Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written for our readers.
You’re familiar with the saying “knowledge is power.”
Of course, knowledge can be gained just about anywhere these days: a TedTalk, podcast, YouTube video — you name it, the list goes on. But If you want exposure to new ideas, modes of thinking and a compounded aggregate of diverse knowledge, then reading is important, especially if you want to be a successful business person.
Warren Buffett — arguably the most skilled investor of our time — said reading 500 pages a day was the key to success. “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest,” he explained. He’s not alone in that belief. Other iconic business people incorporate reading in their daily rituals. Take Bill Gates for example. He reads 50 books every year. Mark Zuckerberg is another business icon who’s tackled lofty reading goals like reading a new book every other week — that’s 26 books in one year.
Of course, with millions of entrepreneurship and business books out there, just figuring out where to start can be a challenge in and of itself. Then you have to sift through reviews to discern quality from fluff. Simply put, not all business advice distilled into books is equal, especially when it comes to the volatility of businesses at the startup stage.
To help point you in the right direction, a startup insurance company, Embroker, narrowed down a list of 21 books geared to help entrepreneurs scale their startups and learn from some of the best veteran businessmen and women out there. These are broken into the following categories: growth hacking and scaling, books to read before pitching VCs, and entrepreneurship and startup stories.
Growth Hacking Books
If you’re like most founders, scaling your business is top of mind. In other words, mastering marketing, product development, sales, and other areas are crucial in growth hacking. Books like Explosive Growth by Cliff Lerner offer a personal narrative to give you a behind-the-scenes look inside a fast-growing startup that created the first online dating app and grew to 100 million users.
Smartcuts by Shane Snow analyzes how some highly successful startups go from zero to billions in a matter of months. Additionally, this book shows how innovators and icons make strides by working smarter, not harder.
Books to Read Before Pitching VCs
If you’re at the stage of where you need to raise capital (beyond what you’ve bootstrapped), then knowing how to pitch venture capitalists is a crucial component of moving the needle for your business.
Books like Bargaining for Advantage offer a road map for how to survive and thrive in the sometimes rough-and-tumble world of business negotiation. Venture Deals is an exhaustive guide that covers everything founders need to know about achieving successful funding, including how to understand venture capital deal structures and strategies.
Entrepreneurship and Startup Stories
Success and the path to get there looks different for everyone. Books like Business Model Generation highlight factors that determine the success and failure of business today.
Startupland is Mikkel Svane and Carlye Adler’s unconventional story of founding Zendesk in a Copenhagen loft, how they left secure jobs to start something of their own, and the company’s journey to launching on the NYSE. It’s a relatable story of risking it all and going for broke.
To learn more about the full list check out their guide on startup books.