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Essential Books for Startups

Here are our top five picks of books for entrepreneurs looking to start a business.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

In Zero to One, the legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel of PayPal and Palantir Technologies shows us how we can find singular ways to create new things. Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something similar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. 

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page and Sergei Brin won’t make search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their business will be unique. The most important skill every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

The Art of the Start 2.0: Time Tested-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
Guy Kawasaki

Everyone wants to make the world a better place, but what does it take to take to turn your idea into action? In The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist of Canva and formerly Apple, brings two decades of experience as one of the most original and irreverent strategists to offer the essential guide for anyone starting anything. 

From raising money to hiring the right people, from defining your positioning to creating a brand, from creating buzz to buzzing the competition, from managing a board to fostering a community, this book will guide you through an adventure that’s more art than science – the art of the start.

Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Patch to Building Massively Valuable Companies
Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh

What entrepreneur or founder doesn’t aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook or AirBnB? Yet those that manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So, what separates the startups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones who grow to become global giants?

LinkedIn co-founder and legendary investor, Reid Hoffman reveals that the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable company is Blitzscaling: a set of techniques for scaling up at a dizzying pace and blows competitors out of the water. The objective of Blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion – as quickly as possible.

Whether your business has ten employees to ten thousand, Blitzscaling is the essential playbook for winning in a world where speed is the only competitive advantage that matters.

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster and Cheaper Than Yours (And What To Do About It)
Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone and Yuri van Geest

In recent years, the business world has seen a birth of a new breed of company – the Exponential Organization – that has revolutionised how a company can accelerate its growth by leveraging on technology. An ExO eliminates the incremental, linear way traditional companies grow into achieving performance benchmarks ten times faster than their peers. 

Three business luminaries, Salim Ismail, Mike Malone and Yuri van Geest share their research on this phenomenon revealing ten characteristics of Exponential Organizations. Here in Exponential Organizations, the authors walk readers through how any company, from a startup to a multi-national can become an ExO, streamline its performance and grow to the next level.

The book was chosen by Frost Sullivan as Growth, Innovation and Leadership Book of the Year in 2014 and Bloomberg’s Best Books of 2015.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
Eric Ries

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business. 

Inspired by lessons from Lean Manufacturing, the Lean Startup approach relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. 

Rather than wasting time on elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late.