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If you only read one startup book, let it be this one. Ries covers a wide range of topics, all through the lens of the latest startup theories, mostly centered around agile product development and a market-first approach. There are real-life examples sprinkled throughout which makes it really easy to understand the principles presented. I love that the advice is highly actionable with diagrams and step-by-step blueprints. If you're not a startup founder, I also think this is the best way to learn about all the latest tech theories and buzzwords like pivoting, MVPs, The Five Whys, and, of course, lean development.
Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind
This is an old book now (originally published in 2001), but a lot of the advice still rings true. It's a great resource when you start thinking about marketing and branding as it emphasizes the importance of specialization and "positioning" your company in the mind of your customer. While I don't think it's always true that you need to be "first" anymore, it certainly pays to have a unique and clear value proposition.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Horowitz offers a lot of practical advice for starting a company intermixed with his personal story. It's a very straightforward and honest look at the difficulties of being an entrepreneur, so if you're not totally sure you want to go this route, definitely give this a read first (he may scare you out of it).
The Innovator's Dilemma
This is a very old book, but still a fun read as it focuses on companies that fail to adapt to new trends and are therefore supplanted by more forward-looking businesses. Christensen provides a lot of anecdotes of "disruptive innovations" and explains why this kind of innovation is unnatural for most large, successful companies (the crux of the innovator's "dilemma")
The Startup Owner's Manual Strategy Guide
I wouldn't suggest literally following the step-by-step instructions in this book (every startup founder needs to find solutions to their own unique problems), but it's a good starting point, particularly if you're looking to learn more about customer development. The Lean Startup was partly inspired by this book.
Copyright © 2017 Sophie Bakalar