7 Must-Read Books To Guide You On Your Startup Journey
Whether you're an experienced entrepreneur or a team member taking on a new role, being part of a startup's journey can present a host of questions whose answers might not be the easiest to find. In the process of building a new business, taking the time out to constantly absorb new ideas, rethink perspectives and learn about the mistakes and successes of those who went before you is paramount.
Instagram gurus do help, but you can only hear “You have the same 24 hours a day as this successful entrepreneur” before starting to ask questions that cut deeper.
There are hundreds of books that say that they hold the key to success, but a fully-rounded entrepreneur needs to explore the breadth of the world to get a better view. The following books help you do just that.
1. Zag by Marty Neumeier
“Zag” is the kind of book that can define a century. Marty has been the CEO of “Liquid Agency” and an advertising professional in the game since the 1970s.
As someone who has seen brands grow and fall, he conveys messages that make brands work well. He introduces the concept of zagging.
It’s not enough to zig in an overburdened and often overvalued market. One must stand out. So, he crafts a set of questions that help you create the mission statement for your brand, so that you can stand out from the millions of start-up people around the planet.
He also champions the idea of radical thinking to anticipate need and demand cycles so that you can plan your business better.
If you think you can succeed as an entrepreneur but want to handle your idea better, this is the book to get.
2. Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
The founders of “37 Signal,” a project management company, wrote this book to celebrate thinking out of the box. This can mean many things. Most business books claim to follow the tried and tested methods for establishing a new business. However, with the landscape for business altering every few minutes now, there is a need to reimagine workflow and ethicalities surrounding work.
“Rework” does this by reimagining the entire process of envisioning a business and putting it to work. The strategy talks about understanding and perceiving the time for quitting your job, the time you want to invest, and the time you want to pull out. Mark Cuban, who co-founded “HDNet,” says that he would prefer someone who has read this book over an MBA.
High praise from billionaires aside, this New York Times Bestseller also grabs eyes by being a true blue classic in terms of reimagining. If there is a “Think and Grow Rich” for the 21st century, this is it.
3. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill was many things during his tenure as a writer. He founded several businesses, including automobiles, where he made people work for free instead of getting hands-on experience. “Think and Grow Rich” is one of those books that everyone has read at one phase of their life or another, but it is significant because it is the first book that expanded on a sort of magic formula.
While Napoleon was a failed businessman (he famously died impoverished), his book is a great place to learn about marketing. The book stands as one of the biggest bestsellers globally and has a niche reader-base that celebrates him. His work has influenced international bestsellers like “Secret” and other favorites. While Napoleon is not a business guru, he presents a formidable marketing plan. He provides insights into sounding inspirational while also holding back on key ideas so that your vision isn’t stolen. He also hands you the formula to show yourself as more successful than you are, an essential skill that helps in approaching venture capitalists.
4. Move Fast And Break Things by Jonathan Taplin
Named after Mark Zuckerberg’s famous motto, "Move Fast and Break Things,” it documents the history of ethical issues around tech startups. As activist shareholders become more common and more retail customers take the place of investments, ethicality will play a more significant part in the following phase of growth.
Green energy, philanthropy, brands like “Tesla'' which aim to make a better world, are becoming unicorns. So, it's essential to understand the past mistakes made by big tech brands and make your business more ethical to fit the needs of the time.
5. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Whenever you craft a new business, you prepare a new culture. For entrepreneurs, the understanding of history that influenced the current climate is essential. The book is a brave attempt at summarizing the history of the world’s cultures. It tells the story of things that influenced civilizations and created the current political climate. This was the inspiration behind books like ‘Sapiens’ and remained an authoritative take on the history and geography of the world.
6. The Factory Girls by Christine Seifert
This is a book that follows the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. Understanding labor struggles and the importance of safety measures is essential. So, this is a reminder of how the people who work with you will behave.
Remember to understand the nuances of this story and how small mistakes can easily threaten the lives of your workers and yourself. Preventing major accidents at modern businesses is difficult, but learning the history will help you stay aware of what happens if you slip.
7. Your colleagues
One of the most important quotes about businesses is, “If you feel ashamed in mopping the floor of your business, you don’t deserve the business.” One of the primary motivations behind people who would come to work with you would be the incentives and message you portray.
Spend time seeing what other founders are writing. Read work from Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. Read the social media posts by your workers and your friends. Be aware of everyone around you and take the best lessons. Many people can teach you how to start a business. Sustaining it depends on the people around you.
Reading books is not very high on the list when you’re running pillar to post to build your business. However, books can be a great asset in developing a brand and driving change. If you feel like reading takes too much time, you can also try audiobooks, and make books a part of your commute, or listen to podcasts that tell these stories. Read anyway, because it pays dividends.