13 Must-Read Entrepreneurial Books for Tech Founders – Forbes
Nothing in the world can replace the wisdom that exists in books. Whether you love paper copies, download books to your e-reader, or listen to books on tape in the car, reading remains the best way to learn and grow.
As a tech entrepreneur, you want to learn from the best. Countless entrepreneurs have launched startups before you, and this is not the time to go it alone and try to lone-wolf it. Some of the best tech founders in the world have written books imparting years of wisdom so that someone else just like you can learn from their mistakes. You can read alone or as part of a business focused book club.
I’ve put together a list of the most popular and effective books on the market right now for tech entrepreneurs who want to stay ahead of the game. Check them out and prepare to expand your mind — and your skill set.
- Your One Word by Evan Carmichael
Carmichael built and sold a biotech company at 19, was a VC at 22, and now he’s helping other entrepreneurs find their passion and drive to be successful. One Word gives you a step-by-step guide to nailing down your life philosophy, helping you use that personal motto to bolster success on your own terms.
- Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Wharton School professor Grant has extensive corporate consulting experience that has given him a unique perspective on creativity in the workplace. In Originals, he explains how to fight groupthink and bolster individual thought, how to recognize a good idea, how to speak up without being silenced, and how parents can encourage creativity in their kids. Originals is imperative reading for any tech founder going into today’s saturated market.
- The Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
As the next in tech investor, entrepreneur and self-help guru Ferriss’ bestseller lexicon, The Tools of Titans condenses all of the best life lessons and habits of over 300 uber-successful performers. Culled from his incredibly popular podcast, this books is a collection of all of the best habits Ferriss has used in his own life, plus much more.
- Rich20Something: Ditch Your Average Job, Start An Epic Business, and Live the Life You Want by Daniel DiPiazza
Irreverent Millennial DiPiazza has a unique voice and a comprehensive strategy for 20-somethings to “level up” and become entrepreneurs, including but not limited to building and growing an online business and working a side hustle. Perfect for those who are just getting into the tech game and need some inspirational leadership, Rich20Something will definitely help you build a business you care about.
- Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent by Sidney Finkelstein
In his newest book, management guru Finkelstein interviews successful leaders and distills their leadership wisdom into relatable and emulatable information. Finkelstein uncovers leaders who bolster and even let go of their top proteges, creating the next wave of successful management and driving growth for all companies involved. This should be leadership 101 reading, especially for tech companies who need all the help they can get.
- Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone
If you really want to compete with the best and the brightest in tech, you need to be more than just average. Cardone’s audiobook posits that you need to be obsessed, insatiable, and use all of that passionate energy to propel your business forward. If you really want to move out of the “epidemic of average,” as Cardone says, this is the audiobook to listen to.
- The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success by Emma Seppala
I’m a big believer in finding happiness first and foremost, even above success, and Stanford psychologist Seppala’s book insightfully examines how we approach increasing demands at work and at home that keep us from happiness. Flipping the usual script, Seppala uses the latest cognitive psychology research to show that happiness is the greatest contributor to productivity, success, and fulfillment. I’ve seen the stressors that occur in the culture of Silicon Valley firsthand, and I highly recommend this book to help overcome them.
Larger technological forces and trends are already in play, and Kevin Kelly, former executive editor of Wired magazine, explains how those trends — from AI to virtual homes — will interact and revolutionize everything that we do in the coming years. Kelly’s deep understanding of these trends is paramount for any tech executive who wants to keep up and take advantage of what we already know is coming down the pipeline.
- The Hard Thing About the Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
Silicon Valley royalty Ben Horowitz (of Andreessen Horowitz) has condensed his most sage and practical wisdom into this book, a synthesis of his very popular and irreverent Ben’s Blog. Everything you wanted to know about hiring, firing, cashing out, and being a great leader at the top is included in this book. Learn from the best, and maybe laugh a little on the way.
- Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products by Nir Eyal
Simply put, if you want a great app that people can’t live without, you need to understand why they can’t live without it. Eyal explains the four-step process that encourages consumers to get hooked on a product, and keeps your user engagement high and steady. He’s an engaging writer with an easy to understand model that will immediately change your approach to your product build.
- Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey
Mackey’s assertion in this book is that Capitalism can be of service to all: not only to stakeholders and leaders, but employees, consumers, and the planet. Rather than create a culture of executive-as-mercenary, Mackey divulges his secrets to creating Whole Foods, one of the most successful chains in the world. He also breaks down other hugely successful and “conscious” corporations, such as the Container Store and UPS. In today’s political climate, this book is needed more than ever.
- The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen
A classic that coined the word “disruption,” The Innovator’s Dilemma is still as relevant as it was in 1997, and was recently updated to reflect changing tech. Harvard Business School Professor Christensen’s assertion states that companies that place too much emphasis on customer’s current needs without placing attention on future needs and marketplace changes are doomed to fail, as new products “disrupt” the old. If you really want to understand tech startups today, this is where you should start.
- Startupland by Mikkel Svane
More than just the story of the founding of Svane’s company Zendesk, Startupland is an approachable, inspirational jaunt through all of the lessons Svane and his co-founders learned along the way. His isn’t the traditional story, and certainly no fairytale, but Svane has learned how to start a tech company the hard way. You’ll enjoy reading it and learn something along the way.
Everything you put into your brain feeds you, so let these inspirational and incredible books feed you the wisdom that will boost your success.