Books. Can’t eat them, can’t live without them. Books have always been the guiding light for humanity and a doorway into satisfying curiosity, among other things. Although some might argue that the advent of the internet age might have toned down the importance of books in our lives, we believe it’s quite the contrary. In a time when useful and useless data is freely traded in an all-access vault of information, there are times when you desperately need a curated volume of information that will satisfy your thirst for knowledge. For an excellent point of view on why books are essentially undying, check out This is Not the End of the Book – a set of conversations between the writer and philosopher Umberto Eco and screenwriter and Academy Award winner Jean-Claude Carriere, arguably two of the most brilliant minds in the past hundred years, both avid bibliophiles. Anyway, the point is that everyone, including budding entrepreneurs, can benefit from a few good book suggestions. That’s what we are here for. Here is a list of books that will help you in one way or another in the difficult journey of setting up your new business.
Book Suggestions for Entrepreneurs
1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Widely regarded as the entrepreneur’s bible, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is the first book on our list. Isaacson, who had previously written the best-selling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, was commissioned by Jobs himself to undertake this task. Jobs had no creative control over the book, and even waived the right to read the manuscript before publication. What resulted was a brilliant insight into the life of an icon of our times, his failures and successes, his times of vulnerability and how he overcame them. If we consider Jobs as the model for a modern entrepreneur – smart, tenacious, charismatic and successful, his story is perhaps one that must be looked at by all budding businessmen.
2. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson
The Long Tail by Chris Anderson is a book that was truly ahead of its time. Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, wrote The Long Tail in 2006. It deals with the analysis of the then recent ecommerce retail boom through the lens of a statistician. The best part about reading the Long Tail in 2014 is the recurring realization that how many of Anderson’s predictions for the ecommerce market end up being true. Quirky and conversational, this book manages to encompass one of the most significant changes in the characteristics of demand and supply in the post-modern age without being difficult.
3. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell talks about everything from the birth statistics of ice hockey players, to Bill Gates and The Beatles in his third non-fiction bestseller, Outliers. This is an in-depth study of the factors that contribute to high level success. In his trademark style, Gladwell manages to extract valuable data from the most unusual and sometimes wacky sources for our benefit. It is here that Gladwell suggests the now popular 10,000 hour rule – an observation that the key to success in any field is largely dependent on practising a specific task for roughly 10,000 hours. A very interesting thesis.
4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Boardrooms are battlegrounds of the modern age. So it is no wonder that the definitive work on the nuances of war becomes a part of your battle armor. The Art of War is still considered to be the definitive work on wartime strategy after more than 2000 years since it was first penned down. Today The Art of War has been extensively studied and applied by the American military, Japanese business executives and even NFL team managers.
5. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Reis
The Lean Startup methodology is propounded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Eric Reis. Here, he talks about how a budding startup can sidestep common problems like market risk and startup inertia by using a more agile, iterative business philosophy. Reis talks about specific startup issues relating to product development, hypothesis-driven-experimentation, testing and accounting so that the development timeline for a new business can be drastically reduced. Today, the popularity of this movement has grown from Silicon Valley and has spread throughout the world.
These are some of the books we feel all budding entrepreneurs must read. If you have more suggestions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Browntape.