Startup reading list: 8 inspiring books for entrepreneurs
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Startup reading list: 8 inspiring books for entrepreneurs

Startup reading list: 8 inspiring books for entrepreneurs

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned business leader, these reads will equip you with the tools and wisdom to navigate the exciting world of startups

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Looking to dive into the world of entrepreneurship, seeking guidance, or simply in need of some motivation? Get ready to be inspired, educated, and motivated with these inspiring reads  authored by thought leaders and industry experts

This curated selection of books cover a wide range of startup issues, innovative management techniques, creativity fostering and much more.

1. The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup, by Noam Wasserman

Ever wondered “what if” when reflecting on your entrepreneurial journey? This book unravels the major pitfalls founders often encounter. Wasserman zeroes in on the critical factor for many startup challenges – people. He delves into the wisdom of co-founding with friends or relatives and the allure of going solo. From equity splits to CEO exits, all the crucial decisions are laid out here, alongside personal stories from successful founders like Evan Williams of Twitter. For those aspiring to follow in their footsteps, this book is an essential read.

2. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries

Described as a “must-read” in the startup scene, The Lean Startup introduces an innovative approach to building companies. Ries draws inspiration from ‘lean manufacturing’, a systematic method focused on minimising waste to maximise productivity. This book encourages leaving assumptions behind, embracing uncertainty, and challenging current business plans. Ries uses case studies to illustrate how lean principles can be applied to any startup. Discover how adapting quickly to customer feedback and shifting gears in response to changes can propel your venture to success.

3. Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull

Unlocking true creativity can be a challenging journey, but Creativity, Inc. illuminates the path. As co-founder and president of Pixar, Catmull shares two decades of experience in building a creative culture that fosters originality in a business setting. Get an inside look at his collaborations with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, and how Pixar’s unique environment birthed iconic animated films like the Toy Story Trilogy, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.

4. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight

Nike’s astounding success story is a must-read for ambitious founders. From selling shoes out of his car to annual sales exceeding $30 billion, Knight’s journey is one of invaluable lessons. Shoe Dog details the risks he took, the setbacks he faced, and the creation of that iconic ‘swoosh’.

Knight’s drive to create something remarkable, dynamic, and different is an inspiration, showcasing how a shared mission can lead a team to great heights.

5. Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist, by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson

Navigating the venture capital (VC) process can be intimidating, especially for first-time founders. Venture Deals serves as a guide through every stage of startup funding, drawing on the authors’ fifty-plus years of experience.

Providing insights from both the founders’ and investors’ perspectives, Feld and Mendelson demystify VC term sheets and offer top tips for effective negotiations. Their extensive experience investing in early-stage technology companies helps aspiring entrepreneurs make the right deals in the right way.

6. Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Based on the captivating TED talk ‘How great leaders inspire action,’ Simon Sinek’s Start with Why is a must-read for anyone aspiring to inspire, lead, and drive change. By examining the stories of visionaries like Steve Jobs, the Wright brothers, and Martin Luther King, Sinek delves into the essence of leadership and game-changing innovation.

Emphasising the importance of starting with ‘why’, he shows how understanding the reasons behind our actions can lead to unparalleled success and consistent goal achievement.

7. The Startup Playbook, Will Herman and Rajat Bhargava

Often hailed as “the Bible for startups”, this tome tackles the statistic that ‘9 out of 10 startups fail’, guiding founders on how to defy the odds.

As a how-to guide for building a startup from scratch, Herman and Bhargava share their wins, losses, and invaluable lessons. Topics covered include fostering a positive company culture, fundraising essentials, and transforming risks into opportunities.

8. The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz

Starting a company is anything but easy, and this book tells it like it is. The Hard Thing About Hard Things is based on the author’s popular ‘Ben’s Blog’, offering founders practical advice on hiring, business culture, and career development. Horowitz dives into leading and scaling a startup, drawing from his own experiences. Each business lesson is amplified with a rap lyric, delivering engaging and thought-provoking insights.

Happy reading and may your journey be as remarkable as those before you.

The writer is the CEO and co-founder of legaltech firm, Clara

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