There are thousands of startup books and business-related books out there claiming to have all the answers on all business-related problems, and tips on all business-related questions of success and fallbacks. So for you, we asked our guests from DevReady Podcast about their favourite startup books for founders and gathered a list of the best 11 startup books for founders in 2022.
When starting a business, startup books can help you get inspiration and be motivated. Startup books are great resources to educate yourself, be aware of the trends, and seek guidance from those who are already at the peak of their businesses and careers.
So how do you choose?
Whether you’re just starting your business or someone who is already established, these are some of the most insightful books you need to read.
1. Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Zero to One is about how to build a business that creates new things. This presents a new way of thinking about innovation, by learning to ask the questions that will lead to the discovery of value in unexpected places.
This book is for entrepreneurs, founders, and inventors who want to start and invest in profitable businesses.
Peter Thiel encourages entrepreneurs to build valuable businesses and create a better future for all. This guidebook is geared toward those launching a technology startup, also, it gives plenty of ideas that can be applied to any industry.
2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a number one Amazon best-seller for a reason. This book will teach you how to run your new startup by educating you on how to use your capital efficiently and leverage human creativity on a budget.
The Lean Startup method teaches you how to steer a startup, when to turn and when to persevere, and grow a business as quickly as possible.
It is a fundamental approach to new product development.
3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
The Hard Thing About Hard Things provides an inside look at the difficult decisions and lonely times that all CEOs face before demonstrating what it takes to build a great organization and become a world-class leader.
No wonder that Ben Horowitz‘s book is regarded as one of the best startup books because aside from his trademark wit and humour embodied in the content, The Hard Thing About Hard Things offers startup founders actionable business insights and tools that new entrepreneurs need to succeed in this competitive startup environment.
This book has plenty of advice to help you solve the difficult decisions you’ll have to make while running your new business.
4. The Founder’s Dilemma by Noam Wasserman
The Founder’s Dilemma tells us about the early entrepreneurial decisions that can make or break a startup and its team.
If you’re starting a business, this is the book on how to build your leadership team and what not to do. This book is based on data and research, as well as anecdotal advice from an experienced entrepreneur.
Wasserman also vividly illustrates why certain approaches to entrepreneurship are superior to others by using real-world examples. Throughout the book, he emphasizes the importance of knowing when to maintain control and when to call on outside resources.
5. Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
This book goes into detail as to why the “who” in business is important.
They offered a simple and practical solution to this problem, and how to find and put the right people in the right roles, so they can make the right decisions and deliver meaningful results.
6. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
This book will tell you how to start a successful business based on the principles of the founders of some of the world’s most famous and accomplished startups.
In just one book, you can get startup advice from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Flickr, PayPal, and Hotmail founders and co-founders, among others.
7. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited is a must-read if you’re planning to lead a successful and effective startup team.
Michael Gerber identifies two primary archetypes in business leadership: technical mentality and entrepreneurial mentality. He stated that an entrepreneur understands when to delegate, allowing them to focus their efforts on the broader scope of business management and growth.
In his book, he also explains why small businesses fail, and how to overcome common mistakes, so you can build a successful business that not only works, but is also deeply rewarding for you, your customers, and your stakeholders.
8. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, by Gary Vaynerchuk
The key is to figure out what your customers want and what they need, and give it to them, rather than telling them what you want them to hear. Target their specific needs through specific social media platforms.
9. Running Lean by Ash Maurya
Running Lean is an excellent book for business managers, CEOs, small business owners, developers and programmers, and anyone else who wants to start a business project.
Ash Maurya, a successful entrepreneur, reveals in this hands-on book that “startups are risky business.”
In his book, Ash Maurya promises that “Running Lean is a repeatable, actionable process for building products, one that raises your odds for success by helping you identify your success metrics and measure progress against those metrics.”
The Running Lean framework is quite simple: validate the problem, create a solution, verify the solution. Then, iteratively develop your solution while testing and validating along the way.
This book provides specific, actionable instructions and templates for each step of the process.
10. Hooked by Nir Eyal
It’s for product designers, marketers, and anyone who wants to understand how products influence our behaviour, with practical insights and riveting examples ranging from the iPhone to Twitter, Pinterest, and the Bible App.
It’s the book Eyal wishes he’d had when he was a startup founder.
11. Legacy by James Kerr
Legacy by James Kerr examines how the leaders and team created the now-famous team culture that keeps them performing at their peak individually and collectively.
The book is an excellent read because it focuses on 15 clear, simple mantras that any other person, leader, or entrepreneur can use to generate momentum and a vision for change.
Here are some of the mantras you’ll read in this book:
- “Plant trees you’ll never see”
- “Find something you would die for and give your life to it”
- “Aim for the highest When referencing computing, the term 'cloud' refers to the generalisation of interconnected computers and services running on the Internet,...”
- “When you’re on top of your game, change your game”
Getting your startup off to a good start can be scary at times. But every now and then, it’s a good idea to step outside of your own head and realise that many accomplished people have been where you are now. You’ll need their advice on where to start, what pitfalls to anticipate, and how best to spend your time and money to get your idea off the ground.
Books can be an affordable way to get professional advice before starting your own business, they may give you solutions to problems you encounter, and tips and tricks for you to stay ahead of the competition.