Updated 21 April 22
Entrepreneurs should always be open to learning new things. Whether its from the results of hypothesis-lead experiments or conversations with your user panel, it all contributes to helping derisk your startup.
Equally as important as learning from your own findings, is learning from the knowledge of other founders who have experience at tacking the same hurdles as you.
So here’s our list of top 5 books that will educate, inspire and help you overcome the challenges in your startup journey. If you’ve got any other suggestions for our must-read list of books, drop them into the comments at the bottom of the page.
The Most Awful, Sometimes Awesome Truth about Building a Tech Startup
- Rand Fishkin
This is a story, not a self-help nor a reference book, which any digital startup entrepreneur will love. Rand (Co-Founder of SEOmoz) gives a huge peak behind the curtain of a SaaS VC backed startup.
Too many company biographies omit the failures and cockups...which often are the most didactic insights. This one highlights and even celebrates them with a wry sense of humour.
If you are thinking of or already are 'enjoying' the trials and tribulations of setting up a startup...start here.
You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See
- Seth Godin
"Real marketing isn't about racking up clicks and tweets; it's about connection, empathy, and making a difference."
The arrival of this has been more hotly anticipated than the next 'Game Of Thrones' book. Seth is a god amongst marketers and has concentrated his decades of experience, training courses and wisdom into this accessible publication. You'll get everything from basic principles to a detailed set of heuristics, that won't age as marketing tactics and trends evolve.
Serendipitously Seth's approach has many parallels and harmonies with aspects of the Lean Startup... which we love.
If you read only one marketing book.. read this one.
OKRs - The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth
- John Doer
Objectives and key results (OKR), created at Google, is a framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes. It is a beautifully simple method to galvanise your whole company behind a common set of goals.
Doerr has introduced OKRs to more than fifty companies, helping tech giants and triggered independent adoption across the globe, across industries and across scales.
This is a detailed handbook that explains what they are, how to implement them at any scale and most importantly how to promote them. It reads like a narrative though as Doer illustrates every point with powerful examples from his colourful career.
We wholeheartedly recommend both OKRs and this book to all our startup cofounders.
The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies
- Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh
This is a deeply informative and exciting read; full of 'from the trenches' wisdom. Scaling rapidly is scary but these guys are here to support you. Not only have they studied and run (Stanford) courses on it, but they have also built some of today's tech giants from startups.
Irrespective of the size of your company, if you are operating in a world where speed is the key competitive advantage, Blitzscaling is the playbook. It will be of most interest to those businesses where rapid scaling is necessary to win/disrupt their market or those that need large volumes of clients to reach profitability. However, it is rich in principles, tips, processes and philosophies that any startup entrepreneur would benefit from having to hand.
How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence and How You Can Too
- Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary explains how and then drives you to fully exploit every current major social media platform to amplify your personal and company brand on each.
• Established mediums (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat),
• Audio/podcast platforms like Spotify and iTunes
• Emerging platforms
This book is perfect for giving your entrepreneurial spirit a good kick up the bum. Gary puts you to shame, inspires you to be the best you can be and then invites his friends to tell you how they did it.
We strongly advise both the audiobook and the paperback as Gary is an inspiring talker.
At Nova we take the best from the new, the tried, the tested and the tempered methodologies and toolkits to create our 'Lean' process. This cost-efficient and rapid approach to launching a startup alleviates risk... something potential investors like to see.
We then work with our founders to tailor our proven process to your business, so you are gaining not just the knowledge and experience of our Startup Teams, but also the concentrated and critically assessed insights of business leaders and the latest research.
Nova increase your chance of succeeding or pivoting, correctly, early and we can help you be much more attractive to potential seed investors.
Interested in growing your startup idea with us?