Books Every Startup Founder Should Read

Here are some inspirational books that every startup boss or founder should read.

Are you a startup founder? Do you need advice on what to do next but don’t know where to start looking? Do you feel like giving up on your company?

Many startup companies do not last long because, after the company is started, founders and/or co-founders do not know what to do next.

Stuck in the Beginning

They are stuck in the beginning and don’t know how to get to the next level, having received incorrect advice or they have not been advised at all.

No growth can take place because you are stuck in the positions for too long.

Knowledge is Power

The best way to move forward, is to gain some knowledge and then apply it.

As they say, ‘Knowledge is power’; so knowledge without action is rendered powerless.

It is not enough to know. You have to do something with what you have received.

Books for Startup Founder

Here is a list of some of the best books on the market for any startup founder.

Whether you like to read or not, should not influence your decision on whether you are going read these books.

In these books are some great strategies on how to make your company a great success. That should be your number one reason for reading these books.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup
This has become the second bible to most startup founders. If you are dedicated to effectively and efficiently building a business, this is the book to read. Lean manufacturing inspired all of the great lessons found in the book.

Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

Reality Check
If you want some all-in-one start up advice, take some time out to read this 500-page book. It will be worth it. It may take you some time, but it will be worth it.

The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noah Wasserman

The Founder’s Dilemmas
As a startup founder, you will face some common problems. Wasserman insightfully gives some great advice on how to deal with these.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

Where Good Ideas Come From
Johnson outlines seven guiding principles in this book. They are applicable not only to startups but everywhere.

If you follow these principles, you could come up with some great ideas to make company a success.

The Intelligent Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy

The Intelligent Entrepreneur
The book chronicles the stories of three graduates (all from Harvard’s Business School) and their businesses.

Some great one are ‘Start-up as a couple’, ‘Founders’ relationships with investors’, and ‘Business model pivots and other personal accounts’.

Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson

Free: The Future of a Radical Price
The author is the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Wired. In the book, Anderson explains why freemium is the future of technology business.

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

Crossing the Chasm
When you launch, your product sales will go up. In the course of time, sales can decrease. In this book Moore explains why this is.

He also explains how you can prevent your product from completely disappearing by adjusting your marketing strategy at certain times.

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

The book visually shows visual patterns of the common business model; it opens your mind to the business end of what you are building.

Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

Founders at Work
This book features interviews with the likes of Max Levchin (Paypal), Steve Wozniak (Apple), Stephen Kaufer (TripAdviror), Joshua Schachter ( and more.

This book will make you realize that even these great companies all had to start somewhere and they all had their challenges.

Today they are a huge success, yours can be too. You also get to see things from the founders’ perspective.

The Startup Playbook by David S. Kidder

The Startup Playbook
The book contains some key practices, behaviours and ideas for success. Key founders like Caterina Fake (Flickr and Hunch), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Sara Blakely (Spanx) and many more also share some great advice for startup founders.

Start-up: A Resource Book of The Founder by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf

Start-up: A Resource Book of The Founder
The book shows you, step by step, how to create your new business. It also contains the management of the startup projects course.

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

The Art of the Start
This book is a definite guide for anyone who wants to start anything. It lays out all the tactics of bootstrapping, branding, rainmaking, positioning, recruiting, and pitching.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness
The book as an account of the success of Zappos, what the founders and employees went through and how they ultimately came up with their winning strategy. A great book if you feel like you are ready to give up on your company.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People
This book is known as one of the best known motivational books.

It is also the first one of its kind. Since first published 1936, it has been ‘updated’ quite a few times.

If you want to get the best of what the author has to offer in this book, find a copy that was published before the 1960’s. It will be worth all of your efforts.


Some of the authors of these books, gave a vivid description of what it takes to make a success of your startup company. They shared their own personal stories, or relayed those of others.

I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy, 1951.

Whether you are in the beginning stages of your startup or not, I’m sure you will be able to find a book, even in this list, that will help you at the level that you are now.

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