Building a successful technology startup isn’t easy. Advice — both good and bad — can be found in hundreds of blogs and books, coaches and conventions, and seminars and street corners.
According to co-founder of Y Combinator Paul Graham, all you need are three things to create a successful startup:
To start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.
That’s great advice and perhaps all you really need to know. But if you happen to want more information and inspiration than this pearl of wisdom from Graham, the following are nine must-read books for any tech startup:
- Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson: Clear, short, and straightforward essays on a variety of essential business topics. Rework questions every long-held belief about how business is done.
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: Bringing principles from lean manufacturing, the Lean Startup helps companies continuously improve; make better, faster decisions; and succeed.
- The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott: The old rules of marketing and public relations no longer apply. Scott outlines how to use the new tools of online media and web-based communication to reach buyers directly.
- The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki: A comprehensive how-to book for launching any type of business project. Kawasaki shares his experience as an early evangelist for Apple and as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
- Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston: A collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies, including Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail).
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris: Entrepreneur and lifestyle designer Ferris uses Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation (DEAL) to explore the process to “escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich.”
- Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson: The highly acclaimed autobiography of Virgin founder Richard Branson. The book details how Branson built Virgin and reveals his personal philosophy on life.
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: The inspiring biography of the definitive technology entrepreneur of the 20th century. Isaacson based the book, in part, on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years.
- Permission Marketing by Seth Godin: Because consumer are constantly interrupted with advertising, Godin argues you first need to get their permission before effective marketing can take place.