I’m an avid reader of books and can safely say I learn a lot from them. I previously did a list of top 10 books on personal finance and really enjoyed producing that list. This time around we look at 10 books for start ups. There are more than 10 must read books for start ups and narrowing this list down to just 10 meant having to look for some of the more comprehensive titles. We will perhaps do a follow up article to this one. Now here are 10 must read books for start ups.

1. The $100 start up by Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau’s book breaks the essence of the start up business down to one thing; paying customers. Of its not the only thing a business needs but paying customers are the bedrock on which the systems that we call businesses are built. While you can benefit from this at any stage in your business its best for those who have an idea but may feel overwhelmed by how much it takes to get a business up and running.

2. Zero to one by Peter Thiel

If you don’t know PayPal then please do a search now to understand how important this company has been to the internet and payment systems. Peter Thiel is a founder of PayPal and gives us insight into how much it took to make PayPal succeed. If you have an idea or have started your idea and are struggling to scale or don’t know why people aren’t just adopting your perfect product this book will unlock the start up secrets you need to know.

3. Guerrilla marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

Easily the best marketing book for small businesses out there it is written practically with great detail in the application of the concepts. Levinson simply puts forth that the marketing taught in business school is for big businesses and we need to tweak some of the concepts to match the needs of small businesses. You will not regret reading this book.

4. Crushing it 2018 by Gary Vaynerchuk

If you’re doing business online or at least have an online presence Gary’s approach to the digital marketing world is for you. Notably Gary doesn’t waste a lot of time talking concepts but rather focuses on practical application of concepts. This is why we have Crushing it (2018) following hot on the heels of Crush it (2015). They are both worth a read.

5. 10X rule by Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone is a different man. So the 10X rule is a different book. Cardone talks about effort and how we tend to underestimate the effort required to achieve our goals. So if you have a great product and are wondering why the customers, funding or partners are just not coming to the party this is the book you need. I rated this as the number one book I read in 2018 across all genres.

6. Influence by Robert Cialdini

Want to understand why people do the things they do and how to use this to aid your marketing and negotiating efforts? Say no more. Robert Cialdinis Influence is based on multiple research studies and a distillation of some of the best influence principles. It’s incredibly effective. It may feel a bit corporate and stiff as a read due to its academic nature but the writer made a decent attempt to balance it with story telling to illustrate the principles.

7. How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

This classic obviously had to make the list. I would’ve left it out but it’s possible there are people who haven’t read it or heard about it. The book has aged very well in spite of changes in technology and its impact on how we communicate. I recommend this book for any stage of business, even if you don’t have the idea yet just read the book but more importantly use it.

8. Start with why by Simon Sinek

If you’ve ever had the experience of dealing with a toddler who keeps asking why this one will be automatic for you. On a serious note though Sineks approach answers the big question and encourages you to ask it of yourself before you ask the market. Why would customers buy my product? Why would they leave whatever they’ve been doing up to now? The why can be applied in many situations but the underlying is your why. Times change and businesses evolve but Sinek shows that best businesses do not change their why. So if you’re about to start something or are already operating but want to adopt a new product or industry altogether this one will help you make sense of things.

9. Screw it let’s do it! By Richard Branson

Bold book title, bolder man. Sir Richard Branson has done a lot. A LOT! And some of it he had no business doing or trying to do. Yet some ideas paid off. I like this one because he speaks openly about the early days running Student Magazine all the way through to Virgin Atlantic and just how much it took to make it work. Richard Branson is a man with passion more than anything else. There’s a lot to learn from this book.

10. Sales dogs by Blair Singer

I’d be remiss to finish this list without a book on sales. I also had to pick the best one for all stages of the business. Sales dogs is a very important book in sales. Singer categories the 5 types of Salesperson personalities into dog breeds by behavior. The dog type informs you how a person likes to be sold to. The book makes it very easy to identify what type you are dealing with and how to appeal to them. It also gives you insight into sales team members and how to manage  the different types for best individual and team performance.

If you like this sort of content do let us know. There will definitely be a follow up list to this one in the near future.