Just about everyone I know has a startup these days. If you fall into that group, here is a list of books that I highly recommend.
I’ve read them all at least once myself, and I enjoyed them so much I’ll reread each of them again this year. (NOTE: A few links are REVERSE AFFILIATE links, meaning I pass the commissions to you if you buy something. More details given near those links.)
– Barbara Corcoran
I’ve long been a fan of Shark Tank. I’ve watched every episode, even the UK and Canadian versions on YouTube. I couldn’t get enough of the sharks, so I’ve taken to reading each of their books (that’s right, they’ve all written at least one book).
I started reading Shark Tails by Barbara Corcoran over the holiday break, and I finished it on the train to work this morning. Let me tell you… this book is the most fun I’ve had reading a business book in a long time.
She takes an entirely different approach by telling stories of major milestones in her career, from the very first business loan she took to selling her Real Estate Empire to getting a seat in ABC’s Shark Tank.
The structure of the book takes some getting used to. She’ll start out describing a predicament she was facing in her real estate business, then she’ll flashback to a lesson she learned from her childhood, then jump back to the present to tell you what decision she made in the predicament and how it turned out.
The 2nd half of the book is a little different. It’s more or less a recapping of the investments she made during the first season or two of Shark Tank. If you’ve seen the episodes, you’ve got the gist of it, but it is interesting to hear what she was thinking about each entrepreneur as they pitched the sharks.
I don’t usually take the time to email authors after I read their book, but I enjoyed Barbara’s book so much that I wanted to send her a thank you note. I sent my email in the morning and a few hours later I had in my inbox a friendly and warm response that made me smile.
I know Barbara doesn’t invest in many technology companies, but she is one investor that I would love to work with.The below 2 links are REVERSE AFFILIATE links. I don’t care about making money off affiliate links, but I do want to know if went ahead and picked up this book. So…If you make a purchase using the below REVERSE AFFILATE link please leave a comment saying so at the end, or let me know via email: dan[at]dancristo.com, and I’ll pass 100% of the commission on to you via paypal. It’s the best way I could come up with to track engagement. It’s just a test, so these are the only 2 links (plus the image) the offer is good for. I have no clue what the commission will be, but you’ll get 100% of your purchase kick backed to you via paypal.
– Brad Feld
More of a field guide than a business book, Venture Deal sheds some much-needed light in the dark tunnel that is VC funding.
The entire book is a break down of the term sheet a VC will offer you when they are interested in investing. What’s great is he comes at it from an entrepreneur’s perspective so following each complicated topic is an easier to understand explanation, and a brief note as to why it matters to the entrepreneur and whether it’s worth fighting for. After all, everything is negotiable, but you wouldn’t want to try and negotiate every single term.
The book is a must have if you’re raising money for the first time, but let me just tell you that it’s a dry read. It’s like a college textbook you know you need to read to do well, but not something you’d readily give up your Friday night for. After all, you’re basically reading chunks of legal documents, which are than explained in layman’s terms.
Don’t get me wrong, Brad is well known for his amazing writings on startups, and this book IS A GIFT in it’s own right. Just go in with the right expectations.
– Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hannsson
It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but reading ReWork is like watching the Matrix for the first time. Everything you thought about how tech startups should be run is wrong. All the rules that made big companies successful can, and perhaps should be broken. They do everything backwards and they show that it’s worked successfully for them.
What I liked the most is how the whole book is filled with new perspectives that make you rethink the way you run your startup. In fact, I would have named it, “ReThink”, but I guess that’s not as catchy. Either way, if you’re a fan of mind blowing business ideas… grab a copy.
The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup
– Noam Wasserman
I’ve only just started reading this book today, but it’s so good that I already know I’m going to read it again.
From what I’ve read so far, the book analyzes thousands of startups and lays out reasons why they’ve failed and succeeded.
I can’t promise you’ll read it through in 1 or 2 sittings, I do think you’ll have a lot of great “ah ha” moments. Like the times when you look at a chart of data and finally realize what the problem was all along. That’s what this guy is doing, but he’s analyzing tech startups, and the takeaways will probably make you think twice about the next big decision you make for your new company.
Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant
– Robert T. Klyosaki
I like reading Robert’s books when I feel the need for some inspiration. The same goes for Gary Vanyerchuck, but the Robert is more of a storyteller than Gary, so it makes for a lighter read.
If you’ve read any of Robert’s previous books, you know he tends to repeat himself a bit. It’s a little annoying, but it’s also an effective way of remembering things.
I’ll also add that his “Rich Dad” series is a little dated, especially his first book (this is the 2nd in the series), but the principles about wealth management are timeless.
This also isn’t much of a business manual book as much as it is a self-help book. That’s just fine for me though. Running a startup brings along with it some pretty low points, and the occasional self-help book is instrumental in getting me refocused and energized.
What business books will you reread this year?