Monday, November 8, 2010

Startup Reading List - The Best of It - Alpha

After reading dozens of books on startups, here is what I recommend. The books below are a great introduction into business thinking, experimentation, and how to invest (not just money, but time and other resources too).

START HERE
– these books all have good information and complement each other – I recommend buying all four. You will read them many times.

ART OF THE START (Kawasaki): http://www.amazon.com/Art-Start-Time-Tested-Battle-Hardened-Starting/dp/1591840562 (basics for a tech startup – Kawasaki focuses too much on pitching to angels/VCs/funders as opposed to bootstrapping)

START SMALL FINISH BIG (DeLuca): http://www.amazon.com/Start-Small-Finish-Big-Successful/dp/product-description/0446524026 (basics for all new business creation, from the Subway founder DeLuca – lots of great bootstrapping tips – how to get from small to very large)

DO MORE FASTER (TechStars): http://www.amazon.com/Do-More-Faster-TechStars-Accelerate/dp/0470929839 (more detailed basics for tech startups, from the venture incubator TechStars in CO/NY – most important tips are on how to create a good initial team and how to iterate quickly from bad ideas to products that sell soon – I think a committed team of people who trust and complement each other matters more than an initial idea for most startups)

REWORK (Fried): http://www.amazon.com/Rework-Jason-Fried/dp/0307463745 (conceptual basics from the 37 Signals founders on how to build a solid business and conceptualize a product – many new ventures face these issues)

“HOW TO MAKE WEALTH” (Graham): http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html (the single best essay on startups and one of the best things ever written about business and wealth). Graham has written a few other excellent essays on startups:

“STARTUPS IN 13 SENTENCES”: http://www.paulgraham.com/13sentences.html
“WHAT STARTUPS ARE REALLY LIKE”: http://www.paulgraham.com/really.html
“WHY TO NOT NOT START A STARTUP”: http://www.paulgraham.com/notnot.html
“HOW TO FUND A STARTUP”: http://www.paulgraham.com/startupfunding.html
“THE 18 MISTAKES THAT KILL STARTUPS”: http://www.paulgraham.com/startupmistakes.html


ADVANCED READING – explore here as you need more specific information or some great inspiration – you can borrow these or consult them at libraries (I own them).

ENTREPRENEUR’S GUIDE TO BUSINESS LAW (Bagley): http://www.amazon.com/Entrepreneurs-Guide-Business-Law/dp/0324042914 (basic info/guide to all the legal issues – you’ll never need anything else)

FOUR STEPS TO THE EPIPHANY – CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT (Blank): http://www.amazon.com/Four-Steps-Epiphany-Steven-Blank/dp/0976470705 (a great process/way to talk to customers and develop a product that they want iteratively – geared toward tech)

MADE IN AMERICA (Walton): http://www.amazon.com/Sam-Walton-Made-America/dp/0553562835 (how Sam Walton built Walmart from one store to the largest US company by sales)

BEHIND THE CLOUD (Benioff): http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Cloud-Salesforce-com-Billion-Dollar-Company/dp/0470521163 (how Marc Benioff, a serial entrepreneur, built Salesforce, with great tips on doing a tech startup)

DELIVERING HAPPINESS (Hsieh): http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 (how Tony Hsieh, a serial entrepreneur, built his tech companies, and his vision of a company not just selling things but actually improving people’s lives, making them happier)

COPY THIS (Orfalea): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PO64KA/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0761137777&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1NEATZ91HJQV4KFMP7VR (how Paul Orfalea built Kinkos from one store after graduating from college – lots of great stories and personal growth advice)

“THE GOLDEN GUT” (Kirkland on Adelson): http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2005/10/17/8358041/index.htm (how Sheldon Adelson, a serial entrepreneur, built multiple businesses and sold them, getting bigger every time and taking smart risks and experimenting)

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