10 Best Startup Books For Entrepreneurs

Startups are important. Well, every major corporation was once a startup in the truest sense.

Startups help the economy grow while bringing in the much needed fast-paced, focussed innovation that is harder for large corporations to achieve in a short time-frame.

It is no surprise then that many are drawn in by “startup” philosophy and by the pioneers before them who showed the world how to grow and nurture a startup.

With that, let’s look at the 10 best startup books that every founder and entrepreneur must read to gain more insight into everything “startup”.

Here’s the list:

  1. Zero To One by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters
  2. Who by Geoff Smart, Randy Street
  3. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  5. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
  6. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  7. Good To Great by James C. Collins
  8. ReWork  by Jason Fried and David Hasson
  9. Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki
  10. Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson

Zero To One by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

Who is it for? All levels

zero to one peter thiel

Get inspired and learn from the tech icon Peter Thiel as he helps you get into the entrepreneurial mindset and the importance of starting something new. Zero to One brings to the forefront many startup-related topics such as how some startups to grow beyond their wildest dreams while some fail and the impact that globalisation has had on the startup culture.

The book goes into detail on how anyone, from anywhere, can succeed as long as they look to provide value to others or improve upon existing businesses. Learn how to self-introspect and tweak your reasons for begining a startup to make sure you succeed and make it – if not now, but in the near future.

Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart, Randy Street

Who is it for? Beginners/New Entrepreneurs

who geoff randy
Source: Goodreads

Yes, you read the title right and no, it has no typo. Who: The A Method for Hiring provides you with 4 simple and easy to follow steps the next time you look to hire an employee. To help drive the point, the 4 steps are backed with tonnes of data and examples from thousands of interviews from all over the industry.

Geoff and Randy help you avoid all the trial and error when it comes to hiring, especially if you’re new to it. The book also helps you realise the importance of hiring the right person and the repercussions of failing to do so. Since, startups are the most affected from a wrong hire the book methodically cover this as well as providing you with insights on how to prevent this by deciding “who” to hire when it comes to your startup or business.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Who is it for? Beginners/New Entrepreneurs

the lean startup
Source: Goodreads

Looking to being a startup? Get a fresh take on how to start your new venture from the book The Lean Startup. Eric Ries provides you with real-world approaches to building your startup.

This startup book helps bring a breath of fresh air in the form of new ways to go about achieving your startup goals in a faster manner. Here’s a quote from the author himself: “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else”. The book is an embodiment of this very quote and is an interesting read for those looking to give their businesses a much-needed head start.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Who is it for? All Level/Casual Readers

the art of war
Source: Goodreads

The book can be summed up perfectly just as the author put it: “Read this book once a year, and you won’t have to fight.” The Art of War is well-known and it is for a reason. The 2,500-year-old book is, to date, one of the most quoted and well-known pieces of literature when it comes to strategizing and preparing.

While most of it was written with war in mind, its teachings are even more relevant today – in the cut-throat and competitive competitive business world of recent years. From laying down strong foundations for your plans to scouting out your rivals to maintaining steady growth, The Art of War has something in it for everyone and not just entrepreneurs. The book provides clear-cut course of action – be it in business or life – to reach your goals.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Who is it for? Beginners

the $100 startup
Source: Goodreads

Looking for some startup motivation? The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is just what you need. While it does not go into as much technical details as most books on startups do, it does a great job of getting you motivated to be your boss and start a new venture rather than being stuck at a bench job.

This startup book helps give valuable lessons on starting businesses with a low budget and that you do not need millions as seed-funds to bring your idea to life. You will also find great examples of businesses that were (and can) bootstrapped for $100 or less and will be done with the book before you know it.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Who is it for? All Levels/Casual Readers

the hard thing about hard things
Source: Goodreads

The Hard Thing About Hard Things presents you with straight facts on the practical nature of starting a company and being an entrepreneur. Some obstacles will always get to you no matter how hard you prepare and book helps you prepare yourself to see these obstacles at the earliest. After all, hard problems require hard solutions and the book helps you understand that there is no “right” way of starting a business – it all depends on how you deal with the hard problems that you face along the way. You also get tips on how to get back on track in case you make a mistake while starting or operating a business venture.

Good To Great by James C. Collins

Who is it for? All Levels/Casual Readers

good to great jim collins
Source: Goodreads

Learn why some startups make it big while many do not and gain insight into the things that usually make or break a startup in order to be better prepared. Good To Great provides us with a collection of case studies and reasons why several companies and their founders reached great heights in their respective fields, while many fail to do so. Jim Collins helps you gain insight on the steps that the most successful companies go through and how to implement the same on your business or startup to achieve your goals. It helps you form a framework that you can follow for starting and growing your startup.

ReWork by Jason Fried and David Hasson

Who is it for? Beginners/New Entrepreneurs

rework jason david
Source: Goodreads

ReWork is quite similar to The $100 Startup, wherein the book shows you that while not a lot is required for you to create a startup in today’s day and age, it still requires your utmost focus and attention to do so.

This business book is quite different from the rest of the entries on this list in the fact that it helps you break the stereotypical mould on certain things such as – planning is sometimes actually more harmful, how working longer hours do not always increase productivity and why hiring and seeking investors should be your absolute last resort.

Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

Who is it for? Beginners

reality check guy kawasaki
Source: Goodreads

Guy Kawasaki is no stranger to startups and businesses. He was among the first few people to be hired by Apple when it first started and even helped build and market the Apple II computer.

In Reality Check, Guy provides you with simple, yet short, actionable advice on a wide range of themes realted to launching and operating a startup or business. Not just that, it is more of a self-help book since the author goes into providing insight on the things like job hunting, how to decide if startups fit your future goals, easy ways to connect with your company as well as fellow workers and so on.

The book has a straightforward approach to getting its points across and will help you jog your memory on all things startup.

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson

Who is it for? All Levels/Casual Readers

steve jobs biography
Source: Goodreads

Stimulate the entrepreneurial bug that lies dormant within you by reading Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography. Learn from the best as the autobiography follows Steve Jobs on his journeys and the hardships that he faced while starting and running Apple. The book can help act as a wealth of knowledge to newcomers and veterans alike on topics such as the different challenges that await when starting and running a business, methods to get your point across to your customers and how you may want to market yourself. You get to takeaway things like the importance of connecting with the user and being as straight-forward as possible in every experience that you provide and much more, which are essential when it comes to building a startup.

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