I love books. I love to read. I realize I’ve had a dry spell – I’ve hardly been reading books at all this fall. That hasn’t stopped them from piling up as my infinite pile of books to read remains – well – infinite.
I gobbled down some entrepreneurship books in the last week. There are a number of great ones coming that seem to have been kicked off by Eric Ries’ dynamite The Lean Startup.
The first one is Walter Isaacson’s incredible biography of Steve Jobs. While I knew many (but not all) of the stories, Isaacson is a total master at putting together a fast paced, thorough, yet extremely readable biography. Jobs is a fascinating, incredible, and extremely complex person – Isaacson captures his essence. While this book is about more than just entrepreneurship, Jobs has had such a huge impact on the computer industry that anyone interested in entrepreneurship must read this book. If you love biography, are intrigued by complex heroic figures, love your Apple products, or are anyone else, I put this book in your must read pile. Yes – I loved it.
The next is Startup Weekend: How to Take a Company From Concept to Creation in 54 Hours. I recently joined the board of Startup Weekend, which I describe as a weekend-long simulation of entrepreneurship. I was at the very first Startup Weekend in Boulder in 2007 and was blown away by what Andrew Hyde – and the Boulder entrepreneurial community – did while creating Vosnap. Four years later Startup Weekend is an international phenomenon that I believe is one of the key activities required in any entrepreneurial community that aspires to grow and develop of a 20 year period. This book helps you understand what Startup Weekend is, how it works, and is filled with stories of people who have gone through it, what they learned, and why it matters.
The last two books are ones that won’t be out until the spring but I had a chance to read galleys of each. Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn cofounder / chairman) and Ben Casnocha (who I’ve now been friends with for almost a decade – eek!) have written an important book titled The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. I believe this will be the contemporary version of What Color Is Your Parachute (which – unfortunately – now seems to be a whole series of books – which I put in the “very tired” category.) Reid and Ben take a fresh approach to how one thinks about “career” with a book I expect will be atop the NY Times Bestseller list for a long time.
Finally, Jason Baptiste (OnSwipe CEO – TechStars New York 2011 class) demonstrates his awesomeness with his new book The Ultralight Startup: Launching a Business Without Clout or Capital. This puppy is packed with very specific advice about launching a business that come from Jason’s experience with OnSwipe and Cloudomatic. Jason is a great writer – the book is direct, clear, actionable, and fast paced – just like Jason.
Finally, I’d be remiss in my job as a book salesman for Wiley (our publisher) if didn’t mention the book I wrote with David Cohen last year titled Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup as well as the book I recently wrote with Jason Mendelson titled Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. Hopefully you have them and are giving them to every entrepreneur and aspiring entrepreneur you know.
It’s Black Friday. Buy some books!