when a company builds a product that no one is interested in. This is the book that will help avoid that outcome by showing the reader how to test a product before they get started. Written and used by the team at Google, this book is a go-to for startups entering a new market.
9 - Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg
This read is up there as one of our favourites. Sandberg eloquently opens the reader’s eyes to the issues surrounding gender inequality, delicately balancing the responsibility upon men to support their women counterparts and women to take the lead themselves. A book not only to inspire, empower, and encourage women to take more risks, but a provoking read for everyone.
10 - The Lean Startup: How Today’s entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, Eric Ries
Wondering how to build your business? Well, this is the book for early-stage founders interested in getting their business validated, turning a profit, and laying the foundations for substantial company growth. Written and presented in simple steps, this easy read is perfect for any aspiring entrepreneur.