22 Books For Startup Founders Check out Swala’s favorite books for startup founders below (broken down by subject).
Operations operations-booksWhen it comes to operating a startup, there is no better person to learn from than a founder or operator who has been there before. Check out our favorite books for operating and scaling a startup below:
The Lean Startup by Eric RiesBefore writing The Lean Startup, Eric co-founder IMVU where they efficiently built a minimum viable product in 6 months. “The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.”
The Startup Playbook by Rajat Bhargava & Will HermanRajat Bhargave and Will Herman both have careers founding and leading startups. As the authors put it, “The Startup Playbook is full of our advice, guidance, do’s, and don’ts from our years of experience as founders many times. We want to share our hard-earned knowledge with you to make success easier for you to achieve.”
Zero to One by Peter Thiel & Blake MastersPeter Thiel co-founded PayPal, Palantir, and Founders Fund. It is safe to say that he knows what it takes to innovate and invent. “Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.” Check out why Su Sanni, Founder of Dollaride, has found Zero to One to be the book that has helped him most during his time as a founder below:
Measure What Matters by John DoerrJohn Doerr has been a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins since the 1980s. He has invested in companies like Compaq, Amazon, and Google. “In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations.”
Leadership & Management leadership-and-management-booksStartups are in constant competition for 2 resources: capital and talent. A founder or CEOs ability to lead and manage their team is vital to a startup’s ability to attract and retain top talent. Check out our favorite books to help founders improve their leadership skills below:
Startup CEO by Matt BlumbergMatt Blumberg is the CEO of Bolster (and former CEO of ReturnPath). Being a startup CEO, especially for the first time, is difficult. There is no playbook or training to become a startup CEO like there is for large corporations. In Startup CEO, Matt draws on his own experience to cover what he has learned in everything from hiring to company strategy.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben HorowitzBen Horowitz started his career as a founder but is most famous for his role at Andreessen Horowitz. In The Hard Things About Hard Things, Ben is honest about the difficulties that come with founding and running a successful company. He shares “the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies.”
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen CoveyStephen Covey has a successful career as a business and self-help author. Stephen studies highly successful people and lays out the 7 habits that help individuals move from dependence to independence. The 7 habits are:
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- First things first
- Think win-win
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
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