21 Best Books on Startup Founders

Best Books on Startup FoundersM

ost startups fail! However, your startup doesn’t need to be another statistic. It’s true that most people never take action, therefore, never reaching their entrepreneurial goals. But taking action blindly can result in detrimental consequences. This is why the startup founder needs to gain as much knowledge and experience as before taking the startup leap. With these best books on startup founders will guide you through some of the situations, lessons, and experience that needs to be taught before the journey. 

Best Books on Startup Founders: THE LIST

1. Startup
2. Founder Hounder
3. 7 PR Secrets All Founders Should Know
4. The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide
5. The Ultimate Start-Up Guide
6. Startup Fundraising
7. Never Too Late to Startup
8. Trillion Dollar Coach
9. Build Something Great!
10. How to Start a Startup
11. Traction
12. No Rules Rules
13. The Startup Checklist
14. The Start-Up J Curve
15. The Founder’s Dilemmas
16. Startup Success
17. Startup Boards
18. Stop Hustling, Start Scaling
19. The Startup Playbook
20. Startups Demystified
21. Startup Culture Mindset

1. Startup | By Andreas Ramos

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Okay, this book is straightforward: – How to build a Silicon Valley seed startup.- How to find co-founders- The tools you’ll need- How to deal with lawyers and incorporation- How to give stock to team, contractors, advisors, and investors- How to develop your idea by interviewing customers- How to get funding- How to deal with venture capital and angels- How to calculate your startup’s valuation- How to sell your startup (acquisition)The second edition has a new 30-page chapter on acquisitions: how to sell your startup. Based on interviews with founders, investors, lawyers, VCs, and investment bankers, all of whom have done several sales (some have done dozens of acquisitions). This covers the reality of acquisitions. This book isn’t a theory of startups by a university professor or a VC who has never actually built a startup. No business school blah-blah-blah, overheated Wall Street yadda-yadda, or lots of pages on stuff you’ll never use. This is the reality of Silicon Valley startups: what it’s like to build a startup, day-to-day, and how to deal with problems. The book dismisses many popular ideas about startup strategies because those ideas sound nice, but founders don’t really use them. Instead, this book covers what founders have found actually works. The startup is based on interviews with twenty-six startup founders, both men, and women, who are doing startups in Silicon Valley, France, Germany, Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa), China, Colombia, Denmark, Hawaii, India, Jakarta, South Korea, Spain, and the US. This is the only book that covers how startups are built in India, South America, Africa, Europe, and China. What works in Silicon Valley often doesn’t work in other countries. They have to solve the problems of startups in unique, local ways. The book shows you how it’s done in Silicon Valley and other places so you can get ideas for YOUR startup in YOUR country and city. That’s why the book has been translated into French, Korean, and Spanish (Chinese coming soon). The author wants to encourage people to build startups everywhere. The book also includes hundreds of comments and observations from founders. Useful stuff, warnings, and helpful advice. Some of the founders have done three or four startups and they talk about what they’ve learned. Andreas lives and works in Palo Alto. He too has done several startups and has worked in more than two dozen startups. He is an advisor to a handful of startups and is on the board of a startup creator. Andreas teaches digital marketing at a French business school and is a frequent speaker on technical topics at events for SV startups.

2. Founder Hounder | By Abhijit Raghunathan

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Rahul, a Bangalore-based bootstrapped entrepreneur is in a relationship with Priyanka, the Marketing Manager of a leading incubator in which Rahul and his startup are incubated. As he goes through the journey of entrepreneurship and the relationship, it turns out that Priyanka has a secret which she has been keeping for a long time. This book traverses the tough life of a startup founder and how many women are attracted to the ‘Founder & CEO’ tag of many who venture into such businesses.

3. 7 PR Secrets All Founders Should Know | By Jane Yin Bolander

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In today’s world, the lines between PR, marketing, and social media are blurred. Social Media has given founders the chance to promote their organizations without having to spend a lot of money; yet, founders often overlook a lot of opportunity by not exploring some of the more traditional, or not-so-traditional, PR avenues. This book will explore those traditional and not-so-traditional PR avenues so that founders can get the maximum exposure for their organizations. I have used these secrets with lots and lots of startups, professional athletes, and non-profits. Some of these secrets revolve around how traditional PR techniques, like the press release, can be used to maximize exposure while others deal with what is actually newsworthy

4. The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide | By Bernd Schoner

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Most technology startups never make it to the funding stage, and only a small percentage of those that are venture-backed generate a positive return for their investors. An even smaller number of startup founders enjoy a truly prosperous exit.

Bernd Schoner cofounded his tech startup during the dot-com bust, navigated it through market crises and internal turmoil, brought it through the global financial meltdown intact, and eventually sold it to a multibillion-dollar, multinational public technology company.

In The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide, Bernd shares what he learned and what he wished he knew at the time. He explains the major phases in a technology company’s life cycle, helping entrepreneurs avoid common pitfalls and survive crises when they strike. He guides readers from the initial bootstrapping process through venture-capital financing and provides valuable advice on how to sell a technology company profitably–even in a challenging economic environment. Every chapter presents solutions to real-world issues that could otherwise have fatal consequences for a tech venture.

Aspiring tech entrepreneurs will learn to:

  • Set up shop: build the team, assemble necessary startup assets (including technology and intellectual property), get legal and financial affairs in order
  • Secure capital: ask for money, nail the term sheet, ask for more money
  • Get out: know when to sell, who to sell to, and how to make it a happy exit for all stakeholders, including the employees

Written with deep insight, refreshing candor, and a dash of humor, this comprehensive guide to the often harsh realities of startup life is indispensable for entrepreneurs at any stage.

5. The Ultimate Start-Up Guide | By Tom Hogan, and Carol Broadbent

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Most start-ups fail.

And they die remarkably young: The typical start-up lasts 20 months and burns through $1.3 million in financing before closing its doors.

So what’s the formula for success for those start-ups that make it through the early trials, leveraging their early success into either getting acquired or issuing an IPO (initial public offering)? What are the lessons that first-time entrepreneurs and employees need to know to navigate their way to success?

The Ultimate Start-Up Guide offers practical advice, insights, lessons, and best practices from the world of start-ups, including:

  • Strategies for hiring and building your team, culture, and values.
  • How to pitch your company, secure funding, and distribute equity.
  • Best practices in launching your business.
  • How venture capitalist investors think, evaluate new companies, and advise entrepreneurs.
  • War stories and red flags from top VC partners and entrepreneurs.

Start-ups are a business model and culture of their own, changing the economic landscape as well as the way we live and work. The Ultimate Start-Up Guide offers an insider’s look at this world. It’s a fascinating read for anyone contemplating how to build or participate in a successful start-up.

6. Startup Fundraising | By Atal Malviya, Swati Suramya, and L.N. Parimi

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You have a great start-up idea. You decide to take the plunge and start your own company. You find like-minded friends who come together, and you start building the company. You realize you need money, loads of it, to pursue your dream. You decide to raise funds and do it successfully immediately. In a perfect world where things fell into place when we wished, this would be a possibility. However, we live in a world that is far from perfect and is highly competitive. In 2017 alone, more than 11,000 start-ups received funding amounting to $164 billion (as per CB Insights and PricewaterhouseCoopers). Sounds heartening? It isn’t! Globally only 11,042 start-ups received funding. Why did the thousands of start-ups which had been launched in the last few years not succeed in raising funds? This book is written for startup founders to prepare them for successful fundraising for their company. From working on the core components of the startup to the preparation of the right documents and pitching to the investors, this book covers all key aspects of fundraising. Atal Malviya, the founder of Spark10 has built and exited VC-funded companies and has also helped hundreds of startups in raising investment globally. Spark10 has worked with investors and founders closely to fill the gaps and induct the most promising startups into its accelerator program while providing opportunities to savvy investors. This book is written by investors who see hundreds of deals on a regular basis and follow the same core pattern before taking a call – this book is the summary of that core pattern and components that investors look for, before making an investment decision. The book also talks about right and wrong investors and how founders must be wary while choosing their future investor partners. In this book, founders will also find links to useful recourses such as sample pitch deck, sample cash flow statements, and business plan structure that is usually shared with Spark10 companies joining the accelerator. Praise for Startup Fundraising Book – If you don’t know which to read first out of the thousands of books on startups, then Atal’s “Startup Fundraising” provides you with a crisp, concise and practical overview. Atal’s personal experience as an entrepreneur enables him to cut through the clutter and focus on the real questions. He lays out each of the key issues you face and gives you a great jumping-off point for your journey.- Rupert Edwards, Founder & CEO at Spirit Labs As an entrepreneur one must comprehend that cash is the magnet for the development motor of an organization. Raising money is a vital and full-time project. This book tries to deliver all viewpoints related to fundraising and were investors willing to invest. Entrepreneurs can get benefited from this book to perceive the mindset of the investor, type of investor they pick and what all they have to plan for raising support.”- Amit Chandak, Co-founder & CTO at Progen Business Solutions First things first: Thank you Atal, for giving me access to your book to read through. I can say that I have really enjoyed it and I have learned a lot! This should be the Go-To-Book for you, no matter if you are an Investor trying to figure out in what start-up you should invest into, or a founder who wants to raise funds. The data is thoroughly researched and shows the high-end skill level of the author. He knows what he is talking about as he knows both sides. The investor’s point of view and the founders’ point of view as well. This is very rare and makes this book a gem.- Richard Trummer, ICO Advisor and StrategistSo go ahead, read the book, spread the word, and make a difference!

7. Never Too Late to Startup | By Rob Kornblum

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Start Your New Company, Get the Freedom You Have Always Dreamed Of
What if you could break free of the corporate rat race? How would your life be different if you owned your own business? Entrepreneurship is the ultimate mid-life career change.
Startup founder and former venture capitalist Rob Kornblum shows how starting a company in mid-life is not only achievable but more likely to succeed. Through dozens of interviews with mid-life founders, Kornblum shows:
 
– How to discover great ideas for your new business
– Why great entrepreneurs don’t just follow their passion (and what they do instead)
– How to market your products like the pros
– How starting a side business lowers your risk
– How to build a great company AND keep a normal family life
– Why the skills you already have to increase your chances of success
– How to find your ideal co-founders and team
– How mid-life entrepreneurs get their businesses funded
– Why this is the best time ever to start a business
  Including BONUS Resources including a 90 Day Timeline, 1 Page Business Plan, Fundraising pitch template, and more.
  If you have years of experience in business, have wanted to start your own business but never did, this is the book you need to get you over the hump.

Pick up your copy today.

8. Trillion Dollar Coach | By Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle

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The team behind How Google Works returns with management lessons from the legendary coach and business executive, Bill Campbell, whose mentoring of some of our most successful modern entrepreneurs has helped create well over a trillion dollars in market value.

Bill Campbell played an instrumental role in the growth of several prominent companies, such as Google, Apple, and Intuit, fostering deep relationships with Silicon Valley visionaries, including Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt. In addition, this business genius mentored dozens of other important leaders on both coasts, from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists to educators to football players, leaving behind a legacy of growing companies, successful people, respect, friendship, and love after his death in 2016.

Leaders at Google for over a decade, Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle experienced firsthand how the man fondly known as Coach Bill built trusting relationships, fostered personal growth—even in those at the pinnacle of their careers—inspired courage, and identified and resolved simmering tensions that inevitably arise in fast-moving environments. To honor their mentor and inspire and teach future generations, they have codified his wisdom in this essential guide.

Based on interviews with over eighty people who knew and loved Bill Campbell, Trillion Dollar Coach explains the Coach’s principles and illustrates them with stories from the many great people and companies with which he worked. The result is a blueprint for forward-thinking business leaders and managers that will help them create higher performing and faster-moving cultures, teams, and companies.

9. Build Something Great! | By David Overhauser and Resve Saleh

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The objective of “Build Something Great!” is to significantly increase the number of startups that succeed. It is well-timed as the industry is in the midst of another boom cycle for high-tech startups. It has been written explicitly to help these startups by presenting the best ideas, concepts, and knowledge from those in the high-tech business world who have already succeeded.

This book is unique among startup books on the market. Rather than providing details on what most entrepreneurs can figure out on their own, it addresses the critical issues that are elusive to most. It provides valuable advice and practical information to help in decision-making and avoiding pitfalls that may lie in the path to success. It captures the keys to success and the mistakes that lead to failure. It makes you think about the important factors in every decision. It provides useful examples, metaphors, and illustrations to convey the concepts in a way that is easy to understand.

There are many approaches to guide founders and entrepreneurs of startup companies. The most effective way is to provide great tips that have accumulated over the years. Tips are often offered as keys to success by founders, experienced executives, industry observers, venture capitalists, and angel investors. For this reason, this book is written as a set of 50 Best Tips for High-Tech Startups that are easily remembered or quickly referenced. While there are many more valuable tips, the list has been reduced to the best 50 that are most helpful to early-stage companies in a variety of industries. Depending on the material being described, each tip is presented in several different sections that include thumbnails, details, key points, takeaways, and additional notes as appropriate. With this format, the manner in which the material is absorbed conforms to the reader’s circumstances: whether at an airport, on a plane, at work, in a coffee shop, or on the beach.

Tips are organized into several major stages and associated activities of a startup: getting the company started, building the product, getting funded, building the team, and running the company. The authors have applied these tips through their experience as professors, entrepreneurs, startup advisors, and angel investors. They have seen successful application of the tips as well as consequences when tips are not followed.

This book is intended primarily for first-time entrepreneurs, but reviewers have indicated that the content is useful at all stages of a startup because of the breadth and depth of the topics covered. Phrases such as “terrific”, “a potential game-changer” and “innovative” have been used by reviewers in their feedback comments. Furthermore, they believe it will be a handy reference book to keep on the shelf for all management and employees so that everyone is working from the same playbook. It is a “must-have” book for any high-tech entrepreneur who wants to be successful.

Learn more at the website www.BuildSomethingGreat.biz.

10. How to Start a Startup | By Tarun Agarwal

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New startups are created every day around the world, with many founders dreaming of millions of users and billions of dollars. But the harsh reality is that very few will succeed.

How can entrepreneurs stack the odds in their favor? By learning from the experiences of startup founders, executives, and investors who’ve been there before.

That’s exactly what “How to Start a Startup” provides, sharing essential lessons from 25+ Silicon Valley insiders who’ve faced the challenges of starting a new business and come out swinging.

Based on a Stanford University course taught by Y Combinator (the prestigious startup accelerator behind companies like Dropbox and Airbnb), this in-depth reference guide features advice from experts like:
– Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder
– Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook co-founder
– Paul Graham, Y Combinator co-founder
– Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, co-founders of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm
– Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Founders Fund, early Facebook investor
– Ben Silbermann, Pinterest co-founder, and CEO

Nominated as “Book of the Year” by Product Hunt (the leading Silicon Valley community for discovering the best new products), “How to Start a Startup” reveals the secrets to raising money, building products users love, hiring a great team, getting press coverage, attracting customers, growing your business, and more.

No matter what type of product you’re creating (web, mobile, hardware, online-to-offline, etc.) or what audience you’re targeting (consumers or the enterprise), this playbook will give you all the information necessary to launch and scale a successful startup.

This book was created independently by the publishers and all net proceeds will go to support charitable causes promoting wider access to opportunity for all.

11. No Rules Rules | By Reed Hastins and Erin Meyer

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The New York Times bestseller.

Shortlisted for the 2020 Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year.

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings reveals for the first time the unorthodox culture behind one of the world’s most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies

There has never before been a company like Netflix. It has led to nothing short of a revolution in the entertainment industries, generating billions of dollars in annual revenue while capturing the imaginations of hundreds of millions of people in over 190 countries. But to reach these great heights, Netflix, which launched in 1998 as an online DVD rental service, has had to reinvent itself over and over again. This type of unprecedented flexibility would have been impossible without the counterintuitive and radical management principles that cofounder Reed Hastings established from the very beginning. Hastings rejected the conventional wisdom under which other companies operate and defied tradition to instead build a culture focused on freedom and responsibility, one that has allowed Netflix to adapt and innovate as the needs of its members and the world have simultaneously transformed.

Hastings set new standards, valuing people over process, emphasizing innovation over efficiency, and giving employees context, not controls. At Netflix, there are no vacation or expense policies. At Netflix, adequate performance gets a generous severance, and hard work is irrel­evant. At Netflix, you don’t try to please your boss, you give candid feedback instead. At Netflix, employees don’t need approval, and the company pays top of the market. When Hastings and his team first devised these unorthodox principles, the implications were unknown and untested. But in just a short period, their methods led to unparalleled speed and boldness, as Netflix quickly became one of the most loved brands in the world.

Here for the first time, Hastings and Erin Meyer, bestselling author of The Culture Map and one of the world’s most influential business thinkers, dive deep into the controversial ideologies at the heart of the Netflix psyche, which have generated results that are the envy of the business world. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with current and past Netflix employees from around the globe and never-before-told stories of trial and error from Hastings’s own career, No Rules Rules is the fascinating and untold account of the philosophy behind one of the world’s most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies.

12. The Startup Checklist | By David S. Rose and Bill Gross

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25 Steps to Found and Scale a High-Growth Business

The Startup Checklist is the entrepreneur’s essential companion. While most entrepreneurship books focus on strategy, this invaluable guide provides the concrete steps that will get your new business off to a strong start. You’ll learn the ins and outs of startup execution, management, legal issues, and practical processes throughout the launch and growth phases, and how to avoid the critical missteps that threaten the foundation of your business. Instead of simply referring you to experts, this discussion shows you exactly which experts you need, what exactly you need them to do, and which tools you will use to support them―and you’ll gain enough insight to ask smart questions that help you get your money’s worth. If you’re ready to do big things, this book has you covered from the first business card to the eventual exit.

Over two-thirds of startups are built on creaky foundations, and over two-thirds of startup costs go directly toward cleaning up legal and practical problems caused by an incomplete or improper start. This book helps you sidestep the messy and expensive clean-up process by giving you the specific actions you need to take right from the very beginning.

  • Understand the critical intricacies of legally incorporating and running a startup
  • Learn which experts you need, and what exactly you need from them
  • Make more intelligent decisions independent of your advisors
  • Avoid the challenges that threaten to derail great young companies

The typical American startup costs over $30,000 and requires working with over two dozen professionals and service providers before it even open for business―and the process is so complex that few founders do it correctly. Their startup’s errors often go unnoticed until the founder tries to seek outside capital, at which point they can cost thousands of dollars to fix. . . or even completely derail an investment. The Startup Checklist helps you avoid these problems and lay a strong foundation, so you can focus on building your business.

13. The Start-Up J Curve | By Howard Love

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Amazon Bestseller in Strategic Management, Startups, Lean Quality Control & Management, and Venture Capital

A predictable pattern of success.
Entrepreneurs who have read early drafts of The Start-Up J Curve responded, “I wish I had this book years ago.”

A startup unfolds in a predictable pattern; the more aware entrepreneurs are of this pattern, the better able they will be to capitalize on it. Author Howard Love calls this pattern the start-up J Curve: The toughest part of the endeavor is the time between the actual start of a new business and when the product and model are firmly established. The Start-Up J Curve gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to get through the early challenges so they can reach the primary value creation that lies beyond.

Love brings thirty-five years of start-up experience to this comprehensive guide to starting a business. He outlines the six predictable stages of start-up growth and details the activities that should be undertaken at each stage to ensure success and to avoid common pitfalls. Instead of feeling lost and confused after a setback, start-up founders and investors can anticipate the challenges, overcome the obstacles, and ride the curve to the top.

14. The Founder’s Dilemmas | By Noam Wasserman

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Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder’s Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team.

Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman reveals the common pitfalls founders face and how to avoid them. He looks at whether it is a good idea to cofound with friends or relatives, how and when to split the equity within the founding team, and how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired. Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas. He highlights the need at each step to strike a careful balance between controlling the startup and attracting the best resources to grow it and demonstrates why the easy short-term choice is often the most perilous in the long term.

The Founder’s Dilemmas draws on the inside stories of founders like Evan Williams of Twitter and Tim Westergren of Pandora while mining quantitative data on almost ten thousand founders.

People’s problems are the leading cause of failure in startups. This book offers solutions.

15. Startup Success | By Gordon Daugherty

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You’ve got yourself a startup! But now where’s the funding going to come from?

Most startup founders have never run a company—much less had to secure funding to reach crucial milestones. If you don’t get the funding you need, you may either make progress at a snail’s pace, or you may have to give up altogether. With stakes this high, improving a startup founder’s odds of fundraising successfully—even just a little—can make a huge difference in the outcome of a venture. In this informative and enlightening book, Gordon Daugherty demystifies the fundraising process that takes place during the early phases of a startup’s evolution.

Every founder cares about the valuation they will be able to negotiate with investors, and anyone who has attempted fundraising has encountered numerous debates about the valuation they’re asking for. Startup Success dedicates a whole chapter to negotiating valuation, which, in the end, involves a serious combination of art and science to execute effectively.

Daugherty’s book serves as a valuable educational and planning tool for use before the fundraising campaign begins and a reference guide for interacting and negotiating with investors after things get underway. Startup Success is written in a logical sequence that follows the general life cycle of planning and executing a successful fundraising campaign. Actionable tips, tricks, and aha realizations will have readers dog-earing pages and highlighting passages for future reference. The author’s own words tell it all: “I decided to write something different that best exploits the gray in my hair and the hard lessons I’ve learned.” Any startup founder, advisor, or angel investor—regardless of their experience level—will come away with improved skills and an increased knowledge base.

Gordon Daugherty is a seasoned business executive, entrepreneur, startup advisor, and investor. He has made more than 200 investments in early-stage companies as a venture fund manager and angel investor, and he has been involved in raising more than $80 million in growth and venture capital.

16. Startup Boards | By Brad Feld and Mahendra Ramsinghani

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An essential guide to understanding the dynamics of a startup’s board of directors

Let’s face it, as founders and entrepreneurs, you have a lot on your plate―getting to your minimum viable product, developing customer interaction, hiring team members, and managing the accounts/books. Sooner or later, you have a board of directors, three to five (or even seven) Type A personalities who seek your attention and at times will tell you what to do. While you might be hesitant to form a board, establishing an objective outside group is essential for startups, especially to keep you on track, call you out when you flail, and in some cases, save you from yourself.

In Startup Boards, Brad Feld―a Boulder, Colorado-based entrepreneur turned-venture capitalist―shares his experience in this area by talking about the importance of having the right board members on your team and how to manage them well. Along the way, he shares valuable insights on various aspects of the board, including how they can support you, help you understand your startup’s milestones and get to them faster, and hold you accountable.

  • Details the process of choosing board members, including interviewing many people, checking references, and remembering that there should be no fear in rejecting a wrong fit
  • Explores the importance of running great meetings, mixing social time with business time, and much more
  • Recommends being a board member yourself at some other organization so you see the other side of the equation

Engaging and informative, Startup Boards is a practical guide to one of the most important pieces of the startup puzzle.

17. Stop Hustling, Start Scaling | By Scott Sambucci

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Hustle doesn’t scale.

As a company founder, you started with an idea—how to solve a problem, how to build a product, and most importantly, how to impact your customers and change your industry.

Yes, of course, you’ve got to hustle. Yes, you’ve got to work hard. But the hustle and hard are just table stakes to get your startup going.

To really make the impact you set out to make, you need to create repeatability and scalability – in your revenue, your sale processes, and your team. This book is your roadmap.

Scott Sambucci has led three enterprise/B2B startups to their first millions in revenue – Blend in the lending industry, Altos Research in residential real estate, and Aplia in higher education. With each of these startups, the day-to-day selling and sales strategies changed each time. What remained the same across the core framework he used to build each startup’s repeatable revenue—The Q Framework.

When you implement The Q Framework for your startup, you’ll be able to:
– Talk with your prospects and customers in terms of the one thing they care most about (Hint… It’s not your product…)
– Identify every prospect’s critical business issue, and leverage that issue in every sales opportunity.
– Find and sell to every buyer, stakeholder, influencer, and decision-maker in every sales opportunity.
– Prove that buying your product is an investment for your prospect, and never hear words like “cost” and “budget” again in your sales conversations.
– Create clarity for your prospects and your team.
– Keep control of every sales call and every sales opportunity.
– Stop sending proposals that never get read and chasing prospects that you’ll never catch.
– Establish pilot programs and phased rollouts that give your customers the confidence to buy and implement your product.
– Stop hustling and start scaling your sales process, your team, and your company’s revenue.

Most startup founders think a repeatable sales process means:
– Booking as many demos as possible with anyone that wants to see their product.
– Hiring an industry veteran with a Rolodex to build their sales process.
– Spending tons of cash on a conference booth to beep badges.
– Blasting out spammy emails to a lead list that was bought or scraped.
– Giving away their product for free, or offering massive discounts, for case studies and product feedback.
– Building every feature that their Fortune 500 prospects suggest.
I- Emailing one-pagers and pitch decks because some mid-level manager asked for it.
– Sending proposals when prospects ask for them.
– Being a pushy extrovert who has to convince prospects to buy.

Nope. While these approaches might land a few customers and early revenue, without a repeatable framework to grow and scale sales, they’re a sure-fire way to end up never-ending start-up mode.

To ramp up your startup’s recurring revenue, to build a repeatable sales process, to get from startup to scale up, and to take your startup from idea to impact, you need to build revenue and scale.

Most sales books tell you about the sales process that worked for one company or industry.

This book will teach you about your sales process.

18. The Startup Playbook | By David Kidder and Reid Hoffman

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According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, more than 565,000 new businesses were created in 2010 in the United States alone—each one of them hoping to strike gold. The Startup Playbook will help them succeed. Going insider to insider with unprecedented access, New York Timesbestselling author and Clickable CEO, David Kidder, shares the hard-hitting experiences of some of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs and CEOs, revealing their most closely held advice. Face-to-face interviews with 40 founders give readers key insights into what it took to build PayPal, LinkedIn, AOL, TED, Flickr, and many others into household names. Special sections include topics ranging from how to select the right idea to pursue to finding funding and overcoming inevitable obstacles. In an economy demanding change, The Startup Playbook is the go-to for entrepreneurs big and small.

19. Startups Demystified | By Barbara Hou

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Campus entrepreneurship is on the rise.

This book speaks to “Generation F” – the generation of young founders – college and graduate students and young professionals who increasingly are pursuing entrepreneurial efforts, but may be unsure of how to start. Based on interviews with over 70 young founders in the midst of running their startups and the author’s own experience, this book shares the unwritten lessons, mistakes to avoid, and the secret strategies that are the most useful to those just starting their entrepreneurial journey.

Startups Demystified unmasks ideas that may be obvious to seasoned entrepreneurs and makes them explicit in order to support the innovative and deeply worthy initiatives of young people.

•Adopts the perspectives and concerns of new and aspiring young founders •Shares key processes and mindsets that all entrepreneurs must adopt •Written in tip form so it’s quick and easy to read for busy founders • Come with helpful headers and online and book resources •Provides concrete ideas, whether a for-profit, non-profit, or social enterprise •Features young founders in a variety of startup industries (such as healthcare, education, fashion, retail, energy, and many more).

20. Startup Culture Mindset | By Bernhard Schroeder

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A Primer to Building an Amazing Culture and Tribe was written for startup founders or executives who aspire to create an amazing team that buys into the mission. The key is to understand that the founder of a startup or leaders of a company determine the culture on purpose. And in order to do that well, you have to understand the key elements of a cultural framework. Based on 20 years of company creation, leadership and observation, I will share with you the key elements of a culture framework: ‣ Leadership: Led by the founders or key leaders of a startup. ‣ Mission: The goal of the startup from a customer point of view. ‣ Values: The core values of the startup, usually determined by the leadership. ‣ Freedom/Accountability: The key mantra to any successful startup. I will delve into each of these four areas of the cultural framework in the book. What you can expect from this book is research and knowledge on culture, a defined culture framework, insights from some amazing company founders, and quite a few takeaways that you can incorporate immediately into your daily life. For example, you don’t become a leader just because you launch a startup or lead a division in a company. You have to acquire years of knowledge, experience, and mentor-based insights as a great follower. Those are things you could be doing right now. Your ultimate goal is to establish the framework for an amazing culture before you actually launch the startup. Then when you recruit your first employee, you will know what type of person you are looking for, not based on a skill set, but based on fitting into your culture. The people you recruit will be critical to your success and they need to feel they are setting out on a powerful mission, guided by great leaders, supported by solid values, and fueled by a freedom and accountability atmosphere, all to help your customers attain their goal. If a potential recruit does not fit into this type of culture, regardless of skills, don’t hire them. Long term, they will disrupt the “tribe” of your other employees and dysfunction will occur. Do everything you can to keep these people out of your company even if it means you still approve of final recommended hires with a “culture” interview. One final thought on the critical importance of creating a great “tribe” for your startup. Quite a few Silicon Valley investors have said this when investing in a startup team. “Give me a great startup team with even a mediocre idea over a weak team with a great idea every time. Because a great team will know when to pivot and they will trust each other to execute. A weak team will simply fail.”

21. Traction | By Gino Wickman

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All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 80,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do.

In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.

For an illustrative, real-world lesson on how to apply Traction to your business, check out its companion book, Get A Grip.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Startup Founders

Everyone likes a good startup founder story from Sam Walton to Jeff Bezos. However, startup founders are not only those who startup the biggest brands in the market today. They are you local franchises, small business, and work out of your garage type organization. 

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

This page may contain affiliate links. This website may contain content that comes from Amazon. This website and its pages are not intended to constitute legal, financial, or tax advice. The information on this website and its pages are not intended to constitute investment advice and all content are the views and opinions of the author(s), contributors, or administrators. Please read our disclaimer for more info.

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