What’s on your bookshelf?
IDH is happy to share your book reviews and recommendations. Let us know what you’re reading.
Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job
Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job emphasizes the idea that, while millions of entrepreneurs launch new ventures every year, few startups survive more than five years—and fewer make it to 10.
Geared toward aspiring entrepreneurs, Startup Opportunities provides a practical guide to help evaluate your business idea.
The book walks readers through various stages of startup exploration, beginning with defining what a startup actually is. Topics include people, product, marketing, planning, pitching, raising money, and pitfalls.
About the Authors
Brad Feld has been an early-stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.
Dr. Sean Wise is an expert on startups and venture capital. His various roles include: university professor, bestselling author, international business speaker, and partner at Ryerson Futures, a seed stage venture capital fund and technology accelerator.
Brad and Sean have spent more than two decades assessing startup opportunities. They have viewed more than 30,000 pitches and participated in more than 500 startup launches.
Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job is available at Amazon.com.
It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose
This book is designed to help business leaders and entrepreneurs discover and define the purpose of their organization.
Over the last 35 years, author Roy Spence has helped organizations including Southwest Airlines, BMW, the University of Texas, Wal-Mart, and the Clinton Global Initiative achieve greatness by obsessing about one big idea: purpose. Focusing on purpose benefits employee engagement, reduced the threat of competition, creates more customer loyalty, and helps organizations be more innovative.
According to author Roy, “Purpose is a reason for being that goes beyond making money-and it almost always results in making more money than you ever thought possible.”
The first part of the book Purpose Principles, helps leaders define purpose and then walks them through discovering and articulating their own purpose.
Subsequent parts cover:
- Building an Organization That Makes a Difference
- Becoming a Leader of Great Purpose
- Bringing Your Purpose to Life in the Marketplace
It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For provides relevant information for leaders of every type of business, from corporations and membership organizations to nonprofits and higher education.
As Roy writes, “In a company without a purpose, people have no idea what they’re really there to do. There may be a flurry of activity and an abundance of “busy-ness,” but it all seems frenetic, disorganized, and leading in no particular direction…Contrast this with a company that has great purpose. You can usually feel it when you walk in the door. You can sense it in the confidence and clarity with which employees go about doing their work. You can see it in the remarkable ways they do business.”
Praise for It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For
“If there is a secret to success in business, Roy Spence has gotten to the heart of it: that the most winning organizations exude a genuine and truly distinctive sense of purpose—a powerful set of ideas that neutralize the competition, click with customers, inspire employers, and reshape the sense of what’s possible in the marketplace.”
—Polly LaBarre, coauthor Mavericks at Work
“Roy Spence’s book demonstrates the purpose of power in building successful organizations. He shows how to discover your purpose, cultivate it, and use it to make a difference as well as to make profits. If this book doesn’t inspire you to create a purpose-driven organization, nothing will. It sure inspires me.”
—Bill Novelli, CEO AARP
It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose is available at Amazon.com.
The Art of the Start 2.0
There’s no shortage of advice about topics including innovating, recruiting, fundraising, and branding, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a small-business owner, an intrapreneur, or a not-for-profit leader.
The Art of the Start 2.0 helps solve that problem by distilling Guy Kawasaki’s decades of experience as a strategist in the business world. The updated version of the book is more than 50% longer than version 1.0 and features Guy’s latest insights and practical advice about topics including social media, crowdfunding, and cloud computing.
The book includes thought-provoking “exercises” such as:
- Complete this sentence: If your startup never existed, the world would be worse off because ______.
- If someone asks your parents or your receptionist what your startup does, what would they say?
- Think about how you serve your customers. What kind of meaning does your startup make?
The Art of the Start 2.0 is designed to help readers master the fundamental challenges that have not changed: building a strong team, creating an awesome product or service, and facing down the competition.
According to Guy, “Entrepreneur is a state of mind, not a job title.”
Praise for The Art of the Start 2.0
“The Art of the Start 2.0 is the ultimate entrepreneurship handbook. Kawasaki’s generous wisdom, tips, and humor reflect his successes and failures. We can all benefit from his insights.”
—Arianna Huffington, President and Editor in Chief, Huffington Post
“A successful entrepreneur requires three things: a garage, an idea, and this book—Guy’s irrepressible guide to the raw essentials of life in a young company.”
—Michael Moritz, Sequoia Capital
About the Author
Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva (an online design service) and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley. Previously, Guy was the chief evangelist of Apple and special advisor to the CEO of the Motorola business unit of Google. His books include The Art of Social Media and Enchantment.
The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything is available at Amazon.com.
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (And When to Stick)
Bestselling author and business executive Seth Godin has written 18 books about marketing, leadership, and change. His books include Permission Marketing, All Marketers Are Liars, and Small is the New Big. The Founder and CEO of Squidoo.com, Seth is also a well-known lecturer and author of the influential and internationally known business blog sethgodin.com. Before his writing and blogging work, Seth was Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!
In The Dip, Seth emphasizes why successful individuals and organizations are not afraid to quit—and, more importantly, they know what and when to quit.
According to Seth, the true secret to success is quitting. He writes, “Most of the time, we deal with the obstacles by persevering. Sometimes we get discouraged and turn to inspirational writing, like stuff from Vince Lombardi: ‘Quitters never win and winners never quit.’ Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”
Here’s how Seth defines the dip:
It’s the fifth job interview where they never even call you back.
It’s the middle of the marathon, when the excitement of the starting gun is a dim memory, and the joy of the finish line is a distant dream.
It’s any rough path you have to get through before achieving your big goal…if in fact you’re chasing the right goal.
Oh yeah, it’s also the key to your career, your company’s future, and maybe your ultimate happiness.
Seth describes the dip as the long, hard period between beginning something new and finally mastering it. It’s after the excitement of those first beginning days has worn off and before the fulfillment of your dream. And it’s the time during which, although it seems quite reasonable to quit, you should stick things out. Why? Because, “almost everything in life worth doing is controlled by the dip.”
Seth’s secret to dealing with the dip involves a short assignment:
Write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it.
“A short read that should be on every entrepreneur’s book list.”
The Dip prescribes a cleverly counterintuitive way to approach one’s potential for success. Seth demonstrates how to identify and quit your “cul-de-sac” and “cliff” situations, in which no amount of work will lead to success. Seth provides tips for finding your dip, taking advantage of it, and becoming one of the few (inevitably valuable) players to emerge on the other side. He also provides guidelines for quitting with confidence. His truth-that “we fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit” makes excellent sense of an often-difficult career move.
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) is available at Amazon.com.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Written by experienced entrepreneur Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers offers advice and practical information about building and running a startup based on his well-known blog. The book is geared toward veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to launch a new venture.
Ben is the Co-Founder and General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley–based venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs launching technology companies. He has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fortune Magazine, The Economist, and Bloomberg Businessweek.
In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben shares his experiences and insights from his career as a computer science student, software engineer, cofounder, CEO, and investor in ben’s blog, which is read by nearly 10 million people.
The book cover topics including:
- Demoting (or firing) a loyal friend
- Whether you should incorporate titles and promotions, and how to handle them
- If it’s okay to hire people from your friend’s company
- How to manage your own psychology, while the whole company is relying on you
- What to do when smart people are bad employees
- Why Andreessen Horowitz prefers founder CEOs, and how to become one
- Whether you should sell your company, and how to do it.
Praise for The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“More than any other business book released this year, Hard Things gives an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to lead and scale a startup.”
– Business Insider’s Best Business Books of 2014
“Ben’s book is a great read—with uncomfortable truths about entrepreneurship and how to lead a company. It’s also an inspiring story of a business rebirth through sheer willpower.”
– Larry Page, Co-Founder and CEO Google
“Every management guide presumes that all great companies follow a formula. But successful startups don’t imitate; they build innovations that can’t be copied. Ben Horowitz knows no recipe guarantees success. He has written the first true guide for protecting a startup from self-sabotage.”
– Peter Thiel, Co-Founder PayPal, Founder and Partner at Founders Fund
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers is available at Amazon.com
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
Connecticut entrepreneur Bernadette Bolton, Founder of Be Real Culture LLC, reviewed Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman:
This book made me quit my job.
I’ve probably read more than my share of business management books—and love the theories, fresh perspective, and insights they contain. But none have impacted me like this book.
Traction is much more than theory. It’s essentially a “how-to” manual for every leader who wants to build a strong, manageable, scalable business. The book describes the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), which provides instruction for how to create a solid, effective management framework and then guides readers through the process of building their business around it. Every owner and leadership team should read this book!
In fact, I was so convinced about the positive impact the EOS process could have on a company that I left my c-suite position and launched my own startup, Be Real Culture LLC, in order to help more business owners implement the system.
It’s clear Wickman was influenced by other acclaimed business works, such as Jim Collins’ Good to Great and Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Revisited. But in Traction, Wickman cleverly pulls all the best time-tested, effective tools together into one complete system then lays out a simple plan for implementation. He also includes real-life examples of businesses that are using EOS and shares their stories, challenges, and triumphs.
While the writing style is a bit boring, and Wickman’s use of acronyms will probably drive you a little crazy, the content is spot on. Yes, most of it is common sense—but common sense is not always common practice. If you’re a business owner, make the time and have the discipline to implement what Wickman teaches in the book, you’ll see remarkable improvements in your business.
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business is available at Amazon.
Learn more about Bernie and Be Real Culture in our interview:
Entrepreneurial Operating System-Based Consulting Startup
Self-Employed: 50 Signs That You Might Be An Entrepreneur
Written by successful entrepreneurs Joel Comm and John Rampton, Self-Employed: 50 Signs That You Might Be An Entrepreneur identifies 50 qualities that epitomize entrepreneurs.
Author, speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur Joel Comm has published 12 books, including The AdSense Code, Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs, KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays, and Twitter Power 2.0. Joel has also written more than 40 ebooks and has appeared in The New York Times and on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.
Serial entrepreneur John Rampton has started and sold several successful businesses.
Entrepreneur Magazine recently named John #3 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World. Forbes has also recognized John as a blogging expert.
Self-Employed: 50 Signs That You Might Be An Entrepreneur is broken out into six parts, covering:
Topics within each part speak to the reader with captivating chapter heads, such as:
- You Were Raised by Entrepreneurs
- You Put Your Business Before Your Family
- Some People Think You’re Nuts
- You Know Your Limits
- Your Passion is Infectious
- You Ignore the Problems and Look For Solutions
- You Think “No” Means “Not Yet”
- You Do Your Homework
- You Want to Win But You’re Not Afraid To Lose
- You Only Speak One Language: Business
- You Understand That Time Is More Valuable Than Money
From the introduction:
On any entrepreneurial journey, that initial idea might feel the most important part of the business, but that exhilarating idea moment is the moment that takes the least amount of time and effort. Entrepreneurs might have a dozen billion-dollar ideas before breakfast.
It’s not enough for an entrepreneur to be an original thinker. They also have to be unstoppable doers. They have to be able to find people, employ them, and motivate them. They have to be able to raise the funds, be willing to risk the money they find, and put in all the hours and mornings and weekends and holidays they need to turn the vision in their heads into something that other people can see and use and enjoy.
Self-Employed: 50 Signs That You Might Be An Entrepreneur is available at Amazon.com.
All In: Real Life Business Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Serial entrepreneur and author of All In: Real Life Business Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, Bill Green transformed his first startup, Wilmar Industries, from a flea market table to a $630-million corporation with more than 2,300 employees.
Green wrote All In to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with practical tools to help them commit to their startups, maximize their potential, and succeed in their business endeavors.
Throughout All In: Real Life Business Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, Green answers the question he often hears from students and mentees: “How can a regular person make it as an entrepreneur?”
Green’s message is universal and can apply to practically any industry. His writing is sincere and relatable, as evidenced in Chapter One I Believe in Your Big Dreams:
My humble background is why I will always have a soft spot in my heart for feisty entrepreneurs like you. Forty years ago, I was you. I was a small business owner who had a great idea for a business that I brought to life, and it was chugging along pretty well. I shouldn’t have had any complaints. I was living the dream. But you know what? I had that same itch you do.
I didn’t want to settle for good; I wanted great. Not just great, I wanted amazing. I didn’t want to beat my competition. I wanted to own them.
I did it and along the way I learned 101 essential insights into making your business great that can be applied to virtually any business model on earth. These are the lessons I’m going to share with you. I didn’t just wake up one day and have all these epiphanies. All these things I learned from experience. I had to make mistakes, I had to try again, I had to keep coming back day after day until I got it right.
I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did.
From there, the book walks aspiring entrepreneurs through additional chapters that cover topics including:
- Doing what it takes to succeed
- Turning your passion into your trade
- When failure is not an option
- Creating multiple profit arms for your business
- Selling to commercial clients
- Creating a niche
- Learning your clients’ wants and needs
- Building a team
- Mastering “relationship selling”
- The power of networking
- Growing your company organically
- Acquisition and retirement planning
- Searching for your next idea
Praise for All In: Real Life Business Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs:
“Bill Green takes readers on his delightful, humorous, and sometimes painful journey as a serial entrepreneur. Through engaging stories revealing valuable lessons I can’t be learned and textbooks, aspiring entrepreneurs will discover that starting a business is the hardest work they’ll ever do, but doing the work will reward them with a lifetime of opportunities.”
—Kathleen Allen, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Marshall School of Business, University of California.
“This book is for anyone. It will take a look at the mind of a savvy, street smart entrepreneur and will help you on your journey of building a successful business.”
—Martin Hanaka, Former Chairman and CEO of The Sports Authority
“This book will enlighten true entrepreneurs! It is an absolute must read for entrepreneurs who are serious about success.”
—Mitchell Morgan, Founder, Chairman & CEO Morgan Properties
All In: 101 Real Life Business Lessons for Emerging Entrepreneurs is available at Amazon.com.
Top Books Entrepreneurs and Leaders Should Read
“One of the best ways to ensure that you grow as a person and a leader is to read—a lot,” writes Entrepreneur contributor Deep Patel.
His top picks for entrepreneurs and leaders include:
- Managing the Mental Game by Jeff Boss
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek
- The Go-Giver Leader by Bob Burg and John David Mann
- The Dip by Seth Godin
- Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Drive by Daniel H. Pink
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Give and Take by Adam Grant
- What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack
To learn more, read the Entrepreneur article “10 Books Every Leader Should Read to Be Successful.”
The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is the Time to Join the Ride
Darren Hardy became an entrepreneur at the age of 18. “I’d always been attracted to doing things outside the traditional structure,” he writes. “The idea of running your own business? Of controlling your own future and not being constrained by minimum wage and pointless rules? My inner rebel jumped out of line. It was like someone had just turned on the world’s brightest light bulb. I was in!”
Hardy continued his entrepreneurial journey, and through his first “’real” business, he was earning a six-figure annual income at age 19. Five years later, he was a self-made millionaire. By age 27, he had a business generating more than $50 million in revenue.
Over the past two decades, Hardy has been a business leader in the success and human achievement industry. As the Publisher of SUCCESS magazine, he has interviewed, studied, and gained insights from successful entrepreneurs including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Martha Stewart, and Anne Sweeney.
A New York Times best-selling author and media contributor, Hardy also mentors high-performing CEOs, advises large corporations, and sits on the board of several companies and nonprofit organizations.
Hardy’s mission for The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster and supporting resources is to ”onboard” and empower 10 million new entrepreneurs globally.
The first chapter of The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster walks aspiring entrepreneurs through what it takes to survive and thrive in business—from finding your passion to defining success.
Subsequent chapters include strategies for success, sales, and leadership.
Praise for The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster
“The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster can help anyone who has always wanted to be an entrepreneur but never knew where to begin or what to expect.”
— Tony Hsieh, New York Times best-selling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.
“The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster is going to be the must-read book of the year for anyone who runs their own business or wants to. I really wish I had this book 20 years ago when I started my entrepreneurial journey; it would have saved me a ton of pain and shortened my learning curve.”
— David Bach, New York Times best-selling author of Start Late Finish Rich and The Automatic Millionaire
“There has never been a better time than now to become a bold entrepreneur. Darren Hardy hits all the essentials to be a successful entrepreneur that nobody teaches in school—courage, passion, purpose, persistence, bold thinking, and so much more. This book is a must-read before joining the ride of entrepreneurship.”
— Peter H. Diamandis, CEO of XPRIZE, chairman of Singularity University, and author of the New York Times best-seller Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think
“The future belongs to entrepreneurs—and Darren’s new book is a handbook that would-be entrepreneurs need for starting, growing, and sustaining a successful business in the wild, roller-coaster-ride world of entrepreneurship.”
— Robert Kiyosaki, educator, entrepreneur, investor, and author of Rich Dad Poor Dad
The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is the Time to Join the Ride is available at Amazon.com.
The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business
Entrepreneur and innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen is the Co-Founder of Innosight, a growth-strategy consultancy; Rose Park Advisors, an investment firm; and the Christensen Institute, a non-profit think tank. He is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the author of nine books, including several New York Times bestsellers: The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, Disrupting Class, and most recently How Will You Measure Your Life? Christensen was named the world’s most influential business thinker by Thinkers50 in 2011 and 2013
According to Christensen, outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership—or worse, disappear altogether. The book describes how companies can avoid this kind of outcome.
With a focus on “disruptive technology,” Christensen shows why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. He claims that successful companies with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, The Innovator’s Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on disruptive innovation.
The Innovator’s Dilemma is broken out into two parts:
- Why Great Companies Can Fail
- Managing Disruptive Technological Change
The book is designed to help readers determine:
- When it is right not to listen to customers
- When to invest in developing lower-performance products that promise lower margins
- When to pursue small markets at the expense of seemingly larger and more lucrative ones
Praise for The Innovator’s Dilemma
“Absolutely brilliant. Clayton Christensen provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company’s future success.”
—Michael R. Bloomberg
“This book ought to chill any executive who feels bulletproof —and inspire entrepreneurs aiming their guns.”
“A masterpiece….the most profound and useful business book ever written about innovation.”
—George Gilder, The Gilder Report
The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business is available at Amazon.com.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
Entrepreneur Eric Ries is author of the Startup Lessons Learned blog and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. He co-founded and served as Chief Technical Officer of IMVU, which was his third startup. Ries is a frequent speaker at business events and has advised startups, large companies, and venture capital firms about business and product strategy. His Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, and the Huffington Post.
Ries has experienced startup failures throughout his entrepreneurial journey. According to the book, most startups fail; however, many of those failures are preventable. Using the Lean Startup approach may be beneficial.
Inspired by Lean manufacturing, the Lean Startup approach can help a company innovate and pivot with agility. The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs in any size company solutions for continuously testing their vision continuously so they can adapt and make adjustments—before it’s too late. Ries’ book provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups.
The book is broken out into three parts:
- Vision describes a new discipline of entrepreneurial management: Identify who is an entrepreneur, define a startup, and use “validated learning” to help startups gauge their progress.
- Steer details the Lean Startup method: Test business assumptions, evaluate progress, decide whether to pivot or stay the course.
- Accelerate explores Lean manufacturing concepts applicable to startups: Learn to grow, adapt, and innovate.
The Lean Startup has been well reviewed by several professors, entrepreneurs, and startup founders:
“Whether you are a startup entrepreneur or corporate entrepreneur there are important lessons here for you on your quest toward the new and unknown.”
—Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
“The Lean Startup will change the way we think about entrepreneurship. As startup success rates improve, it could do more to boost global economic growth than any management book written in years.”
—Tom Eisenmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School
“If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book. Starting Lean is today’s best practice for innovators.”
—Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo and author of the bestselling The Monk and the Riddle
“This book develops a rigorous science for the innovation process through the methodology of ‘lean thinking.’ This methodology provides novel and powerful tools for companies to improve the speed and efficiency of their innovation processes through minimum viable products, validated learning, innovation accounting, and actionable metrics. These tools will help organizations large and small to sustain innovation by effectively leveraging the time, passion, and skill of their talent pools.”
—Andrea Goldsmith, professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and cofounder of several startups
Find out more about The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses at http://theleanstartup.com/book.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Lives: 25 Tales to Help Entrepreneurs Start, Grow and Succeed in Small Business
This book provides advice about typical management, marketing, and financial challenges faced by small business owners.
Author and lifelong entrepreneur Cavanaugh L. Gray, who is Founder of the web consultancy The Entrepreneur Café, LLC, notes that he has always been interested in entrepreneurship. Gray’s entrepreneurial experience is backed by almost two decades of small business training and business development, with a focus on business and strategic planning, marketing strategy, and entrepreneurial education.
Gray has contributed to Entrepreneur Magazine and has taught Small Business Management and Integrated Marketing Communications at the college level. In 1998, Gray founded the Young Entrepreneurs Program, a nonprofit organization for entrepreneurs up to age 18.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Lives begins by asking readers point blank: Why do you want to go into business for yourself? Each of the book’s chapters is taken from questions asked by early-stage business owners or an actual business case from The Entrepreneur Café clientele. Topics include:
- Business planning
- Forming partnerships
- Advisory boards
- Public relations and advertising
- Social entrepreneurship
Throughout The Entrepreneurial Spirit, Gray provides easy-to-follow advice and interactive end-of-chapter exercises. The book is designed to help entrepreneurs, startups, and organizations gain a better understanding of small business concepts, effectively navigate the entrepreneurial landscape, and grow their businesses.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Lives: 25 Tales to Help Entrepreneurs Start, Grow and Succeed in Small Business is available at Amazon.com.
Stand Out: How To Find Your Breakthrough Idea And Build A Following Around It
Author Dorie Clark is an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a Visiting Professor for IE Business School in Madrid. Clark frequently contributes to the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Entrepreneur and has appeared on media including MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC.
Clark’s book, Stand Out, was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. Magazine.
“The ultimate reason to invest in developing and spreading your ideas is—as Steve Job puts it—the imperative to ‘put a willingness to trust that your generosity will benefit the world,” Clark writes in the book’s introduction. She continues by saying, “If you want to become recognized as the best in your industry, you have to fight for it.”
The book walks readers through how to identify ideas that set them apart and successfully promote them. Stand Out is broken out into three different parts:
- Finding Your Breakthrough Idea—covers developing a niche and creating a framework
- Building a Following Around Your Ideas—discusses building a network, audience, and community
- Making It Happen—describes how to put it all into practice
Stand Out includes examples from interviews with thought leaders including author, entrepreneur, and public speaker Seth Godin; best-selling author Dan Pink; and David Allen, who is best known as the creator of the “Getting Things Done” time-management method.
According to the Library Journal, “For those just starting a career or trying to reinvent themselves, this book is a great choice. The ideas presented are practical ways of establishing your brand and your influence as an expert.”
Stand Out is “highly recommended” Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid, who says, “This is the book for you if you are starting any kind of personal, professional, or societal movement…Read this book and your revolution will be officially in motion.”
Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It is available at Amazon.com.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
Inc. Magazine referred to The E-Myth Revisited author Michael E. Gerber as “the World’s #1 Small Business Guru.” The longtime entrepreneur is founder of Michael E. Gerber Companies, a business skills training company based in Carlsbad, CA.
According to Amazon.com, the book’s title refers to the author’s belief that entrepreneurs make poor businesspeople. Gerber establishes an organized and regimented plan, so that daily details are scripted, freeing the entrepreneur’s mind to build the long-term success or failure of the business.
“Of the thousands of businesspeople I have had the opportunity to know and work with over the past two decades, few were real entrepreneurs when I met them,” begins Gerber in the Chapter One.
The author continues by:
- Dispelling the myths about starting a business and showing how assumptions can get in the way of running a business.
- Walking readers through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective.
- Showing how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise.
- Drawing the important distinction between working on your business and working in your business.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It is available at Amazon.com.
The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch
The 7 Day Startup author Dan Norris is a serial entrepreneur, award-winning content marketer, and international speaker. In June 2013 Norris founded WP Curve, a fast-growing WordPress support company. The startup became profitable in less than a month and eventually grew to a team of 40, servicing thousands of customers.
“You can never predict what happens after you start a business. Long-term plans and details documents are pointless. Most businesses go on to do something very different from what they set out to do. Today, this is called a pivot,” Norris writes in Chapter 1.
In the book—which is geared toward small business founders, entrepreneurs (and “wantrepreneurs”), freelancers, and bootstrappers—Norris provides helpful tips for those who are launching a new product. The book describes how he built a cash flowing small business startup in 7 days. Over a few years, his startup has grew to more than $400,000 in annual recurring revenue.
Chapters cover concepts such as:
- Defining what is a Startup
- Ideas and execution
- Refining your business model
- Business rules to live by
Readers can expect to learn:
- Why validation isn’t the answer
- How to evaluate your small business startup idea
- How to choose a business name, fast
- How to build a website in one day for less than $100
- 10 proven ways to quickly market a business
Additional resources included in The 7 Day Startup include:
- Idea evaluation spreadsheet
- Business name checklist
- Growth-tracking spreadsheet
- Marketing idea checklist for your small business startup
- List of more than 100 startup and new business resources
Praise for the 7 Day Startup
“Got a business idea? The 7 Day Startup by Dan Norris will take you from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur,” Foundr Magazine review.
The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch is available at Amazon.com.
The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs
Serial entrepreneur Kevin D. Johnson is president of Johnson Media Inc., a multimillion-dollar marketing and communications company that serves some significant Fortune 100 businesses. An innovative leader, Johnson has appeared on CNN, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS, Oprah Radio, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
The books starts off with a bang, with the author saying:
To be an entrepreneur is to think differently. While most people seek refuge, entrepreneurs take risks. They don’t want a job; they want to create jobs. Their goal isn’t to think outside the box as much as it is to own the box. Entrepreneurs don’t follow the market; they define the market. This bold and seemingly backward way of thinking I refer to as the Entrepreneurial Mind.
DEVELOPING THE ENTREPRENEUR MIND
According to the author, the Entrepreneur Mind is a way of thinking that comes from learning the essential lessons from successful entrepreneurs.
Written for aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs, The Entrepreneur Mind provides 100 key lessons for entrepreneurs in seven different areas:
- Strategy—creating new markets, risks, outsourcing, technology, failure
- Education—pros and cons of higher education
- People—teamwork, talent, and mentoring
- Finance—tips on paying taxes, managing your cash flow, and the benefits of hiring an accountant
- Marketing and Sales—finding customers, getting the word out, building a network
- Leadership—pushing beyond your fears, making sacrifices, having endurance
- Motivation—making your idea a reality, learning to love your entrepreneurial lifestyle
Praise for The Entrepreneur Mind
“Kevin Johnson has written a phenomenal book that will inspire readers to become high-achieving entrepreneurs. Kevin exemplifies and articulates the great opportunity, fulfillment, and value that pursuing entrepreneurship brings.”
—Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, U.S. congressman, and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“What I absolutely love about this book is the embedded story within about an entrepreneur who sought mentorship, and in turn became a mentor to others. This book isn’t just for entrepreneurs, though; it is for thinkers, doers, and winners.”
—Robert Lahm, PhD, associate professor of Entrepreneurship, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Western California University
The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs is available at Amazon.com.
Four Books Entrepreneurs Should Read in 2016
Entrepreneur Timothy Skyes recommends Four Books That Every Entrepreneur Must Read in 2016.
A leading penny stock expert, trader, and advocate, Sykes has been featured on CNN, Fox News, and CNBC and has spoken at institutions such as Harvard University. Inc. Magazine recognized Sykes’ startup as one of the fastest growing companies in America.
“If you are an entrepreneur, chances are you may feel like you simply don’t have time to read for fun, but it is very important that you do what you can to start reading more” says Skyes. “Reading is a great way to expand your mind, learn new things and read about skills that can translate into a more successful business.”
See below for his entrepreneurial reading recommendations.
Bold by Peter Diamonds
This book is designed to help you start understanding some of the new emerging technology in today’s market and how they can benefit your business. Established billionaire Peter Diamonds breaks down the information and explains it in a way that even people who aren’t tech-savvy can understand.
Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
If you who want to make a lot of money, “just focusing on the dollar amount will never get you to your goals,” advises Skyes. “You need to dream about being successful enough to make the type of money you want,” he adds. “If it is all about the money and all about the dollars and cents, you aren’t being authentic in your pursuits.” Elon Musk is about dreaming big and working to make the world better instead of just focusing on the money.
Makers by Chris Anderson
“Many entrepreneurs really need that extra boost of inspiration to get things done,” says Sykes. According to Sykes, Makers—which is centered on self-made individuals who want to inspire themselves to do something great—is one of the best inspirational books out there.
Zero To One by Peter Thiel
According to Skyes, this book can help you get the boost you need to start building your company and make the type of money you have always wanted to make.
To learn more about Timothy Sykes, visit his website at www.timothysykes.com.
10 Recommended Books for Leaders
Aashish Dalal, Co-Founder and CEO of fast-growing startup ParkWhiz, recommends 10 Books That’ll Bring Out the Leader in Everyone Who Reads Them.
Dalal says, “Leaders should set aside time outside of email, meetings, and conference calls to settle in with something that’ll improve their skills.”
His recommended reading choices—and reasons for including these books—are below.
1. Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz
Identifies why less is more and helps you to find balance and happiness in your life choices.
2. Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You by Betsy Myers
Intuitive and inspiring advice about taking command and bringing out the best in yourself.
3. Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
The “Who” methodology provides a plan to your company hire top performers.
4. The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni
Once you’ve hired the A players for your organization, how do you focus on organizational health? How can your company maximize productivity and align everyone toward its core objectives?
5. Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business by Matt Blumberg
A must-read book for any first-time leader.
6. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
Advice for entirely changing your life, including sleeping habits, technology addiction, and rethinking how you think about success.
7. Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking With People Who Think Differently by Dawna Markova, PhD and Angie McArthur
Actionable tips for improving collaboration skills—all backed by neuroscience.
8. The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More by Bruce Feiler
Shares useful tips to better connect with your family while you’re not working.
9. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
A framework for navigating confrontation from beginning to end that shows you how to stay balanced and use productive problem-solving skills.
10. Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans
Provides valuable insight and actionable engagement strategies.
Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine’s Journey to Revive the American Spirit
After failing out of college, left-proclaimed lifelong entrepreneur Adam von Gootkin had a major epiphany: “It’s up to us as individuals to design our own futures.”
Living Proof documents von Gootkin and his business partner Pete Kowalczyk’s journey to turn their Connecticut startup into a multimillion-dollar, award-winning spirit distillery. “Every brand we all know and respect at some point was a startup,” von Gootkin notes.
The book’s chapters—each of which close with a drink recipe—cover all types of business lessons, from setting and reaching goals to hiring the right employees to making a social impact.
In Living Proof von Gootkin discusses the value of failure, emphasizing that, “There’s nothing like failure to challenge your growth as an entrepreneur.”
He also stresses the importance of authenticity: “No matter how much capital you have, you still can’t buy authenticity, and you can’t buy a true emotional following from your customers.”
In another key point in the book, von Gootkin, who is committed to inspiring Connecticut entrepreneurs says, “As entrepreneurs, it’s our job to think big. Ideas are the currency we deal in, the lifeblood of our hopes and dreams. Part of the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur is figuring out how to tune into your ideas and instincts and trusting your gut over the (sometimes misplaced) guidance of others.
As von Gootkin notes in his interview with Innovation Destination Hartford, the book is a great read for anyone who’s getting into entrepreneurship and not sure where to start. Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine’s Journey to Revive the American Spirit is available at Amazon.com.
Book reviewed by Innovation Destination Hartford Website Curator Nan Price.
Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business
Published in 2013, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business is “a definitive book for any CEO—first time or otherwise—of a high-growth company,” according to Amazon.com.
Technology and marketing entrepreneur and author Matt Blumberg started a company called Return Path in 1999. The startup later became the driving force behind the creation of his blog, OnlyOnce, because “you’re only a first-time CEO once.”
“I set out to write the book I wish someone had given me on my first day of work as CEO of Return Path,” says Blumberg in a sound bite posted on Amazon.com. “There is no instruction manual, no field guide, to being a CEO. If you’re starting your own company and have never done it before, you don’t have the luxury of a [high] level of grooming.”
Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business is the fifth books in the StartUp Revolution series. The book:
- Offers valuable insights into how CEOs set the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicate it to all stakeholders
- Discusses how to build a company’s human capital by recruiting, hiring, and retaining effective talent
- Examines how a CEO must align available resources with the company’s strategy to ensure success
- Addresses what it takes to master the “How” of being a CEO—from leading an executive team to managing in all types of markets
PRAISE FOR STARTUP CEO
“One of the key principles of the Lean Startup movement is that entrepreneurship is management. In Startup CEO, Matt Blumberg provides a comprehensive guide to every facet of entrepreneurial management. An essential and practical guide for entrepreneurs everywhere.”
—Eric Ries, author, The Lean Startup
Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business is available at Amazon.com.
Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary
This book features personal stories and the latest research on success to illustrate strategies that helped the authors—and many others—succeed at high levels in their careers and professions, as well as in their personal lives. The authors discuss the courage necessary to take on intimidating challenges without giving up.
The book is co-written by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Kova, bestselling authors of The Power of Nice and the co-founders of the Kaplan Thaler Group, a fast-growing ad agency. The two have co-authored additional bestsellers, including The Power of Nice, The Power of Small and Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World.
“Grit to Great is packed with wisdom and lessons on how develop the power of perseverance, tenacity and fortitude that ultimately leads to success,” says Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers Triggers and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.
Emerging research suggests that there is far more to success in life than a country club pedigree or natural ability and share talent. Passion and perseverance, it turns out, matter more than talent or intelligence when it comes to being successful. For most of us, the corner office or professional kudos is the result of hard work, rather than exceptional genes. The end game, it turns out, belongs to the truly diligent, not the merely talented. It belongs to those who have grit.
Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary is available at Amazon.com.
From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places
Author Elmira Bayrasli feels strongly about foreign affairs and entrepreneurship. Over the past two decades, she has worked with startups worldwide. Bayrasli co-founded Foreign Policy Interrupted and is a lecturer at New York University. She has written for Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and The New York Times.
From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places is about global entrepreneurship, tech startups and foreign policy examines the growth of innovation beyond Silicon Valley, with a focus on individuals around the world who have overcome overwhelming odds to lead high-growth businesses.
Whereas a small business provides a good or service employees a handful of people, entrepreneurs are the manifestation of an opportunity that not only generates wealth and produces prosperity, but also remakes the socioeconomic landscape. Entrepreneurs create new business models and give rise to new industries, which enable new possibilities.
To find out more about From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places, visit Elmira Bayrasli’s website.