I noticed that every two weeks or so someone asks me about good books to read. I’m always delighted about that questions: People still like books! The question “is there a YouTube Channel or Twitter account I should follow” is more awkward (Are people still using Twitter? Or are they using it as in ‘LinkedIn posts’?
Here is the the current list of business books I usually draw from.
Venture Capital & Startups
- General overview of the venture business: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson)
- VC-Entrepreneur dynamics: The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs (William H. Draper)
- Board dynamics, processes, conflicts: Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors (Brad Feld, Mahendra Ramsinghani)
- Large disruptive startups and how to build them: Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (Peter Thiel)
- Surviving in a startup: The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (Ben Horowitz)
- Dynamics of society, people, companies, culture, mythology, and the Internet: Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (René Girard) desire is mimetic (all our desires are borrowed from other people); conflict originates in mimetic desire; the scapegoat mechanism is the origin of sacrifice and the foundation of human culture; religion is necessary in human evolution to control the violence that can come from mimetic rivalry; ‘religion’ is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices (Hello Internet)
- Balance sheets: How to Read a Balance Sheet: The Bottom Line on What You Need to Know about Cash Flow, Assets, Debt, Equity, Profit…and How It all Comes Together (Rick Makoujy)
- Financial reports: How to Read a Financial Report: Wringing Vital Signs Out of the Numbers (John A. Tracy)
Leadership and CEOs
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win (Jocko Wilink and Leif Babin) I’ve read many books on leadership etc. from MIT, HBR, blogs, etc. This is the one book I can really recommend; despite the SEAL title – which initially made me pause, I’m not a very militant guy – it really captures the essence of great leaders I’ve met and was fortunate enough to work for; I also did not understand at all what ‘military leadership’ can mean before this book
- Principles: Life and Work (Ray Dalio) do not skip the first 100+ pages of background and autobiography of Ray
- Lying (Sam Harris)