By: Antler Team
Most entrepreneurs will know that the first books that they should read before building a startup are, amongst others, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Zero to One by Peter Thiel, or The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. We listed 16 other interesting titles recommended by our network — from founders at Antler to our team and advisors.
This list of useful readings has been created to help you best prepare for the entrepreneurial journey ahead. These are relevant for first time founders, and will serve as good refreshers for those who’ve done it all before.
“STARTUPLAND: HOW THREE GUYS RISKED EVERYTHING TO TURN AN IDEA INTO A GLOBAL BUSINESS” BY MIKKEL SVANE AND CARLYE ADLER
recommendation from Pierre Dufrasne, co-founder & CEO at Metalynx, our portfolio company from London
Written by the founder of Zendesk, a really interesting story about the ups and downs of startups. From the very early days of 3 guys in an apartment, all the way to IPO. The story of founding Zendesk was anything but conventional.
“THE MOM TEST: HOW TO TALK TO CUSTOMERS AND LEARN IF YOUR BUSINESS IS A GOOD IDEA WHEN EVERYONE IS LYING TO YOU” BY ROB FITZPATRICK
recommendation from Johan Eliasson, co-founder and CEO at Nhost, our portfolio company from Stockholm
They say you shouldn’t ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will probably lie to you. The thing is that you shouldn’t ask just anyone if your business is a good idea. Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. This book is going to show you how customer conversations go wrong and how you can do better.
“GETTING TO YES: NEGOTIATING AN AGREEMENT WITHOUT GIVING IN” BY ROGER FISHER AND WILLIAM URY
recommendation from Rob Stronach, co-founder and CPO at Mast, our portfolio company from London
Getting to Yes has been in print for over thirty years. This timeless classic has helped millions of people secure win-win agreements both at work and in their private lives. Getting to Yes simplifies the whole negotiation process, offering a highly effective framework that will ensure success.
“IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE CRAZY AT WORK” BY JASON FRIED AND DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON
recommendation from André Jørgensen, CTO at Passguard, our portfolio company from Oslo
In this timely manifesto, the authors broadly reject the prevailing notion that long hours, aggressive hustle, and “whatever it takes” are required to run a successful business today. Their approach directly attacks the chaos, anxiety, and stress that plagues millions of workplaces and hampers billions of workers every day. It’s especially relevant in times of the global pandemic when working from home can lead to enhancing all of the harmful aspects mentioned above.
“FREAKONOMICS: A ROGUE ECONOMIST EXPLORES THE HIDDEN SIDE OF EVERYTHING” BY STEVEN D. LEVITT AND STEPHEN J. DUBNER
recommendation from James Stewart, Antler Launch Academy alumnus
The legendary bestseller that made millions look at the world in a radically different way. Levitt and Dubner explain how correlation does not equal causation, and how incentives of the most hidden sort drive behavior in ways that turn conventional wisdom on its head.
“HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE” BY DALE CARNEGIE
recommendation from Rob Cossins, co-founder and CEO at Scribe, our portfolio company from London
Although this book was written in 1936, so much of it is still relevant today. Short, snappy writing with vivid examples. It’s easy to understand why it’s one of the best-selling books of all time.
“BLACK BOX THINKING: WHY SOME PEOPLE NEVER LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES — BUT SOME DO” BY MATTHEW SYED
recommendation from Kanwal Bhatia, co-founder and CSO at Metalynx, our portfolio company from London
Nobody wants to fail. But in highly complex organizations, success can happen only when we confront our mistakes, learn from our own version of a black box, and create a climate where it’s safe to fail.
“TRILLION DOLLAR COACH: THE LEADERSHIP PLAYBOOK OF SILICON VALLEY’S BILL CAMPBELL” BY ERIC SCHMIDT, JONATHAN ROSENBERG AND ALAN EAGLE
recommendation from Thomas Vles, serial entrepreneur and Advisor at Antler Netherlands
Management lessons from legendary coach and business executive, Bill Campbell, whose mentoring of some of the most successful modern entrepreneurs has helped create over a trillion dollars in market value.
“THINK AGAIN: THE POWER OF KNOWING WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW” BY ADAM GRANT
recommendation from Rufus Sorsa, Program Manager at Antler Singapore
Discover the critical art of rethinking: how questioning your opinions can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life. This book will be released in February 2021.
“HOOKED: HOW TO BUILD HABIT-FORMING PRODUCTS” BY NIR EYAL
recommendation from Harini Janakiraman, Global Head of Technology at Antler
Nir Eyal reveals how successful companies create products people can’t put down. Why do some products capture our attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain things out of sheer habit? Is there an underlying pattern to how technologies hook us? Find out!
Listen to our conversation with Nir Eyal about mastering your product & productivity on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or read the highlights here.
“INTERCOM ON STARTING UP” BY DES TRAYNOR, EOGHAN MCCABE, PAUL ADAMS
recommendation from Alexandra Haudemann-Andersen, Program Manager at Antler Oslo
Intercom team shared their hard learned lessons on how to build a startup from the ground up and the pitfalls you should avoid. The book is not packed with startup clichés, nor is it steeped in myths about how huge companies got their break — it’s thier honest, opinionated take on what they have learned building Intercom.
“PITCH ANYTHING” BY OREN KLAFF
recommendation from Nicolas Touron, Product Analyst at Antler Launch Academy, Sydney
Whether you’re selling ideas to investors, pitching a client for new business, or even negotiating for a higher salary, Pitch Anything will transform the way you position your ideas!
“HIGH GROWTH HANDBOOK” BY ELAD GIL
recommendation from Lisa Enckell, Global Partner at Antler
Every high-growth company eventually needs to tackle the same set of challenges around organizational structure, late-stage funding and secondary stock sales, culture, internationalization, hiring executive for roles the founders don’t understand, buying other companies, and more. This is the handbook for navigating those challenges.
“DARE TO LEAD: BRAVE WORK. TOUGH CONVERSATIONS. WHOLE HEARTS.” BY BRENÉ BROWN
recommendation from Karolina Szweda, Global Marketing Associate at Antler
Brené Brown teaches us what it means to dare greatly, rise strong and brave the wilderness. Now, she’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead.
“POWERFUL: BUILDING A CULTURE OF FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY” BY PATTY MCCORD
recommendation from Ishaan Malhi, Venture Partner at Antler Singapore
When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was Chief Talent Officer. In this book, she shares her learnings.
“GENERAL MAGIC” BY SARAH KERRUISH, MATT MAUDE AND MICHAEL STERN
recommendation from Assieh Khamsi, Global Marketing Director at Antler
This one is a documentary, not a book. It’s a must watch for all entrepreneurs. General Magic is ‘the most important company to come out of Silicon Valley that no one’s ever heard of’. The documentary is the story of one of history’s greatest tech teams, who after a great failure, changed the lives of billions. It is an incredible tale of great vision and epic failure. They saw the future before we could even imagine a glimpse of it.
Let us know about your top book recommendations in the comments below!
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