What Aspiring Startup Founders Should Read in 2021

And the Top 10 Titles I Recommend

Photo by Lala Azizli on Unsplash

You cannot properly evaluate your ideas without understanding the fundamentals.

You can only properly assess the value of a startup when you have an idea of how it will function within the market. You also need to know what kind of return you can expect on your investment and how much time you will need to see returns on your investment in order to have enough runway left for another idea.

What am I reading?

There are plenty of books out there about startups, business, and investing. I’m currently re-reading Peter Thiel’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future.

The top 10 books to read for aspiring entrepreneurs in 2021

Some books are so important that they deserve to be on this list twice. Here are the top 10 books I recommend for aspiring founders who are learning how to start a business and how to fund it.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

The importance of this book is undeniable. It’s one of the most influential business books in a long time, and every founder should read it before they even think about starting a company.

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston (Editor)

Featuring interviews with over 120 startup founders, this book is an essential read for any aspiring entrepreneur. It’s an incredible mix of insights from startup founders, investors, and other entrepreneurs who have been through the startup process and know what it takes to succeed in this industry. Even if you don’t want to start your own company, reading this book will give you an insight into the industry that you won’t find anywhere else.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Entrepreneurs often say that a startup is “a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.” This book will help you understand why startups fail more than they succeed, but it also teaches entrepreneurs how they can use “the engine of innovation” as a means to cut costs and speed up the process of building their business.

The Art of the Start: The Time-tested, Battle-hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki

This book will give you all the advice you need to launch your startup in 2021. From how to come up with a good idea to making sure it’s viable, Guy Kawasaki has created an easy-to-understand guide that will take you step by step through the entire process of starting your own company. It’s also full of valuable insights from other startup founders, so you’ll be able to learn about what worked for them and what didn’t when they started their companies. This book is a must-read if you’re thinking about starting your own company in 2021.

Founders’ Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup by Noam Wassermann & James Womack

You probably know that it takes more than an idea (and hard work) when it comes to building a successful business in today’s competitive world. There are many other things you need to consider, like what your startup’s market is, how you’re going to find customers, and whether there is a business model for your company.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

This book isn’t just for entrepreneurs who want to start their own company — it’s also for people who work at a startup or are thinking about starting one.

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson

Every founder should read this before they quit their job or commit any more time or money on their idea.

The Epic Launch: A Step-by-Step Guide To Launching Your New Business by Patrick Vlaskovits & John Jantsch (Editors)

If there’s one thing that every entrepreneur needs when they’re starting a new company, it’s advice from people who have already been through the process.

The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder & John Danner (Editors)

This book is packed with advice from startup founders who have already experienced the ups and downs of starting their own business. You’ll learn how to find funding for your startup, how to negotiate a good deal, what you should be asking for when you’re negotiating, and more.

The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank & Bob Dorf

Building a business is the easy part — but building a successful one is much harder. If you want to build a company that will make money and grow, this book will tell you everything you need to know.

Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and investor.