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Our Favorite Books for Founders

open-bookWith everyone going back to school this month, we thought it would be a great time to share a list of our favorite books for founders. But don’t just take our word for it! See what industry experts and Amazon readers have to say about them too:

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, written by noted entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, addresses the task of creating a truly innovative business, and it has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. The Economist review says, “Crisply written, rational and practical, Zero to One should be read not just by aspiring entrepreneurs but by anyone seeking a thoughtful alternative to the current pervasive gloom about the prospects for the world.”

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist is one of our favorite resources, as it takes on all the key issues in fundraising from the founder’s perspective. Written by VC gurus Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson, it has 4.8 stars. Fred Wilson, Managing Partner of Union Square Ventures, said, “This book is long overdue and badly needed.” Be sure you look for the second edition.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries is the go-to resource on the lean startup movement, covering the lean principles founders should know about with respect to product and company development. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon and the respect of VCs and founders alike. In his review of the book, Marc Andreessen said, “Eric has created a science where previously there was only art. A must read for every serious entrepreneur—and every manager interested in innovation.”

Get Backed: Craft Your Story, Build the Perfect Pitch Deck, and Launch the Venture of Your Dreams by Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis is a great 101 course on drafting a pitch deck and fundraising, garnering an impressive 4.9 stars. Even Barbara Corcoran said, “Anyone who comes to pitch on Shark Tank should read this book first!”

What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know: An Insider Reveals How to Get Smart Funding for Your Billion Dollar Idea, by Brian Cohen and John Kador, is another 4.8-star book. This one spells out exactly what an angel investor wants to hear from the founders they are considering investing in. “Terrific advice from a master of the angel investing game. Brian Cohen reveals the art and craft of raising angel money – that’s what Howard Morgan, Founding Partner of First Round Capital said about it.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers was written by Ben Horowitz, Co-Founder of Andreessen Horowitz and a highly respected entrepreneur himself. It’s garnered 4.6 stars on Amazon, and the review in The Economist said, “There is more than enough substance in Mr. Horowitz’s impressive tome to turn it into a leadership classic.”

The Business of Venture Capital: Insights from Leading Practitioners on the Art of Raising a Fund, Deal Structuring, Value Creation, and Exit Strategies is another top-ranked book (4.8 stars) on VC. It was written by Mahendra Ramsinghani, who has his finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley. Brad Feld described the book this way: “While venture capitalist personalities, styles, behavior, and effectiveness vary widely, Mahendra helps describe it in a way that is comprehensive, yet easily understood.” Look for the second edition of this one, too.