3 books that every startup founder should read

It’s been a while since we gave you our list of the best five books every startup founder should read. Yet, we know entrepreneurs constantly and naturally want to get their eyes on literature, especially what everyone in their field seems to know or reference on an elevator or cab ride, at the office, or via a side chat on any of our processes. So, these are just a few reasons why we’re giving you yet another and updated set about 3 books that every startup founder should read. 

You’re looking at a filtered sort of the most common suggestions for startup founders and entrepreneurs out there. Of course, there’s tons of wisdom in the industry, so let’s see!

#1: The Startup of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman

Read it (pun intended) from LinkedIn’s co-founder and chairman himself. Reid paired with Ben Casnocha for this one. And that’s not that much of a surprise, really; Ben and Reid have multiple business relations, other literature together, and more. 

But, if Ben’s is a bit less familiar of a trajectory than Reid’s, BusinessWeek named him "one of America's best young entrepreneurs," and PoliticsOnline called him "one of the most influential people in the world of internet and politics." 

So, maybe you’ll find what these two have to say about startups to be excellent reading material. A lot of people certainly think so. But, there are also other reasons why this book made it to the top of our list. 

Why you should read it

Amazon’s editorial review, which you’ll find at the book’s location at their shopping site, highlights this book’s value. There are tons of quotes from diverse reputable sources saying so, as well. Amongst them, Fortune’s thoughts are recorded as follows:

“LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman has pulled off something extraordinary in his book-writing debut. He has challenged a well-worn idea….and replaced it with something better.”

The book is a chance to hear from a venture capitalist first-hand. This VC has been a founding Board member and executive VP of the likes of PayPal, an early investor on Facebook, and a partner at a VC firm of Greylock Partners’ caliber. We're barely mentioning but a few of Reid’s stellar milestones by this. 

#2: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

There’s little as unique and relevant as the business model slide when it comes to pitch-decks. And there's a reason for that. Behind that need stands a thriving Business Model Canvas (BMC). In our five keys to a successful business model slide, we defined the BMC as a model that helps “define the purpose of your business through your value proposition and network to get to your revenue projections.” Why does this matter? See below. 

Why you should read it

Alex is known as the inventor of the BMC. And the handbook he’s crafted with Pigneur that we bring to your attention here is all about the “strategy that will get you out in front of your competitors.” So the strategy is something we need to bring up as we put Alex’s work at the forefront. So, for example, judging by "Strategyzer,” as a name, which is the one he and his co-founders gave the “innovation powerhouse” company they built back in 2010. 

Osterwalder is just a reference or go-to-point, one of those innovators and leaders who has changed things around for a significant industry. That’s so much the case; even Steve Blank and Bob Dorf’s The Startup Owner’s Manual: The step-by-step guide for building a great company go over Alex’s BMC in detail as one of that famous book’s strengths. We recommended this other book as part of our best 5, by the way. 

The reason for that contemplation is most likely tied to how practical it becomes to implement changes while learning from the pair. Go over patterns and quickly put those to work for you. Grasp how the systems work to renew any and get a much better understanding of revenue streams, distribution channels, customers, and many other vital concepts for our startups (and any business, really!) 

#3: Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston

We’ve talked about the value of hearing about experienced game-changers of the startup industry as a way to carve our own ventures’ paths. And that couldn’t be truer with Livingston’s work. 

In this book, you get a “collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days.” Of course, the selection’s based on people whose names you’ve heard one way or another. It's all celebrities cutting. 

Why you should read it

Sometimes all we need is a little company. And hearing it first-hand from people who’ve been through similar journeys can genuinely help and motivate, aside from guide and direct our best efforts and dreams. Jessica manages to compile just that. 

The word out for this book is that it’s “the closest you can come to being a fly on the wall at a successful startup, to learn how it's done.”

You’ve heard of YCombinator from us before, right? Our CEO, Caya, asked DreamIt’s Andrew Ackerman, for example, how it's widely accepted that YCombinator is the top accelerator and why? Well, Livingston is a founding partner at Y Combinator, precisely. And the one behind this great mix of statements she presents in our last book recommendation. 

Pitch deck books 

Are you looking for pitch deck-specific recommendations, though? We’ve got you covered with our similar list of the best pitch deck books every founder should read

If entrepreneurship is your deal beyond focusing on startups, we’ve also got some material for you in our stock. Stay posted!

Our last tip: Audiobooks

Traditional paperback reading can be a struggle. If that’s true for you, there’s no shame in the practicality of picking up a tablet or phone to go for ebooks and audiobooks. Those can help us improve our knowledge while waiting in traffic or as a sleeping incentive before we hit the sack after a long day. 

Either way, know we always wish you the best. We hope you enjoy it!

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