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Expert Advice for Navigating Stormy Startup Waters

Woman reading a book while working at her desk at a startup.

Building a startup takes you through a wide range of emotions and requires more than just hard work. You live inside your head so much it’s important to remember two things:

1.       You’re not the first to do it

2.       As a startup founder, you WILL need help with the mental, emotional, and physical demands you face every day.

Below is a collection of books that we believe will provide clarity, assurance, motivation, and inspiration to help you navigate this new unknown.

The Great CEO Within – Matt Mochary

o   A literal step-by-step instruction manual on how to architect a startup. More nuts and bolts than philosophy. A practical guide that is a must own for anyone considering building a company from scratch.

A Whole New Mind – Dan Pink

o   A good reminder that even the best technologies, applications, and algorithms can’t solve for the right-brain-thinking that humans bring to any business problem. Harness both, and you’ve got a winner.

The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle

o   An incredibly powerful book on mindfulness to help keep you centered and put life’s ups and downs into perspective. Tip: Find an off-the-grid location with no distractions and listen to the audio version of this read by the author himself.   

Finding Ultra – Rich Roll

o   A prescient reminder that discipline and obsessive commitment can push the human body and mind to accomplish amazing thing. Even after age 40!

The Second Mountain – David Brooks

o   A timely book for the 21st century global citizen. A reminder that our lives should be committed to more than just selfish endeavors.

The Bomber Mafia – Malcolm Gladwell

o   Everybody needs a break from the daily grind and a good off-topic book is a solid remedy. Chances are you’ve read most of the books Malcolm Gladwell has in print (e.g., Outliers, The Tipping Point, Blink, etc). This latest book is less his traditional self-help and “make you say huh” style. It’s a story where old school clashes with new school in a lead up to some of the most important events in history. Read closely: there are plenty of themes and cautionary tales that will resonate in business.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini, PhD

o   If you are building a startup business, you will need to influence people to believe in your product, service, culture, and company. Conversely, you’ll need to be able to spot influence as well when meeting investors and others that have shown interest in what you are building. This book breaks down what motivates and influences people.

What Technology Wants – Kevin Kelly

o   This book offers one of the most unique and thought-provoking perspectives on technology and our future as technology-enabled humans. Despite being written more than 10 years ago it will take you down a rabbit hole of product innovation possibilities and lead to some really, really, deep thinking about how we interact with technology.

To Sell Is Human – Dan Pink

o   Dan Pink gets a second spot on this list. Similar to Malcolm Gladwell, every book he’s written is worth reading. This book in particular is important for one big reason: everyone sells, regardless of job, title, or position. We just do it differently and for different reasons. Selling doesn’t always mean being a “salesperson.” The sooner you embrace that philosophy across your business, the better off you’ll be.

The New Articulate Executive – Granville Toogood

o   Yes, we still live in a business world where virtual meetings are more common than in-person gatherings. But that doesn’t diminish the importance of effective communication, in both delivery and content. This book is by far the most effective and comprehensive guide for anyone wanting to exude leadership qualities in their communication style. It isn’t a substitute for substance, but it will help you effectively convey your passion and purpose as a business leader.

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