Sep 20

11 Recommendations for the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

Note from Jimmy Hua:

This post is shared through my Google Reader from another source. All credit of the post belongs to them which you can access by going to 11 Recommendations for the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

“Formal education will make you a living; self education will make you a fortune,” entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said. But where is one to start? Amazon returns 12,146 book results for the term “entrepreneur,” and most people who define themselves as such are too busy to even begin making a modest dent in that sum.

We asked venture capitalists and entrepreneurs for the books that they would recommend entrepreneurs keep in their shelves. The 11 recommendations we got back include some expected startup classics like Jessica Livingston’s Founders at Work, but also a few surprising novels and creative takes on business strategy.


On the Road by Jack Kerouac

“Part of being an entrepreneur is about the journey from idea to business. There is no better book about journey and exploration than On The Road.” — Andy Weissman, Founder and COO, Betaworks


Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

“This book is absolutely critical to understanding real economics,
explains it in a way that is not just tolerable, but entertaining, and is desperately needed because entrepreneurs usually don’t learn real economics until it’s too late.” — Frank Speiser, Co-Founder, SocialFlow


Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

“The stories of founders in the earliest years of their companies are detailed enough to be good learning and written well enough to be a good read.” — Ross Fubini, Advisor, Kapor Capital


Influence by Robert Cialdini

Influence really helps you counter your impression of why people behave a certain way. All the key emotional and psychological reasons why people make decisions are in there, which is immensely helpful when making a product or getting customers because people don’t behave as rationally as you would expect.” — Dan Porter, CEO OMGPOP


Everything I Know About Business I Learned From Monopoly by Alex Axelrod

“Axelrod teaches entrepreneurs how to start and run a business using a game that everyone grew up playing (the book will also make you a better monopoly player). For example, in order to explain scarcity and competition, he uses the number of houses in Monopoly (once they are all used, you can’t build houses anymore, which reduces your competitors’ chance at success).” — Jay Levy, Partner, Zelkova Ventures


What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

“Kevin was the founding editor of Wired Magazine. His first book, Out of Control (covering co-evolution, hives, artificial life and the power of biological processes), is perhaps my favorite book of all time. His next book, New Rules for the New Economy, was a great primer during our early Internet investing days. His latest book traces the analogy between our technological creations and evolutionary progress, and helps provide a framework for the likely technological vectors for the future.” — Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Piersig

“I believe the best early stage entrepreneurs are completely
obsessed with their products. Piersig’s classic book is the best explanation of quality, both philosophically and practically, of any book I’ve ever read. It has had profound influence on how I think
about ‘how I do things’ and I believe it is a critically important book for every entrepreneur to read. It’s best read quietly, slowly, and with lots of thoughtful contemplation.” — Brad Feld, Managing Director at Foundry Group and Author of Do More Faster


It’s Your Ship by Michael Abrashoff

“The book follows a naval captain and how he turned the worst ship in the navy into the top performing by using business strategies or strategies that can be applied to business. Given that the book is based on the military and not a typical business, it provides for an interesting read and a great perspective on how to apply management theories in any environment.” — Jay Levy, Partner, Zelkova Ventures


Lean Thinking by James Womack and Daniel Jones

“Those of us building digital companies often underestimate the lessons we can learn from brick-and-mortar businesses. This book gives great insight into the origin of lean thinking, understanding how to think about a company, identifying value streams and relentlessly focusing on what’s important.” — Tony Haile, General Manager, Chartbeat


The Remains of Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

“At Benchmark we have the opportunity to work with so many interesting companies early in their life cycle, and we see that those founded by entrepreneurs with far-reaching visions are often the most successful over time. The Remains of the Day encompasses, for me, a reminder to always dream big and swing for the fences.” — Matt Cohler, General Partner, Benchmark Capital


The Startup Game by William H. Draper III

The Start Up Game has it all — a captivating story from one of the greats, great advice for the entrepreneur, the importance of free markets, and a novel model for non-profits. [It’s a] total winner by a man who has big shoes to fill.” — Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (and, notably, the author’s son)

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