What do Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett have in common, beyond being wildly successful entrepreneurs? All four are avid readers, who say in interviews that they still devour books despite their hectic lives. We selected 10 absolute must reads for founders. They are all fascinating, compelling books that will also help you take your start-up to the next level.
1/ Seth Godin – Purple Cow
This book stresses the importance of the Purple Cow, a product or service that makes you stand out from the crowd. It may seem like an odd message for someone known as a marketing guru, but Seth Godin emphasizes that marketing alone won’t get you there. By then it will be too late. The Purple Cow is not a layer of varnish, it is in everything you make and do.
2/ Nir Eyal – Hooked
How do you get people addicted to your product? That question is at the heart of Hooked. In four steps, Nir Eyal explains how a product becomes part of consumers’ daily lives, how they unconsciously become addicted to it.
3/ Sean Ellis – Hacking Growth
The ultimate book for growth hackers. Sean Ellis finely explains how giants like Airbnb, Facebook or Uber could get so big so quickly. But even the Microsofts and the Walmarts of this world use growth hacking to boost their growth.
4/ Eric Ries – The lean startup
A must read for every founder. Eric Ries developed a method that start-ups all over the world copied to develop products faster, validate them faster and bring them to the market faster. And to drastically reduce the chances of failure.
5/ Adam Grant – Originals
Every entrepreneur is looking for that one, original idea to conquer the world. Adam Grant shows how those ideas are born, and how to make them happen against the grain and the status quo.
6/ Chris Guillebeau – The $100 Startup
The title of this book alone is heartening for any founder. Chris Guillebeau gives a whole series of examples of successful businesses that once started with almost nothing, literally $100 or less. The founders had a personal passion that they somehow managed to translate into a profitable business model.
7/ Jonah Berger – Contagious: why things catch on
Why does one movie become a hit on YouTube and the other doesn’t? Why does that oneFacebook post get shared massively, and that other one struggle to get 4 likes? Jonah Berger explains in this book why products become talk of thetown and why content goes viral.
8/ Donald Miller -Building a story brand
This is the bible when it comes to storytelling. Donald Miller shares the 7 ingredients of a rock-solid story. The type of story that makes consumers buy, investors open their wallets and start-ups grow.
9/ George Lois – Damn good advice for people with talent
Followed the hugely successful TV series ‘Mad Men’? George Lois goes by the name of the original Mad Man. The advertising guru wrote a compelling book full of exciting anecdotes and concrete tips to shape your creative process.
10/ Timothy Ferriss – The 4-hour workweek
A start-up is hard work. That’s why we’re ending this list with entrepreneur Timothy Ferriss’ bestseller, which reminds us that there’s more to life than work. Every founder needs to slow down occasionally, in order to be able to pop again.