Best Startup Books

We created a bookshelf. This page showcases our growing collection of the best startup books and best books for entrepreneurs. 

By Chris Guillebeau

This book inspired the launch of Launching Next. In The $100 Startup, Guillebeau shows just how little is needed to start a business and reminds us to have a bias to action over planning.

By Charles Duhigg

This lively guide examinations habits, how they form, how they’re wired into our brains, and how they can either enslave us or free us. Duhigg’s The Power of Habit explores the loop of cue, routine and reward squash bad habits and create new ones.

By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Fried and Hansson, from Basecamp and Ruby on Rails fame, sprint through Rework with advice on what to focus on and what to ignore in starting and running a business. “You need less than you think to get a business started.”

By Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

Pixar Studios co-founder Ed Catmull takes us through the business of creativity, with how to find it and cultivate it.

By Clayton M. Christensen

It’s rare to overhear a technology discussion without the word “disruption,” but Christensen’s classic is packed with examples of how companies and industries have evolved or folded through disruptive technologies. The Innovator’s Dilemma takes a different tone than many business books, and it’s clear the work comes from the mind an analyst.

By Eric Ries

What’s interesting about the The Lean Startup is that it is globally referenced in startup circles, yet most people never fell in love it. Buried within the pages are true insights for turning around businesses, and the lean method has lived on well beyond this book.

By Nir Eyal

Some websites you’ll visit once. Others you’ll visit a few times a week. Hooked weaves together business acumen, psychology and technology to develop websites and apps you’ll never want to leave. 

By Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg’s book asks why can’t we have a good personal life without sacrificing what we want to achieve? Lean In is written for the next generation who shouldn’t feel that they have to choose.

By Ryan Holiday

Don’t look at Growth Hacker Marketing as a list of uncovered marketing strategies. Holiday’s book covers the growth hacking mindset; the intersection of technical coding and marketing tactics to grow your business.

By Mike Michalowicz

The Pumpkin Plan is a book about growing a business by stopping what isn’t working. Michalowicz is unapologetic in his tone with the pursuit of growth, and each chapter ends with thirty minute action plans.

By Gabriel Weinberg

Most startups fail, but  it’s not necessarily from a lack of a good idea or a lack of product-market fit. Most startups fail from their inability to market themselves. Traction is a practical guide that outlines scope, structure and a methodology for identifying, testing and adopting the most impactful traction channel for a startup. It reminds founders to spend 50% of their time on product development, and another 50% of time on marketing.

By Timothy Ferriss

We’re all busy; now let’s be productive. Ferris’ 4-Hour Work Week breaks the assumption that working harder means working well in order to focus on optimizing work time. Especially as we move into an era when machine learning can take on more of our mundane tasks, this book shows how to breakdown tasks into simple, manageable steps.

By Mike Michalowicz

Allocate your funds, and pay yourself first. Then, take any remaining profit and invest it back into your business to grow. Profit First shows how to re-invest in your business, and then trim it for profits.

Beyond business & startups

There’s more to life than building and running a startup. These books capture moments for anyone looking to learn or begin a journey.

By Rolf Potts

Why wait until retirement to begin traveling the world? Vegabonding shows how long-term travel is possible regardless of your age or income. Vegabonding is an attitude too, reminding us to find adventure in everyday life.

By Brian Christian

Think of it as the computer science of decision making. Algorithms to Live By introduces the idea of how we can create our own algorithms to tackle problems in business, personal life and beyond. The approach is founded in mathematics, but it focuses more on outcomes than equations or theory.

By James Crabtree

The Billionaire Raj is a book about big business and billionaires sitting in gilded towers overlooking slums of sheet metal. India’s population dwarfs the countries of the west, and it’s fair to say its prominence will only grow over the next hundred years — in which ways, we don’t know.

By Kevin Kelly

Kelly argues twelve forces, from sharing to accessing to filtering, will have foundational impact on the world in the next thirty years. The Inevitable isn’t a book meant to skim and apply; it’s written to ponder, digest and imagine how the Internet will have a more significant impact on the world in the future than it has in the past.

By Phil Knight

Pick up most autobiographies by industry titans, and you’ll find comparisons to business savants and tales of their brilliance. Shoe Dog is a personal story of how Knight took on giants and struggled through constant challenges to launch and grow Nike into the empire it is today.

By Yuval Noah Harari

We can’t help but getting excited about the future, which is why we’re ending this list with another future-looking book. Homo Dues: A Brief History of Tomorrow is a follow-up to Harari’s phenomenon Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. It extrapolates the patterns of our past, and with humor and swiftness, to show a possible vision ahead.

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