Best Startup Books For Building Innovative Companies Like Clockwork
“Your startup is a temporary organization in search of a business model.” – Steve Blank
For all of the challenges you face you have one big advantage: a chance to make a dream into reality.
And it’s this opportunity—the opportunity to live out your passion and your dream—that lets you keep going when things get tough.
You get to figure out how things should be done before anyone else does. You get to explore new avenues for growth that no one has ever thought about before.
But it’s hard work—finding those unique perspectives and then putting them into action takes more than hard work; it takes passion and commitment.
And maybe that’s why so many founders want to read books about startups—to feel closer to what it’s like to be a founder and maybe even transform their perspective on what success means for their own business and themselves.
You might also like our post on how to start a startup.
If you’re a founder who wants to stay on top of what’s next for startups—and you want some advice on how to get there—you need this list of top 5 startup books for founders.
You can always discover business models if you learn the right way to think. In this video Noah breaks down some winners all founders will love!
List of the best startup books
1. The Lean Startup Summary
A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
What do you think?
That’s the definition that Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, has come up with. And as he explains in his book and throughout the startup world, it’s a definition that challenges many assumptions that entrepreneurs have previously relied on to define success.
This is in no way an attempt to discourage anyone from starting a business. Rather, Ries’s goal is to empower entrepreneurs by giving them the tools they need to be successful—even if their startup doesn’t work—and avoid being one of the 90% of startups that fail (according to Ries).
Ries starts by defining a startup and putting it into a historical perspective. He talks about leveraging human creativity and utilizing validated learning in order to strengthen actual progress. These are all important factors in creating a business that works—that makes money and has staying power. He also doesn’t shy away from discussing vanity metrics, something that so many entrepreneurs fall prey to because they don’t know any better—or worse—they’re just trying to make themselves look good.
Ries also discusses testing vision continuously rather than creating elaborate plans. He talks about how many entrepreneurs often fall into what he calls the planning fallacy, which is a tendency for people to underestimate how long things will take and overestimate how much they’ll cost. This leads to a lot of wasted time and money—and, more importantly, it can lead to a failed business. A good way around that? Test your vision continuously instead of relying on elaborate plans.
Ries’s book provides an excellent foundation for any entrepreneur who wants their business to succeed and thrive over time—not just now but years from now as well. It’s worth reading not only because it gives you important information on what makes startups successful but also because it empowers you with the knowledge that will help you avoid some of those common pitfalls that so many startups fall prey to—and fail because of them.
2. SPRINT Summary
Are you a maker of things? Are you looking for a way to solve big problems and test new ideas?
If so, we have good news for you!
After years of developing, refining, and improving agile development methodologies, Jake Knapp, who’s worked with Google, Twitter, and other tech giants to help them test their ideas quickly and improve their products, accordingly, has finally written a book about it.
What does he call his new framework? Sprint.
Sprint lays out the framework for a new agile methodology that promises to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days. The book is full of practical tips and step-by-step guides from building to testing prototypes with customers to implementing feedback for betterment.
Jake Knapp, the creator of the sprint framework and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected experts on lean product development, teamed up with Google Ventures’ John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz to give you a toolkit for solving big problems and testing new ideas.
The problem with today’s big-idea approaches is that they’re expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective. This framework has been battle-tested at Google Ventures and perfected by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs for over a decade. It will help you solve big problems and test new ideas quickly, so you can build better products faster.
How? Well, if you want to build a great product, it’s not enough to ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. You need a process for quickly testing your assumptions about what customers really want—and building only what they actually need. Sprint gives you just such a process. It provides you with tools, techniques, and exercises for solving big problems and testing new ideas with speed, agility, and precision.
Further, you’ll learn how to:
– Set up a five-day sprint.
– Form a cross-functional team.
– Create and prioritize hypotheses.
– Design and build your minimum viable product (MVP).
– Test your MVP with customers.
– Get feedback from customers, experts, and partners.
Sprint is not just about building products; it’s about building successful products that make customers happy—and grow your business.
3. The Mom Test Summary
It’s heartbreaking to see smart; ambitious people waste so much time building products and companies that ultimately fail. It’s even more heartbreaking when it’s clear that they had the right idea but were just missing a few key pieces of information.
So how do you solve this problem?
In The Mom Test, author Rob Fitzpatrick shows you how to build a better company by asking the right questions and getting real answers from your potential customers.
Instead of falling for misleading assumptions about what your customers want or assuming that you know what they want, you’ll learn to build products that both excite your customers and make them excited for your product to come out.
Most business books about customer experience and building products tend to focus on niceties and best practices, but in a way that often leaves you feeling like you’re just not quite good enough yet.
The Mom Test is different. It shows you how to be honest with yourself while still keeping the pressure on and your heart rate up—because if you want to be successful, you need to know that all your competition is lying to you when they tell you their product is great.
The Mom Test gives you the tools and practical advice to start talking to customers and checking whether or not your business idea will actually fly. It’s a guide for both founders and managers who want to build a better company by designing products that inspire people.
Inside, you’ll learn:
– How to understand what customers truly think of your product—and why they may lie about it, even when they think they’re being honest.
– How to get out of the building (and into the field) so that you can talk directly with customers and find out what they really need from your product—even if it scares the daylights out of you.
– The secrets to designing products that resonate with customers—by putting yourself in their shoes, rather than trying something new and hoping it sticks.
– How to get others involved and on board with your ideas for how you should build your product—even if they disagree.
– How to make sure you’re building a product that people will actually want (and buy)—so you don’t waste months or years of your life and money chasing an idea that’s destined for failure. And much more…
This book is a must-read for any entrepreneur who is serious about building a great company. From the very first page, it’ll show you how to get out of your own head and into your customers’ heads—where you need to be if you want to build something people will love.
It’s also a great read for anyone who manages other people because it shows how you can turn your team into an effective force that helps build products that customers love.
4. START AT THE END Summary
If you’re an entrepreneur, your path is hard enough without being set up for failure before you even begin.
Now, thanks to START AT THE END, you can save yourself the heartbreak of designing a product that falls flat and start building a better company right from the very beginning.
Wallaert’s practical guide is based on behavioral science and breaks down the process of designing and refining into five easy-to-understand steps: identify a need, develop potential solutions, design the perfect solution, test it, and launch it.
For any entrepreneur who has ever felt frustrated by the lack of clear-cut guidance on how to create products that truly change people’s behavior, this book is a Godsend—it’s a practical approach that will help you draw in customers and make sure they keep coming back for more.
Wallaert is a behavioral psychologist with over 20 years of experience in consumer research and product design; he understands what it takes to build successful products that customers actually want to buy.
A modern approach to an age-old problem, Wallaert’s framework will help you avoid costly pitfalls that can sink even the most promising companies. And now you can buy his book for just $12.11!
5. Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition Summary
Entrepreneurs and other professionals tend to fall into one of a few categories when it comes to their relationship with new ideas. Some jump on all the latest trends, others embrace the tried-and-true, and still, others find a balance between the two.
If you’re in the latter group, you might be asking yourself: “How can I stay current without taking unnecessary risks?” Enter: Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore.
While Crossing the Chasm is written from an entrepreneurial perspective, its contents are useful for anyone interested in staying up to date with the business world’s latest developments without risking too much in the process of doing so.
Crossing the Chasm discusses how to build a better company by making cutting-edge products that sell well to mainstream audiences who may be unfamiliar with them.
Moore also addresses how to employ new strategies for marketing and selling disruptive products to customers who may not realize that they need your product—yet!
This book offers a practical approach to adopting new trends and technologies while maintaining a strong base of clients who are loyal to your existing products and services.
If you’ve ever felt like there was something missing from your strategies, or if you just want to make sure your company is up to date with today’s trends and tomorrow’s technologies, then consider picking up a copy of Crossing the Chasm.
It’ll help you find that balance between staying current and avoiding unnecessary risks.
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