Giving a present is a very special and warm action towards any person who is either close to us or might just be an acquaintance. And Christmas can be a perfect example to show how dearly you cherish every single gift, filled with wisdom and happiness.
Speaking of Christmas, have you already thought about what kind of present you can give to your new startup friends? Something soothing and warm to spend their time, while staying at home and consuming valuable information? JetRuby is here to help you with this question!
As we are constantly keeping close and friendly contact with most of our partners, today we decided to make it more special. Our team has reached out to them, to ask a simple, yet important question: “What startup books did help you on the rise of your project?”
By combining all of the answers we have come up with the startup books list, that we want to present to you today! By first, let us ask you one thing.
Why should startups read?
You came here for the startup books based on the expertise and experience of our partners. However, what we meant exactly by that is what kind of value can you get by reading these startup books?
Every book has some meaning to it. That’s why we read them – to gain new knowledge and insight into something that we didn’t know before. JetRuby took this chance and acquainted with each of these startup books listed in this article. We provided detailed reviews so that you don’t confuse yourself with the description of each book. Since sometimes you don’t even understand what is it about.
And now for a round of valuable and interesting on why you should read for your startup!
- One of the important things to remember is your time. As you know, time runs fast and there are too many things to do. So many that reading feels like a luxury. That’s why you should always use time management to properly balance and manage your time accordingly. If you do so, exactly that will become a big part of your learning process.
- Sometimes you might feel like you don’t remember what you’ve read after finishing some kind of a book. But it’s not always like that. You still remember the concept and that’s what matters. Since they stack on each other and come at the right time and the right moment.
- To learn more about new ideas and concepts, research more success and failure stories, and make your conclusions upon that. Not only will it prevent you from making any mistakes, but it will significantly help you on a startup rise.
Startup books are truly a good source for gathering more practical knowledge points and gaining various insights for specific business fields. However, they should not be your top priority over everything else. There are far greater and significant things for startups to do. Startup books play no less important role, since with their help comes the wisdom of the proper business management, creativity, innovation, and eventual business growth.
Recommended startup books to read
If not all, then most of the listed books here are based on the personal experience and expertise of various successful entrepreneurs. Even though all of them can be treated like a pack of various success stories that you can read during bedtime, they have different valuable lessons in them. This is the first part of all our recommended startup books to read, so keep out for the next article to come soon!
Innovation & Creativity
This book is written by a famous investor Tim Ferriss. By interviewing 200 successful various entrepreneurs, he gained lots of valuable tips and tricks from their stories. He does provide all of that in his 700 pages book, connecting with pretty much any startup activity. Starting from simple health issues and ending with the proper productivity and effective work.
Word of Experts
“The Tools of Titans: the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers is the perfect read for obsessives wanting to boost their new year productivity. If this is the year you want to experiment with micro-dosing on LSD to boost your mental performance, this is the book for you.” – The Financial Time
“Tools of Titans” may look like one of the many thick startup books and somehow resemble a school dictionary. That’s why you might ask: “Why do I need to buy one of those gigantic startup books? I don’t have all-time in the world to read everything from it!”.
We get you since your time management is everything when it comes to business. However, not in this book’s case. You don’t need to read it from one end to another. Think of it as a swiss army knife. Whatever startup question you have already covered there.
As mentioned previously, Tim Ferris has interviewed numerous successful people on his online podcasts. He asked them lots of questions:
“What exactly did you do to bring yourself to the level of success that you are at right now?”
“What steps did you take?”
“Habits have you developed?”
“Sources of inspiration?”
And the list just goes on and on, both for the questions and the amount of interviewed successful people. Even our beloved Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger himself has taken part in his podcasts! So after conducting all of the interviews, he compiled the most useful and valuable information in a single book.
Another great thing we noticed about this particular book is that it covers lots of startup topics at once. For example, if you have a problem with running your business, then there is a “Wealth” section, where you have a free consultation from all of the famous people or millionaires. It is one of those startup books must read, that you can come across and a great investment in the upcoming 2021 year.
“The reason you’re suffering is you’re focused on yourself. People tell me, ‘I’m not suffering that way. I’m worried about my kids. My kids are not what they need to be.’ No, the reason these people are upset is they feel they failed their kids. It’s still about them… Suffering comes from three thought patterns: loss, less, never.” – Tony Robbins
“Every billionaire suffers from the same problem. Nobody around them ever says, ‘Hey, that stupid idea you just had is really stupid.’” – Marc Andreessen
As the subheading of the book suggests, its primary focus is to reveal the hidden psychological patterns in customer behavior. Nir Eyal strongly believes that the technology used to produce various products can potentially shape the customer’s behavior. Unlike other startup books, this one will analyze and theorize on why exactly every famous brand product captures our eyes and stays in our hands, while others stay at the warehouses. All of that and a bit more is carefully explained in this book with a four-step model that will present a guide on how to retain your customers as long as you possibly can.
Word of Experts
“In this short and punchy book, he draws on behavioral economics and neuroscience to examine why some products, games and television shows become habits, while others sink. This is useful knowledge for entrepreneurs, marketers, and designers. Creating something that brings people back for more is crucial to generating followers, viewers, consumers, and revenues.” – Financial Times
Nir Eyal indeed defined and shared the secret model of how exactly every digital product is drawing us. According to his research, he has identified four components of this model that he called “Hook”. And it constantly is gaining attraction not only to us but to the potential customers too. It slips through their habits, it goes into their routing, making them return again and again.
So, in short, you’ll learn how exactly this model can be applied to business terms and which can greatly help you gain more users. In theory, this “addiction” is being combined in several critical factors glued together, which is a product. These 4 key components are Trigger, Action, Reward, and Investment. So, these 4 horsemen of addiction can be combined in the following scenario:
- Triggered user is opening your app
- They perform a specific action within the app
- The result is the special award
- In the end, they invest to improve their app experience.
That being said let’s check out a more practical example, which can assist to understand the framework’s practical usage. Let’s say you are working and suddenly a notification bar pops up on your phone. One of your friends has just tweeted some kind of funny fact or a joke that you find surprisingly funny. This is the Trigger. Then you decided to reply to him with another humongous joke. This is the Action. Next, you begin to scroll through your daily feed and look for some other posts worth taking a look at or any other funny anecdotes. That’s the reward for your search effort. And finally, you tweet yourself how exactly your working day is going by. That’s the investment you’ve put. A simple and easy example, of how our psychology and this model works
Lots of various authors (which are also mentioned in this article) praised his book for such an ingenious and simple framework. Thus, “Hooked” is a must-to-have book if you want your app to trigger human psychology through simple interaction and make your product to get a “hook” on their minds.
“One method is to try asking the question “why” as many times as it takes to get to emotion. Usually this will happen by the fifth “why.” This is a technique adapted from the Toyota Production System described by Taiichi Ohno as the “5 Whys Method.” Ohno wrote that it was “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach … by repeating ‘why?’ five times, the nature of the problem, as well as its solution, becomes clear.”
The main reason that this book was so highly popular is that its primary focus was concentrated on the life of any startup and how they can attract the market apart from the big corps to the small startup groups in the same industry field. The author in broad detail explains how exactly these “prominent oracles of new business branches” have killed such big companies as Kodak, Xerox, and Alcatel.
Word of Experts
“The Innovator’s Dilemma has become the book to read among mainstream managers trying to dope out an Internet strategy.” – New York Times
It might be a very interesting point to read about the failure of big and successful companies. Not only because of their poor management decisions but because the same processes that made the company successful do not let it make any new branches and try something completely different.
After reading and getting to know this book close, we identified 3 key moments that are worth mentioning about disruptive markets:
- Big companies = Big revenue models. The initial investment of various capitals and profits into disruptive markets are often found to be a gigantic failure. Since by the time the disruptive market will grow bigger and bigger, it’s too late to get yourself into big companies. Such an example may be seen in the case of the electric car industry.
- Customer feedback can drive the company’s success. It is true that at some point, providing the things that customers want may be a good thing. Since you’ll get a good load of revenue by listening to your audience. However, it is not always like that, check out our other article that defies Christensen’s point of view and shows the opposite.
- Big companies are good at analyzing various data insights. Due to the reasons that the disruptive markets weren’t there when the social media big bang happened, now there is a whole lot of various data units to analyze. So, now it became crucial for big companies to have a team of professional business analytics, since before it wasn’t even a thing as there was little to no data.
On the flip side, sometimes the book dives too deeply into data. To be more precise, at some point the author tells the entire story about hard drive development. How and when it was done, how large the size of the drive was, etc. So, at some points, you may see as if the author wanted to get more details on the data analysis, rather than learning how the company strategies work.
In short, out of all these startup books, it is a neat example that shows how companies are operating, growing, and scaling efficiently. And perhaps the majority of created technical solutions may not always fit the world of today, while the strategic company lessons do.
“Disruptive technologies typically enable new markets to emerge.”
“To succeed consistently, good managers need to be skilled not just in choosing, training, and motivating the right people for the right job, but in choosing, building, and preparing the right organization for the job as well.”
“Disruptive technology should be framed as a marketing challenge, not a technological one.”
The author of this book and the founder of “TOMS Shoes” wrote his personal story of his own upcoming. He describes exactly how his business model of “one for one” gave a great breakthrough. Not only has he become a multimillionaire in less than 10 years, but he has also helped millions of poor kids around the world. Since with every purchased shoe pair, another one is given to a child who needs it too. It is truly a great story that inspires you to build your startup and to have a positive impact on our world today.
Word of Experts
“A creative and open-hearted business model for our times.”—The Wall Street Journal
Many of the guidelines are as equally applicable to personal as business life — like Mycoskie’s case for simplicity in a message, in design, in the accumulation of personal belongings. In the chapter titled “Keep It Simple,” he not only advises that an idea for a business should be honed down to a single sentence, but he also describes how he purged his life of accumulated “stuff,” by moving out of his Venice apartment and onto a 200-square-foot sailboat.” – Los Angeles Times
The concept is very simple to understand. However, what makes it so powerful is the story that Blake Mycoskie narrates. “For every pair of shoes bought, another pair would be given to someone who is in deep need of it, by the company.” And that’s the entire raisin of their success story!
As the author, Blake Mycoskie, shares all details of his own story, pretty much every leader will understand what major point he wanted to tell. And that is to have your own business story. Since, when the customers of TOMS were buying their shoes, they didn’t just buy a product, they felt like they were part of his story.
If you are also in trouble looking out for a company that will care and support your product idea from the bottom of your heart, then worry no more! JetRuby has passed through the 10-year path for lots of young entrepreneurs whom we assisted and educated. We will be glad to have your business reach success and we can teach you how to launch it. For more details on how your story can become a successful one, check out our Design and Discovery Phase.
To have a good business story, you need to have an engaging and interactive social media profile. Exactly there you can directly engage and actually connect the audience with your story, to relate to their own experience and thus solving their pain points. In the “TOMS” company case, it was the shoe stories, pictures, and videos that they constantly put up online on their social profiles.
“When you have a memorable story about who you are and what your mission is, your success no longer depends on how experienced you are or how many degrees you have or who you know. A good story transcends boundaries, breaks barriers, and opens doors. It is a key not only to starting a business but also to clarifying your identity and choices.”
The Fire Starter Sessions is an amazing addition to your bookshelf filled with startup books. It is a definitive guide that is constantly motivating to create and visualize success on your terms. Danielle LaPorte always speaks straight with no overwhelming speeches or quotes from famous authors and that’s what exactly captured millions of readers! It is both bold and at the same time an empathetic book for constructing yourself for your own business.
Word of Experts
“The book (for which she received a whopping quarter-million-dollar advance) is a whack in the head for anyone stuck in traditional, linear, fixed ways of thinking about career and success.” – Forbes
We can say that the author is crazy smart in some covered topics of this book. She knows exactly what she is talking about. The book has a lot to do with inspiration and self-help, but it doesn’t stop only there. It is more of a how-to guide, which guides you on how to build a purposeful and successful life in business that will make you happy.
We think that it is a great lesson since every entrepreneur needs to start from scratch what will make him happy, not anyone else. There are a couple of principles that she talks about and we find it interesting to share with you.
One of them is that a life balance is a myth. This quote is one of the reasons that people call her the truth-teller. Cause most of the people who write startup books or self-help books, just throw you with the steps you need to complete for your life to be in balance and success. While Danielle LaPorte declares that as a complete lie. Since the existence of such legends is the reason for what stresses us out every day. So it is a really important lesson to take and to let go, as an essential component of being successful.
And you should indeed understand what exactly you need to do for yourself, to get your business up and running. On the contrary, most of the entrepreneurs have constantly shown it otherwise. They quickly assemble the product, release it, advertise it all the way through, burn out, leaving nothing but scraps and bones. And we know how exactly you can avoid a scenario like that and avoid the majority of the crucial and expensive mistakes. See our Design and Discovery phase and learn exactly what and how we do it.
This is a manual for discovering your wants and desires when it comes to your own business. It is truly a loving way to discover yourself. You can pick any chapter and start from there. Immediately you’ll have lots of ideas, insights, and various actionable items. It’s a good book to note down all of the key points of your business in your free time. It is done to understand exactly what you want to create in your life and your business.
“When you hang with your tribe, you feel invigorated, recognized, and understood—you can’t underestimate the powerful effects of being fortified in that way. When you have your tribe on speed dial, you’ve got all the resources you need to fuel up, fly straight, and head back out to face the world at large.”
It was estimated that roughly more than 1.5million dollars are the approximate cost of the wrong hiring process that was said to be done almost every day. In this book, Geoff Smart and Randy Street will unfold a simple and productive solution for hiring the right people for the aimed success. Since in business, you are the one who is hiring people.
Word of Experts
“Hiring good people is easier said than done in my experience. “Who — The Method for Hiring”, however, does a great job in offering every hiring manager key considerations to make and techniques to apply when looking for new people.” – MAA1
The core value of “Who” is to provide maximum valuable and concise information on how to build your hiring process. It doesn’t have to be always just like the author prescribed in his work. However, keeping a general guideline will do the thing. Here are some basic examples that we want to share with you:
- The question “Who?” is making much more sense for any hiring process. Since my asking it, you’ll know the importance of choosing the right people around the hiring decisions. Since the quality of the people in your company is one of the base criteria of your success.
- CV is a practical and useful snapshot of a candidate’s career. It is a “diamond” with no failures, only accomplishments.
- “A players” is a term used to define specific candidates that can achieve almost 90% of the set outcomes. The book covers the entire process of getting such employees and hiring them without any failures.
- The Scorecard is a handy document, which is practically useful for determining the mission of the described positions, their outcomes, and competencies that fit with both the culture of the company and the role.
The process of hiring good people is not as easy as it might look. However, “Who” makes it easier and convenient for every hiring manager to make hiring decisions when it comes to a real case scenario.
“Nothing, of course, works every time. Some candidates will insist that they don’t know what the boss will say. Our advice is to keep reframing the question until you get an answer, but even that can take unusual persistence.”
The author, Ed Catmull, is famous and well-known as a director of Pixar studio. Ever since his early childhood, he dreamt about being an artist who would draw various movies for everyone. So he achieved that and on top of his career, he wrote a book about Pixar. In “Creativity Inc.” he is focusing on the creative strategies for the organizational structures. Which can be implemented with a unified goal for all of the employees and making small changes.
Word of Experts
“A fascinating story about how some very smart people built something that profoundly changed the animation business and, along with the way, popular culture . . . [Creativity, Inc.] is a well-told tale, full of detail about an interesting, intricate business. For fans of Pixar films, it’s a must-read. For fans of management and startup books, it belongs on the ‘value-added’ shelf.” – The Wall Street Journal
As weird as it might sound, this book does help actual startups. This is a story of Pixar’s upcoming, filled with wisdom stories that Ed Catmull accumulated during his long career.
During one of our client’s projects, a designer of our own has used a strategy that Ed Catmull showcased in his book. He took the initiative and put a very daring, but catchy logo as the main brand image. Later on, when we presented the concept of the product brand to the client, he was in awe. Turns out, he thought of this concept but has laid it off, since he assumed that the logo would be too aggressive. So, we were surprised too, when we found that during the Design and Discovery phase, a simple book like this one would help us.
Overall, this is a truly great source of creativity and understanding of people’s psychology, as one of our business analysts was saying: “Don’t focus only on one thing solely. It is in your interest to oversee all of the possible outcomes and variations before you get to implement your product.”
“If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.”
“You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.”
A great guide on how to become “a kick-ass boss”, by Kim Scott. She tells the secret on how to keep up your relationship on a positive level: by making it personal, making it important, and finishing the job. It tells all the exhausted and frustrated managerial positions a state on how to produce great and successful results while keeping a good attitude at it. Based on the author’s experience.
Word of Experts
“Reading Radical Candor will help you build, lead, and inspire teams to do the best work of their lives. Kim Scott’s insights―based on her experience, keen observational intelligence, and analysis–will help you be a better leader and create a more effective organization.” – Sheryl Sandberg, author of LEAN IN
The author tells a lot of various stories. Since, when you become an entrepreneur, every decision you make, every piece of work that everybody working with could be a source of success or failure for the whole company. Feedback is more important than it ever is at any given company. The market likes to call this feedback. We prefer to think of it as guidance.
One of the most important qualities that the author shares his view is that a founder should have is the power of feedback. Think of it as guidance and not as another feedback paper that you need to fill. If people are doing good deeds and you want them to do more of it – that’s praise. On the other hand, if people don’t do anything or do something negative and you want them to stop- that’s criticism. And it doesn’t take a long time to act, since the seeds of trust are sown in these little moments.
A founder should be helpful. He should offer assistance to the person in need of help. Don’t try to prove that you’re the boss. You are just trying to help them to fix the problem. You wanna give it immediately, you wanna give it in person. Remember, feedback gets measured not at your mouth, but the other’s person’s ear.
Give praise in public, while keeping a criticism in private. And most importantly, give both praise and criticism about somebody’s work or behavior. Don’t make it about some personal characteristic. Since the whole idea of guidance is to change something and it’s pretty hard to change your personality. So what the author of this book encourages everyone to do is, to give everybody who works for you a little bit of kind and clear criticism and a lot of honest and sincere praise.
“Make sure that you are seeing each person on your team with fresh eyes every day. People evolve, and so your relationships must evolve with them. Care personally; don’t put people in boxes and leave them there.”
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
“Crucial Conversations” is one of the many game-changing startup books for founders who are going to manage a team. Once you form your vision and idea, you’ll understand that another great challenge apart from running a business is team management. And since most of the people are not natural leaders or great speakers, there might be complications when it comes to conflicts. To correctly address these issues, this book can significantly assist you on your path.
Word of Experts
“The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here’s how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations.” – Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul
If you are in a managerial or serve in any kind of leadership role, you should read this book. Since from the very first words, the author acknowledges that the core of every successful conversation lies the free flow of relevant information.
You probably have conversations in your organization and your main goal is not simply to get others to comply but to buy into what they are complying with. Therefore, to seek mutual purpose, recognize the purpose behind the strategy, invent a mutual purpose, and brainstorm new ideas. This is just one of the core points from the book and there’s a lot more.
A solid statement, that the author of “Crucial Conversations” states is the significance of stories. Since every story, you tell or share controls your actions. That’s why most people don’t talk things out, we act them out. There’s even a section in this book where it gives you instructions on how exactly you can master these stories. And the more skilled you’ll get, the more likely you’ll be able to accomplish your goals. Here are these steps:
- Retrace your path to action, one element at a time.
- Analyze your behavior (not too critically).
- Be honest about what you are feeling.
- Challenge your feelings and question your story.
- Determine the facts and separate them from your story.
Another gem that the author gives to the reader is the avoidance of violated expectations. How to do it? Separate dialogue from decision making, by explaining how decisions should be executed. How to decide which decision is the best? Answer these 4 simple sections:
- The people who are affected by the decision.
- The personnel who knows what this decision is. (Expert on the matter)
- The employee who must agree on the decision
- The number of involved people (fewest number, the better)
So, all in all, it’s nice to own such startup books that are practical in both startups and any given life matter, as it covers almost every serious comeback you need to make.
“People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool–event ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open.”
The author portrays a so-called “Ideal Executive” as a forgotten story or even creature that everyone heard about, but no one saw it. Since it doesn’t exist in the first place. However, there are lots of people and both companies that think that such a thing does exist. And to prove to the world, they keep constantly trying to hire, educate, train, and nurture. results. But they never do, as they keep getting more and more failures. This book, once and for all answers and dresses the question of how the true executive show manages the company.
Word of Experts
“The Adizes approach to developing trust and mutual respect in an organization is the most effective tool that I have encountered for building strong leadership teams and getting results.” – Lynn L. Elsehans, President and Country Chair, Shell Oil Company
The book in general filled with practical and handy frameworks that one can use to maintain the company’s administrative and managerial sections. For example, the most obvious one is PAEI, which stands for Production, Administration, Entrepreneurship, and Integration. These 4 major qualities are very mandatory and essential to any organization’s management. However, at certain points in time, some of them may collide with each other and create a big contradiction.
This is one of the reasons why one single person is not able to perform all of the requirements or rather tasks assigned to him. Therefore, the only way out is to create a team of managers, who will divide and conquer these 4 domain powers of the company. Thus, building an efficient and productive company base.
Overall, the book is a definite enjoyment to read. Especially, if you happen to experience any emergency or absolute frustrating situations as a startup founder. All of the pieces of advice present simple frameworks, that explain what and how to address them.
“The purpose of management, leadership, parenting, or governing – any form of organizational leadership – is to solve today’s problems and get ready to deal with tomorrow’s problems. And that means managing change.”
“Some people have something to say. Some people have to say something. Avoid the second group.”
While you are carefully trying to find a choice among various startup books to read, especially for you, JetRuby prepared a present for you!
We understand what it means to be in the shoes of a young startup: constant meetings, dynamic changes, and lots of uncertainties. Our agency was in the same position more than 10 years ago. Once we grew bigger our CEO decided to assist and help young businesses and startups to rise with their prominent products. This decision was signified in the opening of a special platform that we call the Design and Discovery Phase or just DnD.
Several clients of our own, who passed it successfully shared that without it, they could have easily slipped through the cracks directly into the project failure. “Why do they say that?” – you might ask. In short, they stated that during the project planning phase, there were certain moments that not only overcame their expectations, but some aspects weren’t even considered by the clients themselves.
After constantly applying and implementing DnD Phase to various ideas, today we finally decided to share with you a secret recipe of good project development planning and how we can assist you with it! Click on this link that will lead to a whitepaper that describes the concrete project planning and you can get it now for free!
In the end, startup books are truly an awesome source of knowledge. And most of them are based on practical methodologies, flawed experience, and valuable results. Combine everything and you can utilize it during your project implementation. But at the same time don’t forget about other more important things in your startup. It’s recommended to allocate your time properly and read according to your schedule.
To further share our valuable knowledge and show you a more interesting insight into correct startup growth, we opened our unique platform named Design and Discovery phase!
Most of the things that are mentioned in the previously identified startup books are already covered and explained in detail within this platform. Your business targets, future app prototype, project plans, and even more have been backed up and proved by our top partners who already passed DnD. Now they are recommending it to you! So wait no more and see how the Design and Discovery phase can get your product back on the right track.