Vinayak Ranade

@vinayakranade

10 books I wish I read before starting up

April 28th 2017

This is a list that I find myself rattling off to a lot of first time founders.

This is actually my list of 10 books that I would recommend every first time founder to read. Some of these I was fortunate enough to read before starting Drafted, some not.

After I started Drafted, the one question I asked every new investor and advisor was “What are the top 3 books you think I should read to become a better founder?”

There was, somewhat surprisingly, a lot of overlap. But, this golden list of books already exists, it’s not secret, and you don’t need to sell your company equity to an investor to get it :)

  1. Zero to One by Peter Thiel
  2. Paul Graham’s Essays (not a book I know, but it should be)
  3. Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne, W. Chan Kim
  4. Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez
  5. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
  6. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  7. Venture Deals by Brad Feld
  8. The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  9. The Sales Acceleration formula by Mark Roberge
  10. The One Thing by Gary Keller

Here are some other books that I also read, that didn’t have as much recommendation overlap, but I’d still recommend.

  1. Extreme ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (I liked this one so much that I wrote a summary for it)
  2. Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  3. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
  4. The Political Brain by Drew Westen
  5. Influence by Robert Cialdini
  6. Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton
  7. Crossing the Chasm
  8. Shoedog by Philip Knight
  9. Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross, Marylou Tyler‎
  10. Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan

Come to think of it, I’ve actually read more books per month after starting Drafted than ever before. For easier consumption, I’ve categorized all the books above in terms of which parts of startups they were helpful for.

Self-discipline: Extreme ownership, The One Thing

Product: Lean Customer Development, Influence

Strategy: Blue Ocean Strategy, The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Lean Startup

Raising Money: Venture Deals

Sales: Influence, Sales Acceleration Formula, Predictable Revenue

Startups: Paul Graham Essays, The Hard Thing, Hatching Twitter

Motivation: Zero to One, The Audacity of Hope, Shoedog, The One Thing

Growth: Crossing the Chasm, Inbound Marketing, The Political Brain

Basically, if you ever wanted to ask some of the top VC’s / investors / advisors / founders for startup advice in any of these categories, you can level up by just reading one of these books.

Any that I’m missing, please please please leave them in the comments. Because I want to read them :)

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