Ask HN: What books helped you in your entrepreneurship journey?

Leaving aside the fact that nothing can beat actual experience. What books helped you in your entrepreneurship journey?

303 points | by Gooblebrai 402 days ago

78 comments

  • grepLeigh 402 days ago
    Most posts offer the obvious suggestions (The Mom Test, High Growth Handbook, The Personal MBA, The Power Law, Hard Thing about Hard Thing, Will It Fly, etc), so I'll focus on some non-obvious suggestions.

    For tactical advice, I find talks/podcasts and mastermind groups more useful than books. My favorite podcast (by far) is Rob Walling's Startups for the Rest of Us, which is oriented towards building a capital-efficient bootstrapped business. The archive is full of extremely valuable tactical advice.

    The books I've found most helpful on my entrepreneurship journey are about mental health, emotional intelligence, and relationships of all kinds. Sharing a few that have had a profound impact, since they helped me metabolize and understand what drove me to become a founder in the first place.

    1. The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook by Tim Desmond

    2. Path of Compassion by Thich Nhat Hanh

    3. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read, Philippa Perry

    4. Burnout, Emily Nagoski

    5. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, Lindsay C. Gibson

    6. Self-Compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff

    7. How to Keep House While Drowning, KC Davis

    8. Deploy Empathy, Michele Hansen

    9. The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel A. Van der Kolk

    10. Atlas of the Heart, Brene Brown

    11. What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey

    • Gooblebrai 401 days ago
      Thanks for the list!

      Your last phrase hits home. At the moment, one of the things I'm very focused on is understanding why do I want to become an entrepreneur in the first place.

      • grepLeigh 401 days ago
        Good luck on your journey!
  • jll29 402 days ago
    1. "Lean Startup" (pretty standard)

    2. "Spin Selling" (sales)

    3. "The Four-Hour Work Week" (not because of the way of life promised in the misleading title, but because of the links to useful Websites, and for motivational reading)

    4. "The One Billion Dollar App" (silly title but fantastic book from an actual taxi app product manager - I almost didn't buy it because of the title, thank God I opened it anyway and started reading about viral marketing which like the tracking of pandemic is based on the r coefficient).

    5. "Business Model Generation" (the mechanics of making money)

    6. "The Startup Owner's Manual"

    7. "Why Startups Fail" (anti-patterns - better read about them before you get trapped by them)

    8. "The Company Secretary Handbook" (UK only)

    9. "Die Unternehmergesellschaft (UG): Gründung, Geschäftsführung, Recht und Steuern für kleinere Unternehmen und Start-Ups" (Germany only)

    10. "Founders At Work" (motivational)

    11. "Financial Times Essential Guides Writing a Business Plan: How to win backing to start up or grow your business" (to get clarity, write a plan - for yourself, to align all co-founders and the team, to get VC funding, to convince yourself that the business is financially viable)

    • alex_lav 402 days ago
      Spin Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-payoff, or The Spin Selling Fieldbook: Practical Tools, Methods, Exercises and Resources?
      • jeron 401 days ago
        I think it's the former
    • diehell 401 days ago
      The One Billion Dollar App by Alex Bretton?
  • ary 402 days ago
    “The Mom Test” by Rob Fitzpatrick - How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you.

    https://a.co/d/8KzUk8b

    It ended up saving us a lot of time.

    • andrewmutz 402 days ago
      I can't recommend this book enough. Even if you have a lot of experience with early stage customer development, you'll learn things from The Mom Test
    • mdorazio 402 days ago
      I also think this is a must-read for would-be entrepreneurs. Probably nine times out of ten when someone tells me about their startup idea looking for advice I point them to this book first because they haven't done the basic validation yet and want to jump right into building something that no one actually wants.
    • jereze 402 days ago
      I absolutely recommend it.
  • dmkirwan 402 days ago
    I assume you're not interested in hearing the obvious ones (zero to one, lean startup, etc., etc.) so I'll recommend two.

    At the early stages when you're defining your strategy? "Good strategy/bad strategy" by Richard P. Rumelt. "Strategy" is thrown around a whole lot in business, often by somebody who is talking about a goal, as opposed to how to reach it. This book can get a little repetitive but the overarching teachings are valuable and will serve you well throughout your entrepreneurship journey.

    After the startup phase (growth/acquisition)? I recommend "The messy middle" by Scott Belsky.

    • hkhanna 402 days ago
      I read The Messy Middle and thought like the chapter titles were phenomenal, but felt everything in the actual chapters was fluff. Maybe I'll give it another try!
    • collin128 402 days ago
      The messy middle was fantastic. Only reason I didn't list it in my comment below was that I read it recently and I'm 11 years in.

      Highly recommend the book.

  • shw1n 402 days ago
    The E-Myth - creating systems and processes

    The Personal MBA - crash course MBA

    Founders At Work - understanding how different startups survived

    Buy Back Your Time - management and delegation

    The Charisma Myth - to help w/ charm for sales

    SPIN Selling - this + The Charisma Myth more than doubled our sales conversion rate

    These books were the most crucial for me

    • wpietri 402 days ago
      I second E-Myth and Founders at Work. And let me add Crossing the Chasm, which totally shaped my understanding of who buys what when.
      • ohjeez 398 days ago
        I came here to make sure Crossing the Chasm was on the list.
      • shw1n 402 days ago
        Wow completely forgot about crossing the chasm, good call
    • jll29 402 days ago
      +1 for mentioning Neil Rackham's (1988) classic "Spin Selling".

      Got it recommended from a friend after his exit (and after buying a French mansion from his share of the proceeds) when I asked him what he can recommend on understanding sales, in particular sales of (complex) technology. It's indeed a marvel for people new to selling.

  • herodoturtle 402 days ago
    Founder of a bootstrapped 17 year-old SaaS company here.

    I've read countless books on this topic.

    The book that helped me the most was "Good to Great" by Jim Collins.

    It has memorable nuggets of advice, summarised neatly into insightful chapters.

    Once you learn these nuggets you never forget them, and you end up leveraging them regularly in your day-to-day entrepreneurial decisions.

    It's a bit like Covey's 7 Habits book, but geared for entrepreneurs wanting to grow a successful business.

    Good luck on your journey. It's tough, but worth it.

    • harryvederci 401 days ago
      Do you have an example nugget that stuck with you?
      • jeron 401 days ago
        check out the Farnam Street Knowledge Podcast episode with Jim Collins[0]. Just from the webpage there's really good ideas as excerpts from the podcast

        [0]: https://fs.blog/knowledge-project-podcast/jim-collins/

      • herodoturtle 401 days ago
        The three I’ve used most frequently:

        1. Get the right people on the bus.

        2. The hedgehog concept.

        3. The flywheel.

  • samhsmith 402 days ago
    I don't understand how people here are recommending Zero to One and Lean Startup at the same time. They contradict each other. And in fact the Lean Startup is full of the kind of foolish post dotcom-crash thinking that Zero to One warns against.
    • pedalpete 402 days ago
      The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. - Scott Fitzgerald

      I disagree that the two ideas are completely opposed. They both describe tools in building something. Though if I think about how Zero to One is approached, I feel it's more of a manifesto on overcoming challenges, and doing challenging things. Lean Startup focuses on how to run small experiments.

      Nobody says building something challenging isn't just the process of running lots of experiments to find what works.

  • dadrian 402 days ago
    Systems of Engineering Management (Larson) - Best practical advice for dealing with software engineering teams

    Leading at the Speed of Growth (Catlin & Matthews) - Despite the title making me want to vomit, it has a bunch of practical advice about problems you'll encounter at various "stages" of a company, and how to identify what stage you're in.

    The First 90 Days (Watkins) - Useful if you ever take on a leadership role where the current state of the organization could be described as a "shitshow".

    Good Strategy / Bad Strategy (Rumelt) - Learn the difference between goals and strategy and plans.

  • manv1 402 days ago
    Traction, by Weinberg.

    It goes over the various sales channels. How you get customers should really be the #1 priority for your startup.

    Building stuff is easy. Getting customers is hard. And "if you build it they will come" doesn't really work most of the time IRL.

  • notsure357 402 days ago
    Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang

    Highly enjoyable read! This book really captures the entrepreneurial experience of interviewing for insights while focusing on the fear of rejection, which is a major problem that isn't typically found in most other books on entrepreneurship.

  • wslh 401 days ago
    I start with five:

    1. "Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company" by Andrew Grove. It is a real CEO experiencing critical moments in a top company.

    2. "How Life Imitates Chess" by Garry Kasparov (don't pay attention to the title...). Kasparov talks about different players with different styles and in different moments.

    3. "New Directions in the Philosophy of Mathematics" edited by Thomas Tymoczko. Embed epistemological questions that at a higher level could be applied to business. In a way (2) is epistemological regarding chess and it ends when Deep Blue beats Kasparov and Kasparov start thinking in a new kind of chess called advanced chess (even if it was not successful).

    4. Fred Wilson's blog, including MBA Mondays. Answers many questions from the perspective of a VC who can watch multiple companies execution at the same time and tell many humble stories.

    5. "Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft" by Paul Allen. It shows you the deep story before Microsoft, seems like a unique technological and advanced experience at that time by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Spoiler: the lucky IBM/DOS event is not why Microsoft is successful, the book gives you some deep roots before the company foundation.

  • erybodyknows 402 days ago
    ‘The Millionaire Fastlane’ by MJ DeMarco. Laughable title aside, the content is life changing.
    • all2 402 days ago
      I joined their forums about 10 years ago and asked a question about a business idea. Basically I was asking about starting a gold/silver business directory thing based on some business described in the book. I was trying to understand some basics of what was being said. My post was not well received and MJ himself came in to tell me what an idiot I was.

      I don't think I asked any more questions, and I left the PDF in the ash heap of my reading pile.

  • petercooper 402 days ago
    "Ready, Fire, Aim" by Michael Masterson. It's a bit cheesy, but it has a publishing industry slant which suited me and enough things resonated that filtered into decisions I made that I'm thankful for it. I never went it past the first half of the book as you're meant to be doing $10m revenue before you move on ;-)
  • rigmarole 402 days ago
    “Badass: Making Users Awesome” by Kathy Sierra. I don’t see it often in lists like these. But it’s an awesome and approachable book for framing your products, services, user journey, and marketing from the viewpoint of how they’ll make your users successful and feeling amazing.
  • im_down_w_otp 402 days ago
    The Divine Comedy and The Prince. Not joking.
    • scop 402 days ago
      I was going to suggest Moby Dick…also not joking!
  • mindcrime 402 days ago
    The Four Steps to the Epiphany - Steve Blank

    The Discipline of Market Leaders - Fred Wiersema and Michael Treacy

    It's Not the Big that Eat the Small...It's the Fast that Eat the Slow - Jason Jennings

    Mastering The Complex Sale - Jeff Thull

    How To Measure Anything - Douglas Hubbard

  • joshmanders 402 days ago
    Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling

    Company of One by Paul Jarvis

    • davidw 402 days ago
      Start Small, Stay Small is one of the least fluffy books I've ever read, with tons of practical advice. It's unfortunately a bit dated, but I heard he's working on a new one.
  • bikeformind 402 days ago
    Here are some suggestions on the more creative and less tactical spectrum.

    How To Get Rich: Felix Dennis

    Don’t be fooled by the title. A lifetime of insights and experience from a pioneering publishing magnate condensed into a light enjoyable read.

    Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull

    goes into great detail about the early days of Pixar. So many actionable lessons about entrepreneurship and operating a creative organization.

    The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

    Not just for artists this book is a bible for anyone who has difficulty getting out of their own way. provides useful frameworks to understand the concept of resistance and recognize negative self defeating thought patterns that many entrepreneurs struggle with.

    • bhu1st 401 days ago
      The concept of Resistance put forward by Pressfield in the book The War of Art is very profound and practical. I have this book summary hanging on my wall. Gets me up every time I feel like not wanting to do the grunt work.
  • achenatx 401 days ago
    I like books that are actionable. Lots of books are inspirational but not that useful (e.g. crossing the chasm). I run a curriculum in my company which uses a few books I have read over the years.

    emyth revisited (how to think about and structure an org)

    getting to yes (negotiation)

    influence the psychology of persuasion (negotiation)

    spin selling (enterprise sales, supplanted by sandler)

    You cant teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar (sandler sales)

    5 dysfunctions of a team (one of the best leadership books)

    first break all the rules (management)

    accounting for dummies

    purple cow (differentiation)

    blue ocean strategy (differentiation)

    traction (strategy/operations)

    rocketfuel (strategy/operations)

    for professional services:

    managing the professional services firm

    getting naked

  • jackconsidine 402 days ago
    For me, I'd be nowhere without these.

    In sort of curriculum order:

    - Built to Sell - really easy gateway

    - The E-Myth Revisited (withstand the writing style, glib observations)

    - The Business Model Generation book- massive leap in understanding after this

    - Traction (Gabriel Weinberg). Marketing entrypoint zeroed into today

    - Managing the Professional Service Firm (Maiser) (incidentally related to what I do but so useful)

    - Thinking in Systems (Meadows)

    - An Elegant Puzzle (Engineering management book by Will Larson. Actionable and bite-sized)

    - Measure What Matters (Doerr)

    - Crossing the Chasm

    - Blue Ocean Strategy

    - Never Split the difference (eh)

    - Design of everyday things (not as niche as I thought, perspective altering)

    Some sales books (I held my nose while reading, but useful insights)

    - The Science of Selling

    - S.P.I.N. Selling

    - The Challenger Sale

  • jacktribe 402 days ago
    As someone who is more interested in building the product than marketing it, I found the following recent reads helpful in achieving a balance:

    1. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore - making your product work for the masses

    2. The Cold Start Problem by Andrew Chen - achieving escape velocity, getting viral referral traffic

    3. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss - it might seem a bit gimmicky but negotiation always comes off gimmicky

    Motivational stories:

    4. The Almanack Of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson

    5. The Founders by Jimmy Soni

    6. The Upstarts by Brad Stone

    7. Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

    8. That Will Never Work by Marc Randolph

    9. Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's by Ray Kroc

    Can't skip:

    10. Zero To One by Peter Thiel

  • rgalate 402 days ago
    Not quite specific to entrepreneurship, but a while ago someone shared their project of a site that lists the most recommended books on hackernews [1]. The most recommended books are there for easy reference.

    [1] HackerNews Readings: https://hacker-recommended-books.vercel.app/category/0/all-t...

  • weisbaum 402 days ago
    Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim has not been mentioned here and is an amazing read, and very well regarded by a lot of high profile folks.
  • nukenuke 402 days ago
    As a technical founder this book on negotiation was highly valuable: "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It". Negotiation is a skill you need as a startup founder that is not necessarily needed for technical work.

    "Innovators Dilemma" - helps put in perspective acceptable state of early products and good strategies for deploying new innovative products

    • rgbrenner 402 days ago
      I thought that Voss's work as an FBI negotiator negated a lot of his advice. With the FBI, the building is surrounded, and the criminal is forced to negotiate with him. There are no alternatives, and there's a threat of violent action being taken against the criminal if the negotiations are refused or dont go the way Voss wants.

      In business, the person on the other side has alternatives and they can walk away at any time. They don't even have to talk to you. You can be rejected because of the most minor thing or nothing at all. People say "no" all the time, and you can't send your coworkers into the building to murder them for it.

      Voss just ignores the violent threat the criminal faces, and pretends the criminal is talking to him freely. But everyone in his negotiations knows every word he says is backed up with the threat of violence.

      • yamtaddle 402 days ago
        I dropped it about 2/3 through because too much of it was reading as plainly-bullshit. "I got a great deal on my truck by just saying 'how can I do that?' over and over! Here's how it went!" LOL, no you didn't, and no it didn't, and now I'm wondering whether literally any of your other stories were even a little true.

        I got a very little bit out of it, but the useful bit could have been a blog post. The rest was egotistical crap that seemed to mainly be content-marketing for his business.

        • rgbrenner 402 days ago
          It's been a while and I cant remember if that was a hypothetical applying his approach to a non-criminal negotiation, or if he was saying it was a real incident... but I remember reading it, and thinking: the only way that works is if the FBI is waiting to arrest you if you refuse. If he was saying those examples were real, I agree it sounds like bullshit. It's at best, a tactic that might be rarely useful.
    • vessenes 401 days ago
      I'll throw in some thoughts about Never split the difference -- there's a lot of useful perspective in that book, and I appreciated it. However, speaking 'technical founderese', the book is solely about a kind of negotiation that almost never occurs in business life: a single iteration game theoretic game.

      In real life, especially when you're younger than 60 and in business, every negotiation is part of an iterated game -- you are, much more than negotiating any single deal / job offer / contract term, figuring out who you want to work with, making friends and allies and partners along the way.

      In those terms, most of that book is toxic, or at least sociopathic. That's fine if your only job is to get terrorists to put away their guns. But, it's definitely less fine if you are cutting a deal with someone who you will definitely intersect with multiple times in your life. And that's most people, it turns out. :)

      Anyway, I think the book is super interesting, but I think technical types or those with a bit of ASD may find the relational approach hurts them more than winning any particular negotiation.

    • fionic2 402 days ago
      how do you compare this to "Getting to Yes Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In"
  • Mizoguchi 402 days ago
    Entrepreneurship Negotiation by Dinnar and Susskind covers some of the most fundamental topics anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur must know.

    I also find Richard Thaler work (Nudge, Misbehaving) very helpful particularly if you are in the B2C domain.

    The Black Swan by Taleb is another book I find myself going back to often; it's been of great help for decision making under lots of uncertainty.

    • pdntspa 402 days ago
      You can get all the meaning you need from The Black Swan by just reading the first few chapters. Taleb has a nasty habit of saying the same thing over and over again and stretching it out to an entire book.
  • jessep 402 days ago
    "The Art of Action" It has changed how I approach everything, not just how I run my business. Is applying approaches used in militaries to organize action around the leader's intent, taking action in the right general direction, and delegating the "what" (the intent) but not the "how" of the way it is actually achieved.
  • pawurb 402 days ago
    Hourly Billing Is Nuts by Jonathan Stark

    From all the "business" books I've read this one is just packed with actionable advice instead of motivational gibberrish. I've built my productivized consulting offer based on these tips, and it helped me quit full-time job over 3 years ago. So far no plans to go back.

  • pombo 402 days ago
    Traction by Weinberg. Understanding the distribution of your product, how to think about it and how much resources to devote to it was a missing piece for me as a technical founder. I easily fall into the fallacy of "build it and they will come" even when I don't think I do.
  • ljf 402 days ago
    While I briefly ran a 'start up' with a friend (we weren't what most people here would consider a start up), we used the book 'Business Model Generation' almost weekly as we adjusted our business and pitched for new work.

    I still go back to that when kicking off a new project.

  • hintymad 401 days ago
    Any book about org structure and incentivizing people? I always find it hard to incentivize people in a large org, and building culture is all about implementing the right incentives. Different incentives have different trade-offs, and in turn lead to different culture.
  • collin128 402 days ago
    Steve Blank's blog (not a book, I know) + The Startup Owners Manual also by Steve Blank.

    Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen.

    The two helped me understand what it meant to 'get out of the building'.

    7 Powers + Good Strategy Bad Strategy helped me think long term about the business model and evolution of the company.

  • manv1 402 days ago
    Oh, one smaller but useful book:

    Design is a job, by Mike Monteiro

    Even though it's targeted towards designers, it's actually about businesses that happen to be small design shops. The same principles apply: value your work, don't do work for free, dealing with clients, contacts, etc.

  • duckmysick 402 days ago
    Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg.

    It's unconventional, because it's not strictly about businesses or startups or selling.

    But if you think about, running a business is doing predictable things over and over again. Problem is, it's so complicated and there's so many things you need to take care of. Breaking them down into smallest possible steps and making habits out of them kept me moving. Write one sentence. Dial one number. Open one email. Process one invoice. It quickly snowballed.

    Later, when I started scaling and delegating, I had a blueprint ready for someone else. Because they would struggle too.

    And that's just a business side. The book also helped me with personal habits.

  • avemuri 402 days ago
    High output management
  • awinter-py 401 days ago
    Bunch of mentions of cold start problem here already.

    I at first assumed this book was just its title, and was some combination of 'launch to a lot of people in a narrow space' plus 'personal value precedes network value'.

    There's actually a lot more in it, especially about the granularity of scaling at uber.

    For me the book landed after I'd already tried and failed to start a network by onboarding individuals. The 'atomic networks' stuff in there is gold. (Though for someone like me who learns through failure, I needed to try everything else before the message landed).

  • rglover 402 days ago
    - Awareness by Anthony DeMello

    - The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi

    - The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

    - Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove

    ---

    More stuff here: http://www.ryanglover.net/library/ (not flagged specific to entrepreneurship but all have had an influence in one way or another).

    • mindcrime 402 days ago
      The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

      I love seeing this on your list. Firstly because it's a great book, and secondly just because Rand is so under-appreciated in general. Especially here on HN where her name seems to be all but verboten for some strange reason.

      • rglover 401 days ago
        Thanks for echoing that one, I agree. I think a lot of the dismissal of her is due to second and third-hand knowledge of what she talks about (i.e., they hate the caricature of her, not her or her ideas).
  • shrubble 402 days ago
    High Stakes, No Prisoners by Charles Ferguson:

    "Charles Ferguson started Vermeer Technologies and turned his very cool, very big idea into FrontPage, the first software product for creating and managing a website. A mere twenty months after starting the company, he sold it to Microsoft for $133 million, making a fortune for himself and his associates. FrontPage now has millions of users and is bundled with Microsoft Office. But getting there wasn't always fun."

    • eastbound 402 days ago
      It’s always funny to hear positive things about an infamously awful piece of software. Like someone would write about IE5, or Larry Ellison writing Oracle, they did irremediable harm to the world, but the people who grew when those people were young, may still have the positive initial image of them.
  • wpietri 402 days ago
    Lots of good suggestions here. One I don't see is Wotdke's "Radical Focus". It's about OKRs, but don't be put off by prior big-corp experiences with it. The book focuses on using them in an entrepreneurial context and it's great. Even if you decide to come up with your own system, this will help clarify what you want out of a way to set goals and make sure you're on track for them.
  • jonbischke 402 days ago
    The Hard Thing About Hard Things. We bought a copy for every employee at my last company to help convey the messages that startups are not designed to be tons of fun but rather a tough (yet rewarding) grind. This was especially important for people who were coming from bigger companies to understand.
    • rgbrenner 402 days ago
      It's a good book, but the part where he says to collude with your friends on hiring (no poaching, no cold calling, informing the other when someone applies, etc)... that's what Google/Adobe/Apple/etc were sued for a while back. Don't do that.
  • trinsic2 401 days ago
    I found that the biggest barrier to successful entrepreneurship is discipline.

    Therefore I recommend Constructive Living by David K. Renolyds and All the books by James Allen.

    Those books changed the way I thought about the world. IMHO a world view change needs to happen to sustain a business for the long term.

  • paulorlando 402 days ago
    Here are a few others I haven't seen mentioned. - The Price Whisperer (pricing is important and mostly ignored by startups) - Startup Myths and Models (title explains it) - Measure What Matters (using OKRs) - Growth Units (figure out your unit economics - LTV and CAC)
  • hackitup7 402 days ago
  • breck 402 days ago
    I love autobiographies. Made in Japan (Sony), Made in America (Walmart), My Father Marconi (not quite an autobiography, but by his daughter).

    My Father Marconi especially. The story of when he sent the first radio transmission across the air in his attic as a boy is wild.

  • caloique 402 days ago
    1) The richest man in Babylon 2) The four agreement 3) Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
  • JohnFen 402 days ago
    I've read a tall stack of business books, and in all honesty, I think only one of them was of any real value to me. It also has the benefits of being short and an easy read.

    "The Incredible Secret Money Machine II" by Don Lancaster

  • akshayshah 402 days ago
    Disciplined Entrepreneurship, by Bill Aulet. A very condensed video version is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtWexnfPhKk.
  • jfernandez 402 days ago
    Sprint (product development and testing)

    It left me with a more fundamental, "first principles" outlook on the 5 key stages of doing _anything_:

    1. Understand

    2. Explore

    3. Decide

    4. Prototype/Build

    5. Test

    So for example, when things often go wrong it's because a stage was skipped, done out of sequence, or extremely neglected.

  • celestialcheese 402 days ago
    "Built to Sell" - quick read, but transformative for me because something about it clicked with me and got me to pivot from selling "work" to selling "products"
  • benjaminwootton 402 days ago
    The E-Myth is the only business book which ever left a lasting impression on me. It's about "working on your business rather than in it" and systematising everything.
  • throwaway4good 402 days ago
    How to get rich by Felix Dennis - at least it is entertaining.
  • sotu 402 days ago
    Atlas shrugged, Minto Pyramid Principle, Nail it then Scale it
  • franze 402 days ago
    Mr Nice by Howard Marks

    Yes, he was a criminal, with great entrepreneur spirit.

  • gfsgfjsgsj 402 days ago
    Founders at Work. Just gave me a good sense of how near death and growth are just part of the game. But also tipped me to decide to move to SF Bay Area.
    • vonnik 401 days ago
      startups are like fentanyl -- the gap between the lethal and the effective dose is v small.
  • frabia 402 days ago
    A book that I really want to recommend to anybody in the process of validating product and business ideas: “The right it” by Alberto Savoia
  • tmcdos 398 days ago
    I am not an entrepreneur (yet) but I still want to share a few titles with you:

    - "Maverick or The seven day weekend" by Ricardo Semler

    - "Rework" by Jason Fried and David Hansson

    - "Startup - an insider's guide to launching and running a business" by Kevin Ready

    - "Bookkeeping and Cost Accounting for Factories" by William Kent (1918)

    - "Practice what you preach" by David Maister

    - "Don't oil the squeaky wheel" by Wolf Rinke

    - "Selling The Wheel: Choosing The Best Way To Sell For You Your Company Your Customers" by Jeff Cox

    - "The power of stupidity" by Giancarlo Livraghi

    - "How to write a good advertisement" by Victor Schwab

    - "How to Make Money Out of Thin Air" by Brian Sher

    - "Good manners and business etiquette. Illustrated Guide" by Elena Ber

    - "Don't just roll the dice: A usefully short guide to software pricing" by Neil Davidson

    - "Message to Garcia" by Elbert Hubbard

    - the TopLeaf course of 36 video lectures on management by dr. Izhak Adizes can be purchased on https://vimeo.com/ondemand/topleaf or found on ru tracker (if you have access)

  • pryelluw 401 days ago
    Really depends on your current skill set. Can you sell? If not, I’d start there. Almost everything else derives from selling.
  • swah 402 days ago
    Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, bar none
  • fidrelity 402 days ago
    * Crossing the Chasm

    * The Mom Test

    * The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

    * The Cold Start Problem

  • quickthrower2 401 days ago
    The E-Myth covers stuff maybe consider basic on HN but it is really good for a first book
  • ahulak 402 days ago
    The Mouse Driver Chronicles

    Not totally game changing, but a great story that can help keep you motivated!

  • surprisetalk 402 days ago
    Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
  • jvaqueiro 402 days ago
    Looking back my too three are:

    Hooked by Nir Eyal Viral Loop by Adam L. Penenberg Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

  • chromaton 402 days ago
    Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill

    Making Money Is Killing Your Business - Chuck Blakeman

  • clarkevans 402 days ago
    Switch, How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath.
  • aerodog 402 days ago
    The Quran
  • victorabarros 400 days ago
    Winning, by Jack Welch The best business book I ever read.
  • ranabuzdar 402 days ago
    Here are some of the most popular ones:

    The Lean Startup by Eric Ries Zero to One by Peter Thiel The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber Good to Great by Jim Collins The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson These books cover various aspects of entrepreneurship, from idea generation and innovation to leadership and management. Each one offers a unique perspective and valuable insights that can help entrepreneurs navigate the challenges and opportunities of starting and growing a business.

  • Kaibeezy 402 days ago
    Marcus Aurelius, CTFO
  • blowski 402 days ago
    - The Mom Test

    - 4 Steps to the Epiphany

    - The Personal MBA (Josh Kaufman)

    - Lean Analytics

    - Good Strategy Bad Strategy

  • pedalpete 402 days ago
    Finite and Infinite Games - James P. Chase
  • e9 402 days ago
    Shipping Greatness by Chris Vander Mey
  • misiti3780 402 days ago
    zero to one by peter thiel.
  • e61133e3 402 days ago
    Build by Tony Fadell
  • iancmceachern 402 days ago
    Small Giants
  • theflyingkiwi42 402 days ago
    e-myth, get a grip
  • yumraj 402 days ago
    Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist
  • lanstein 402 days ago
    Advice to Founders and CEOs

    - Dear Founder (Maynard Webb) - The Hard Things About Hard Things (Ben Horowitz) - Straight Talk for Startups (Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman) - The Founders’ Dilemmas (Noam Wasserman) - The Entrepreneur’s Daily Nietzsche (Brad Feld and Dave Jilk) - Build (Tony Fadell) - Zero to IPO (Frederic Kerrest) - The Great CEO Within (Matt Mochary)

    Finance

    - Wharton's Introduction to Financial Accounting course: [https://www.coursera.org/learn/wharton-accounting](https://w... - How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart About the Numbers (Mihir Desai) - Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Karen Berman and Joe Knight)

    Open-Book Company (Employee Ownership, Financial Literacy, Goal-setting)

    - The Great Game of Business (Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham)

    Legal

    - Acceleration (Ryan Roberts) - The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Law and Strategy (Constance Bagley and Craig Dauchy)

    Company Strategy and Direction (post-product/market fit)

    - Crossing the Chasm (Geoff Moore) - Zone to Win (Geoff Moore) - Only the Paranoid Survive (Andy Grove) - Blitzscaling (Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh) - The Innovator's Dilemma (Clayton Christensen) - Good to Great (Jim Collins) - Playing to Win (A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin) - Tape Sucks (Frank Slootman) - Strategy vol. 1&2 (Harvard Business Review)

    Pricing

    - Monetizing Innovation (Georg Tacke and Madhavan Ramanujan) - Confessions of the Pricing Man (Hermann Simon)

    Startup Phase

    - The Lean Startup (Eric Ries) - The Four Steps to the Epiphany (Steve Blank) - Zero to One (Peter Thiel)

    Management/Leadership

    - The Effective Executive (Peter Drucker) - Managing Humans (Michael Lopp) - The Art of Leadership (Michael Lopp) - High Output Management (Andy Grove) - Managing Oneself (Peter Drucker) - Essentials: Management (First Round Capital) - The Making of a Manager (Julie Zhuo) - The Powell Principles (Oren Harari) - Radical Candor (Kim Scott) - Leading Matters (John L. Hennessy) (fantastic book list in the coda) - Turn the Ship Around (L. David Marquet) (this is THE book on delegation) - Principles (Ray Dalio)

    COO/Succession Planning

    - Riding Shotgun (Nathan Bennett and Stephen A. Miles)

    People Performance/HR/Culture

    - Powerful (Patty McCord) - No Rules Rules (Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer) - Netflix culture deck - The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Patrick Lencioni) - Work Rules! (Laszlo Bock) - It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work (DHH and Jason Fried) - The Culture Map (Erin Meyer) - The Talent War (Mike Sarraille and George Randle) - Great People Decisions (Claudio Fernández-Aráoz) - The Holloway Guide to Technical Recruiting and Hiring (Ozzie Osman) - Punished by Rewards (Alfie Kohn)

    Purpose, Passion, and Self

    - Start with Why (Simon Sinek) - What You Do is Who You Are (Ben Horowitz) - Drive (Daniel Pink) - Mindset (Carol Dweck) - Grit (Angela Duckworth) - The Almanack of Naval Ravikant (Eric Jorgenson)

    Fundraising/VC

    - Secrets of Sand Hill Road (Scott Kupor) - Venture Deals (Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson) - Raising Venture Capital (Andy Sparks) - The Business of Venture Capital (Mahendra Ramsinghani) - Done Deals (Udayan Gupta) - The Power Law (Sebastian Mallaby) - VC (Tom Nicholas)

    Board

    - Boardroom Excellence (Paul Brountas) - Startups Boards (Brad Feld and Mahendra Ramsinghani)

    M&A

    - Winning (Jack Welch) - M&A chapter - Connecting the Dots (John Chambers) - M&A chapter

    Marketing

    - Data-Driven Marketing (Mark Jeffery) - Positioning (Al Ries and Jack Trout) - Scientific Advertising (Claude Hopkins) - Traction (Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares) - Behind the Cloud (Marc Benioff and Carlye Adler) - Ogilvy on Advertising (David Ogilvy) - Marketing High Technology (William Davidow)

    Psychology

    - Influence (Robert Cialdini)

    Negotiation

    First, read Influence (under Psychology), then, in order

    - Thinking in Bets (Annie Duke) - Getting to Yes (Roger Fisher and William Ury) - Never Split the Difference (Chris Voss) - The Bald Truth (David Falk)

    Self

    - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)

    Design and UX

    - Creative Confidence (Tom Kelley and David Kelley)

    AI (Machine Learning, Deep Learning/Neural Networks)

    - Andrew Ng's AI for Everyone course: [https://www.coursera.org/learn/ai-for-everyone](https://www....

    Growth (Data Science, etc.)

    - Hacking Growth (Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown)

    Graph Theory

    Product

    - Inspired (Marty Cagan) - Joel on Software (Joel Spolsky)

    Customer Loyalty/Customer Success

    - Delivering Happiness (Tony Hsieh) - Setting the Table (Danny Meyer)

    Finding a Startup Job

    - Entering StartupLand (Jeffrey Bussgang)

    CIO as ICP

    - The CIO Paradox (Martha Heller) - Be the Business (Martha Heller)

    Stories

    - Made in America (Sam Walton) - Shoe Dog (Phil Knight) - The Everything Store (Brad Stone) - Built from Scratch (Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank) - Hard Drive (James Wallace) - Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson) - Elon Musk (Ashlee Vance) - Creativity, Inc. (Ed Catmull) - The Ride of a Lifetime (Bob Iger) - Valley of Genius (Adam Fisher) - The Idea Factory (Jon Gertner) - Dealers of Lightning (Michael Hertzik) - Idea Man (Paul Allen) - Pour Your Heart Into It (Howard Schultz)