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Best Books for Business Startups

So it was our birthday this week. We turned 12 and boy are we excited.  

Taking an idea and turning it into a thriving business is a dream for many entrepreneurs and one of the best ways to make sure you can do this is to learn and listen to those you admire who have also been through the process. That’s why we are super excited about this week’s blog. Today we’re sharing some the the most recommended books for business startups in today’s digital world. We hope they will inspire you to take your idea to the next level. 

So get your pen and paper ready (well actually it’d be easier to just add them to your list in Booko or set an alert for the price you want to pay for them), here we go…

Atomic Habits by James Clear 

If we had a $1 for every time someone recommended this book on a podcast…oh boy. It’s no surprise this book is a New York Times bestseller. 

An atomic habit is defined as a small habit with big results. People say when you want to change your life, you need to think big, swap jobs, move house, change partners. But they’re wrong. World-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered a completely different way to transform your behaviour. He knows that lasting change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of tiny decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He calls them atomic habits. In Atomic Habits, Clear delves into cutting-edge psychology to explain why your brain can amplify these small changes into huge consequences. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, or the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule), to show how you, too, turn minuscule shifts in behaviour into life-transforming outcomes. And he reveals a simple four-stage method that will let you build atomic habits into your day-to-day routine, starting now. These nuclear changes will have an explosive effect on your career, your relationships and your life.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz 


This book is currently sitting on my nightstand and I am 3/4 of the way through. It’s amazing. 

Ben Horowitz is the cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. In this book he offers essential advice on building and running a startup and practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyses the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favourite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with his trademark humour and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.

The Crowdsourceress by Alex Daly

In the past few years, crowdfunding platforms helped generate a staggering $34 USD billion dollars in funding. But the harsh reality is that the majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail: only 40% meet their goals. And failing means failing hard. If you fall short of your goal by the deadline, not only won’t you see any of the money you’ve worked so hard to raise, but you might actually tarnish your shiny idea. Alex Daly is a hugely successful crowdfunding expert who has run some of Kickstarter’s biggest campaigns, from TLC’s new album to Neil Young’s music player to Joan Didion’s documentary “We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live.” In this book, she shows you how to build a deep fan base prior to launch, understand the psychology of why people give and create the right narrative around your project, find the right platform on which to raise funds, deal with unfulfilled promises and angry backers, create intimacy and promote shareability of your project and the best use of influence and exclusivity to get funded. Woven throughout is Alex’s own entrepreneurial story and the unconventional career path she took to ultimately start her business, Vann Alexandra, thanks to crowdfunding.Daly takes us deep into her most successful campaigns, showing how she helped them get funded. As someone who’s spent lots of time in the trenches, she has learned the hard way how to communicate and connect with people on the Internet-and offers tangible tools to run your own crowdfunding campaigns. Above all, this is a book about how to fully connect with the crowd, get people to pay attention, and inspire them to act.

Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba

This is the essential career handbook for creative working women. It’s the modern career guide every creative woman needs, whether you’re just starting out or already have years of experience. Packed with fresh ideas and no-nonsense practical advice, this travel-sized career handbook is guaranteed to become your go-to resource when it comes to building the career you want.

Writer Otegha Uwagba takes you through everything you need to build a successful self-made career: from how to negotiate a payrise to building a killer personal brand, via a crash course in networking like a pro, and tips for overcoming creative block. Plus Little Black Book is full of indispensable advice on how to thrive as a freelancer, and an entire chapter dedicated to helping you master the tricky art of public speaking.

With contributions from trailblazing creative women including acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Refinery29 co-founder Piera Gelardi, The Gentlewoman’s Editor in Chief Penny Martin, and many more, Little Black Book is a curation of essential wisdom and hard-won career insights. Whether you’re a thinker, a maker, an artist or an entrepreneur, you’ll find plenty of inspiration for your working life here.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

This book was named Book of the year by Apple’s iBooks. 

Tara Mohr is a groundbreaking women’s leadership expert and popular conference speaker who gives women the practical skills to voice and implement the changes they want to see in themselves and in the world. In her coaching and programs for women, Tara Mohr saw how women were “playing small” in their lives and careers, were frustrated by it, and wanted to “play bigger.” She has devised a proven way for them to achieve their dreams by playing big from the inside out. 

While not all women aspire to end up in the corner office, every woman aspires to something. Playing Big fills a major gap among women’s career books; it isn’t just for corporate women. The book offers tools to help every woman play bigger whether she’s an executive, community volunteer, artist, or stay-at-home mum.

The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett

Big data entrepreneur Allen Gannett overturns the mythology around creative genius, and reveals the science and secrets behind achieving breakout commercial success in any field. We have been spoon-fed the notion that creativity is the province of genius of those favoured, brilliant few whose moments of insight arrive in unpredictable flashes of divine inspiration.  And if we are not a genius, we might as well pack it in and give up. Either we have that gift, or we don’t.  But Allen shows that simply isn’t true.  Recent research has shown that there is a predictable science behind achieving commercial success in any creative endeavour, from writing a popular novel to starting up a successful company to creating an effective marketing campaign.  

As the world’s most creative people have discovered, we are enticed by the novel and the familiar. By understanding the mechanics of what Gannett calls “the creative curve”, the point of optimal tension between the novel and the familiar, everyone can better engineer mainstream success.  

In a thoroughly entertaining book that describes the stories and insights of everyone from the Broadway team behind Dear Evan Hansen, to the founder of Reddit, from the Chief Content Officer of Netflix to Michelin star chefs, Gannett reveals the four laws of creative success and identifies the common patterns behind their achievement.

Enjoy!