A commitment to lifelong learning is a trait commonly found in the most successful entrepreneurs. So, with back-to-school season on all our minds, here’s my list of books (published in the last 12 months) that all entrepreneurs should read. Heck, even if you are only considering starting something, give these a read.
Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence–and How You Can, Too
Gary Vaynerchuk kicks off the list. The four-time New York Times bestselling author is a strongly opinionated, bombastic pundit of entrepreneurship. If you have never watched him on YouTube, think Anthony Robbins meets Jack Dorsey. He has a huge following, and for good reason: He gets it. His latest book continues his mission to share new lessons and entrepreneurial inspiration by leveraging the experiences of dozens of founders who have been there, done that.
Tribe of Mentors–Short Life Advice from the Best in the World
Tim Ferriss, the author of the blockbuster The 4-Hour Workweek, is sharing more tidbits, habits, practices, and exercises to make your life better. Tribe of Mentors gives you pearls of actionable wisdom that you can apply in your everyday life. This time Ferriss has brought along his friends–including Maria Sharapova, Dustin Moskovitz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Anderson, and dozens more–to share their stories. An online reviewer said it best: Think of this book as a massive collection of generally applicable mentorship advice from the world’s best and brightest.
Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea That Drives 10x Growth
In the startup world, John Doerr is a legend. With a net worth of more than $7 billion, this American venture capitalist has worked with (and funded) such luminaries as Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt of Google; Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com; and Scott Cook and Bill Campbell of Intuit. So when this guy talks, entrepreneurs should sit up and take notice. In Measure What Matters, Doer teaches us about using objectives and key results (OKR), a revolutionary approach to goal-setting, to make tough choices in business. He backs up his advice with firsthand behind-the-scenes narratives from the likes of Andy Grove, Bono, and Bill Gates.
The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth
Eric Ries changed the world of entrepreneurship with the publication of The Lean Startup in 2011. In October 2017, fresh off half a decade as one of Harvard Business School’s entrepreneurs in residence, Ries published The Startup Way. In it, Ries shares case studies of how Fortune 500 companies are leveraging the lean startup method to drive innovation and keep costs down. If you have ever wondered how you could apply startup methodology to your business, even if it is not a high-growth digital startup, this book is for you.
Lost & Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World
In Lost & Founder, Rand Fishkin, the founder of $45 million a year Moz, offers a VIP backstage pass to founder life in the startup world. Fishkin is funny and smart, but most of all, he is honest. In the media (like HBO’s Silicon Valley, ABC’s Shark Tank, and Amazon’s Startup), entrepreneurs are often portrayed as rock stars, world changers, and heroes. This book shines a light on dark side of that life, while at the same time highlighting the importance of soft skills when running a startup.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
The last book on my list is another crushingly honest exposé of startup life. In this case, John Carreyrou, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The Wall Street Journal, pulls back the curtain on the spectacular rise, massive fraud, and eventual fall of Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, a biotech startup once valued at $9 billion.
And there you have it: The books I’ve found most valuable in the last 12 months. So as the kids get ready to go back to school, you, too, should return to lifelong learning and read one of these.