This is an updating list of my favorite books for tech entrepreneurs, and hopefully, it will motivate some of you to read more.
As an entrepreneur, especially a first-timer, naturally you have a lack of knowledge on different topics. If you have a technological background, you might want to learn about marketing and sales. If you were in a business-oriented position before, you might want to get familiar with the basic principals of product management.
About three years ago, I started reading books that were not for mere "fun." These books are educational or informational on various topics. Over time, I started reading more and more and sometimes listen to some of them via audiobooks.
A tip for reading more books: Do it when you wake up, with the morning coffee, before starting your work – I do it before even checking my phone. 10 or 15 minutes every day add up – you'll be surprised.
A word on audiobooks: "Listening" to books is the new thing, and many books have a great audio version. It can be ideal when commuting or doing sports. I listen to books during long runs.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Although a relatively new book, this piece by Ben Horowitz (founder of Andreessen Horowitz) is already considered a classic among many. It describes the journey of Ben as an engineer, manager, and entrepreneur, through the many challenges that he experienced as a founder of a company. In my opinion, this story is fascinating, and I mostly learned a lot from it about hiring and the importance of having the best possible team when trying to succeed in the startup journey. I listened to the audiobook which was excellent.
Crossing the Chasm
Originally published in 1991, this book is still very relevant today. It talks about marketing in high-tech industries – how to market and sell innovative products, not just to the early adopters, but to the mainstream market – which is eventually the goal of any tech startup. Succeeding in doing so is known as "crossing the chasm." It is a book about tech marketing, and marketing on the internet correctly.
Survival to Thrival: Building the Enterprise Startup
Bob Tinker and Tae Hea Nahm
The go-to-market book. This one is not very familiar and was recommended to me by a friend. If you are an enterprise entrepreneur, then this book is for you. It talks about "the missing piece" – everyone talks about product-market fit, marketing, and sales – separately. This book ties all of them together in a very organized way, which makes it clear, at last, what it takes from a startup to proceed from a "survival" mode (founding and after) to a "thrival" mode – having an effective sales and marketing machine. It was co-written by a veteran entrepreneur and an experienced investor, provides many examples, and it is just great in general.
Give them a shot.
The Lean Startup
A book that became very popular, and for a good reason. Generally speaking, it is focused on product management, and specifically on lean product management, a philosophy that can be seen today in Scrum, and similar management methods.
Zero to One
This book by the co-founder of PayPal and one of the earliest investors in Facebook is actually a list of short "stories", or principals, which talk about the importance of having a significant differentiation in to beat your competition.
How to Get Rich
The story of Felix Dennis, a very successful (non-tech) entrepreneur in the UK. It is very well-written and amusing and provides some fundamental ideas about entrepreneurship in general.
Getting Things Done
This one is a classic about time management and efficiency. I honestly did not finish it yet, but just the first 10% provides some techniques that I implemented, and I was quite amazed by the immediate results.
A concise book published by the Harvard Business Review. Just read it, it's worth it.
Not just for entrepreneurs.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
The all-time classic about money management, investing, and how to retire and avoid the "mouse race." I highly recommend it.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
This one is about human relationships and communication. How to convince someone to take your side? What's the best way to respond in different situations? A few takeaways from this book can make a big difference in the way you communicate.
I'm currently reading or listening to the following books – will update soon.
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike / Phil Knight (audiobook)
- The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation / Matthew Dixon