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We could all use a little advice sometimes. When it comes to treading unfamiliar territory while working on your web startup, sometimes it’s best to learn from the experts. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more successful you can become. By reading from other people’s successes (and failures), you’ll know what works well in the world of entrepreneurship and what might be a total flop. If you’re looking to glean a little wisdom or just prepare yourself for the road ahead, these fifteen books will get you started on a path to success.
1. My Start-Up Life by Ben Casnocha
What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley by Ben Casnocha: Ben first discovered his ability to craft a business from his own ideas at the young age of 12. Since then, he’s created his own start-up and this book tells his story of the way up. He has practical experience for turning your ideas into reality.
2. The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki: After working with Apple in its early days, Kawasaki tested his ideas and techniques with other startups in his own business, Garage Technology Ventures. Kawasaki is a seasoned veteran at company startups, and he’s sharing his advice for hiring a great team, raising money to make your business work, and learning the art of entrepreneurship. If you have questions about where to go next, Kawasaki will help you to come up with a plan for the steps ahead.
3. The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development by Brant Cooper
Easily accessible and without a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo to wade through, Cooper introduce his readers to the basic tenets of business. Complete with worksheets and exercises to apply to your own business, this book shows you how to set yourself up for success from the very beginning.
4. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
There’s nothing better than reading the complete story of someone who has been there and done that. Livingston centers her book around companies that are currently very successful – TiVo, Yahoo, and Apple to name a few – and relays their humble beginnings.
5. Good to Great by Jim Collins
Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins: After spending several years thoroughly researching what makes some businesses survive long-term while others fail miserably, Jim Collins is sharing his findings. He describes the level of leadership that needs to be present and the attitudes within the company that make some startups stand out and others fade away.
6. Hackers and Painters Big Ideas from a Computer Age by Paul Graham
Web startups can definitely benefit from reading through Graham’s analysis on what this technological age means for us going forward. He covers how to put our ideas out onto the internet with knowledge of the potential consequences and what it takes to be successful in this day and age.
7. The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
After being involved in every aspect of a web startup, from investing to selling and buying again, Ben Horowitz shares the problems that he’s encountered along the way. He covers the problems that confront leaders every day and encourages you to survive and thrive in the fast-paced world of business.
8. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
The goal of every business is to create something that is valuable to their customer base. Vaynerchuk takes it one step further and encourages entrepreneurs to build their brand by giving one-on-one attention to their clients. Become more aware of your customers and see your business grow through word-of-mouth advertising.
9. From Idea to Web Startup in 21 Days by Jason Glaspey and Scott Kveton
After the not-so-successful start of bacn.com, Glaspey and Kveton are sharing what they learned. In a little less than a month, the two of them created a business based on bacon and figured out the details as they went. Learn from their mistakes and discover what they found to be successful on their next ventures into the startup world.
10. Viral Loop by Adam L. Penenberg
Penenberg harnesses the power of businesses like Facebook, YouTube, and eBay to teach new entrepreneurs how to develop products and services that their customers really want. Learning how to take your business viral will help cut back on advertising costs and brand your business into the minds of your clients indefinitely.
11. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
If you’re on a shoestring budget for your web startup, The Lean Startup should be at the top of your list. Ries writes about testing your business continuously for productivity and success while making what capital you have work for you.
12. Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good by Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy dug into the early twenty-first century to see which businesses emerged at the top of the internet bubble and how they managed to leave everyone else behind them.
13. Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove
Andrew Grove, CEO of Intel, writes an important book on making the hard decisions that can make your business successful or cause it to fail. He details how to predict these moments before they arrive and how to handle them when they do.
14. Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin
Seth Godin, marketing extraordinaire, shows how to make your product and service desirable to consumers by creating quick and free prizes to give away.
15. Do More Faster by David Cohen and Brad Feld
After running a successful program to help startup companies gain financial backing, Cohen and Feld are sharing the tips they’ve found to be the most helpful. They cover fundraising, legal issues, and balancing your work life with your home life – all valuable insights before diving right in.