September 21, 2016 | 5-minute read (900 words)
A big part of what makes a person an entrepreneur is a desire to do, to create. Drive, passion and a go getter mentality are traits you will come across often in communities dedicated to startup building.
As important as the activity you pursue is, it is just as important to recharge, to take down time and tend to yourself. The best way to find balance between doing and recharging is reading.
Hands down taking the time to sit still and cultivate curiosity for the stories and ideas of others is key. To tend to the enterprise of yourself while still allowing your mind to get out there making connections.
With that I share with you some of my favorites filled with great insights, storytelling and winning ideas to keep you primed even as you reboot.
The Art of the Start 2.0:
The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki
An inside view that’s been thoroughly updated and expanded from the first print, this gets to the heart of what’s needed to be an entrepreneur.
Kawasaki is a venture capitalist who offers glimpses into the objectives of V.C.’s. This can assist with crafting your own V.C. pitch. In addition, it is an excellent guide to help hone marketing. Plenty can be found here that is useful across all stages of launching a startup and expanding it. This is a man who has seen Silicon Valley from the start, from Apple to well beyond.
Not a passive book, it will be questioning you upfront about how and why you create meaning while providing valuable insight and practicality. Start here and be the better for it.
Inside Silicon Valley: How the Deals Get Done by Marc Phillips
A short but definitive read about the most crucial aspect of startups aiming big, pitching VCs.
Continuing on the topic of acquiring capital, if you want straight to the point step by step guidance on how to craft your pitch deck and what the steps look like as you go, this is the book you need. Take the time, make your notes and get out there hustling.
Phillips outlines what you need and how to bring it together. More than a book, this is a tool you’ll use and one you’ll be glad you read. Offering personable and current tales this is for anyone who wants to better understand how deals happen, whether first coming into the culture and scene of Silicon Valley or those within who want to connect to the pitch process with greater clarity.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Whether your business is brick and mortar oriented or purely web based this is focused and structured guidance on running efficiently and cutting unnecessary overhead.
Ries offers sound, methodical approaches to how to get down to basics, while going over how to collect feedback and fine tune your products while avoiding mistakes.
If you’re looking for a new way of approaching business planning, you’ll appreciate that Ries moves away from the traditional wisdom of a 3-5 year business plan and focuses on a faster more responsive methodology. His stress on experimentation and on iterative design planning, rather than on overdone construction, gives a refreshing take.
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston
A diverse collection spanning three decades, several waves therein and over thirty leaders sharing their stories.
Need another reason? How about that Livingston is a founding partner at Y Combinator and organizes Startup School the one day conference intro to YC, an organization deeply invested in supporting startups and connecting new founders with inside information.
Whether purely for entertainment or for knowledge gathering this is a stimulating read filled with anecdotes and guidance sure to provide inspiration to those fascinated by technical innovation.
Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore
This is the drill down guide to understanding the lifecycle of high technology adoption and the mindset of clients at each stage.
There are five major stages in adoption and each require different strategies to reach: Innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. Moore focuses on the different wants of each type of client as well as the “chasm”: looking at how success with early adopters gives way to the challenges of marketing to a majority share.
If one of your key goals is to coordinate your outreach as effectively as possible this book is unbeatable. Adding to its appeal, it has been updated to illustrate new insights in how marketing needs to get done.
Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck: What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur and Build a Great
Business by Anthony K. Tjan and Richard J. Harrington
What’s your entrepreneurial profile? What traits can make or break you as a leader? How can you wield them to your advantage?
That’s what this book helps bring into focus.
Tjan and Harrington began by studying the personality and traits of hundreds of successful individuals. They took leaders from around the world and across age ranges then analyzed traits and grouped them into which major elements they discovered. The four key factors found are, as the title says: heart, smarts, guts and luck. Within the book you’ll get support identifying yourself with the E.A.T, the entrepreneurial aptitude test.