Entrepreneurs see summer for what it really is—an opportunity. Maybe now is the extra time you need to perfect that prototype, craft that business plan, or seek out mentorship. Or maybe you want to learn more about being an entrepreneur while not having to worry about your coursework. With that in mind, the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship presents the summer 2017 “Reading List for Young Entrepreneurs.” The following books are recommended by our staff and top entrepreneurial publications.
We will include updates based on additional suggestions, so be sure to bookmark this post! The following books are presented in no particular order. Bear in mind there is a direct correlation between reading and higher levels of income and success.
BOOKS FOR STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS
The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki
Kawasaki draws upon his dual background as an evangelist for Apple’s Macintosh computer and as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist in this how-to for launching any type of business project. Each chapter begins with “GIST” (“great ideas for starting things”), covering a variety of facets to consider, from identifying your customer base and writing a business plan to establishing partnerships and building brand identity.
Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
As Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares learned from their own experiences, building a successful company is hard. For every startup that grows to the point where it can go public or be profitably acquired, hundreds of others sputter and die. They offer a three-step framework (called Bullseye) to figure out which ones will work best for your business. But no matter how you apply them, the lessons and examples in Traction will help you create and sustain the growth your business desperately needs.
On Competition, Updated and Expanded Edition by Michael E. Porter
For the past two decades, Michael Porter’s work has towered over the field of competitive strategy. On Competition, Updated and Expanded Edition brings together more than a dozen of Porter’s landmark articles from the Harvard Business Review. Five are new to this edition, including the 2008 update to his classic “The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy,” as well as new work on health care, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, and CEO leadership.
Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Method to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy by Ryan Levesque
Ask is based on the compelling premise that you should NEVER have to guess what your prospects and customers are thinking. The Ask Formula revealed in this book has been used to help build multi-million dollar businesses in 23 different industries, generating over $100 million dollars in sales in the process. Expert online marketer Ryan Levesque (featured in CNBC, Yahoo Finance, The Miami Herald, The San Francisco Chronicle, Mass Market Retailer, Bloomberg Businessweek and more) turns everything you know about customer surveys on its head.
The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
The Startup Owner’s Manual guides you, step-by-step, as you put the Customer Development process to work. This method was created by renowned Silicon Valley startup expert Steve Blank, acknowledged catalyst of the “Lean Startup” movement, and tested and refined by him for more than a decade. This 608-page how-to guide includes over 100 charts, graphs, and diagrams, plus 77 valuable checklists that guide you as you drive your company toward profitability.
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
Business Model Generation is a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow’s enterprises. The book features a beautiful, highly visual, 4-color design that takes powerful strategic ideas and tools, and makes them easy to implement in your organization.
Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda, Alan Smith, and Trish Papadakos
Value Proposition Design helps you tackle the core challenge of every business — creating compelling products and services customers want to buy. This highly practical book, paired with its online companion, will teach you the processes and tools you need to create products that sell.
Entrepreneurial Finance, Third Edition: Finance and Business Strategies for the Serious Entrepreneur by Steven Rogers and Roza Makonnen
Whatever business you run or plan to launch, Entrepreneurial Finance provides the essential tools and know-how you need to build a sturdy foundation that will support it for many years to come. This new edition brings you fully up to date with important new information on what to do and what to avoid when it comes to crowdsourcing, “intrapreneurship,” and debt and equity capital, and it provides case studies of companies that were successfully launched during recessions.
To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink
One in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight. Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Daniel Pink reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extraverts don’t make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an “off-ramp” for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.
Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
In Purple Cow, first published in 2003 and revised and expanded in 2009, Godin launched a movement to make truly remarkable products that are worth marketing in the first place. Through stories about companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Krispy Kreme, and Apple, coupled with his signature provocative style, he inspires readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product.
Winners Make it Happen: Reflections of a Self-Made Man by Leonard Lavin
Leonard Lavin epitomizes the American Dream. In this book, Lavin reveals how his instinct-driven vision led him to build the Alberto Culver Corporation from a tiny beauty supply company into a revered Fortune 500 business. Lavin is a self-described “marketing person, salesman, business manager, and straight-shooter.” He is the founding president, CEO, and chairman of Alberto-Culver Corporation, manufacturer of VO5 hair products, Mrs. Dash, Static Guard, Molly McButter, and a host of other well-known household products. Alberto-Culver Corporation set the industry standard for enhancing brand awareness via television.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.
The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos
In the world’s top research labs and universities, the race is on to invent the ultimate learning algorithm: one capable of discovering any knowledge from data, and doing anything we want, before we even ask. In The Master Algorithm, Pedro Domingos lifts the veil to give us a peek inside the learning machines that power Google, Amazon, and your smartphone. He assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner-the Master Algorithm-and discusses what it will mean for business, science, and society. If data-ism is today’s philosophy, this book is its bible.