9 Must Read Entrepreneurial Books

Must read entrepreneurial books

With the holiday season fast approaching, now is a great time to refresh the “books to read list” we all have hidden away in our phones or notebooks. Whether you’re a traditional hardcover kind of person, Kindle user, or audiobook lover, entrepreneurial books are an incredible way to expand your knowledge and learn from the trials and tribulations of some of the best minds in the business.

We have compiled a list of our top 9 entrepreneurial books to read this year. Covering a range of topics including deep technology, product development, growth hacking and leadership – we recommend chipping away at this list in your spare time and starting 2020 with a fresh drive of entrepreneurial spirit.

If you have read any of these books and have feedback to share, or reccomendations for other entrepreneurial books, please drop a comment at the bottom of this page.

1 - Hooked - How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Hooked

Written by Nir Eyal, Hooked takes a deep dive into the psychology of why some products get huge amounts of attention and have incredible retention metrics, while other products flop at the starting gate. Hooked looks at what builds a habbit forming product and explains the step by step process you need to consider in your product design.

Hooked is based on Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience. He wrote the book he wished had been available to him as a start-up founder—not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products. Hooked is written for product managers, engineers, designers, marketers, and start-up founders… basically anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.

You should also check out and subscribe to Nir’s blog, Nir and Far for some more incredible content on consumer psychology, productivity, and product design.

2 - Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future

Zero to One

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

The book is structured as collection of notes on the mechanics of startups, how to launch and build a successful company and also takes a dive into some of Thiel’s wild philosophies on the world.

Zero to One is one of our favouriate entrepreneurial books and presents an optimistic view of the future of progress and a new way of thinking about innovation.

3 - When Coffee & Kale Compete: Become Great at Making Products People Will Buy

JTBD Frame Work

When Coffee and Kale Compete is a bible for the Jobs to be Done Methodology and should be essential reading for anyone working in a tech company. A Job to be Done is the process a consumer goes through whenever they aim to transform their existing life-situation into a preferred one, but cannot because there are constraints that stop them.

Throughout the book, top entrepreneur share their experiences of how they used Job to be Done to help them create successful products. Alan not only relates success stories but also gives examples of products and companies that failed. The experiences of others will help you make the best choices for your own company or the company where you work. You will also learn how to analyze the competition and make customers notice your product. The knowledge in this book will help you boost growth for your product and business.

4 - Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea Into a Global Business

Startupland

Startupland highlights that conventional wisdom is not always true and tells the story of how one of the most successful entreprise software products, Zendesk got to be where it is today.

Founded in a Copenhagen loft by three thirty-something friends looking to break free from the corporate world, Zendesk Inc. is now one of the hottest enterprise software companies, still rapidly growing with customers in 150 countries. But its success was anything but predestined.

With revealing stories both funny and frank, Mikkel shares how he and his friends bravely left secure jobs to start something on their own, and how the three friends were miraculously still together for Zendesk’s IPO continuing success.

5 - The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben Horowitz, is one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. In The Hard Thing About Hand Things, Howowitz draws on his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies to offer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools don’t cover.

A lot of people talk about how great it is to start a business, but only Ben Horowitz is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one. This is an incredible book for those senior leadership positions, or any aspiring to grow into an executive position in their tech company. Think of this as a ‘how to guide for CEO’s by CEO’s’.

6 - Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Authored by MIT Professor, Max Tegmark, Life 3.0 takes a look at Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the future of life on Earth and beyond. The book takes a holistic approach on the advancement of technology, discusses a variety of societal implications, what can be done to maximize the chances of a positive outcome, and potential futures for humanity, technology and combinations thereof.

Life 3.0 recently made Bill Gates top 10 technology books on breakthrough technology, and is highly endorsed by other influential figures including Elon Musk and Barrack Obama. Well worth a read if you are interested in learning more about the role technology is playing in shaping the world we live in.

7 - Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

Regular readers of our blog will know that we are big fans Tim Ferriss’ work, Tools of Titans is no exception. Presented as compilation of knowledge bombs from world-class achievers, this 707 monster of a book is incredibly engaging from start to finish, with so much information to absorb. The book in broken down into 3 sections, Health, Wealth, and Happiness and is structured in such as way that you can jump through the book to areas of particular interest to you.

We highly reccommend getting a copy of Tools of Titans and keeping it on your coffee table to read each morning over breakfast. The learnings in the book will help to grow many parts of your personal and professional life.

8 - Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success

Hacking Growth is a fantastic playbook for any startup or tech company wanting to run successful, growth-focused crossfunctional teams, and make regular experimentation part of you culture.

Co-authored by legendary growth expert, Sean Ellis, Hacking Growth is a perfect balance of theory, practice and case studies that is presented in a way that educates, motivates, and illuminates the way forward.

Don’t think of Hacking Growth as a marketing focused book, this should be essential reading for anyone working in tech to develop a growth mindset for the products you’re building, the team you’re working with and your own career progression.

9 - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

No list of entrepreneurial books can be complete without a feature from the real-life Tony Stark, Elon Musk. Elon is of course the entrepreneur and visionary behind SpaceX, Telsa and SolarCity… and of course PayPal. The man has dedicate his energy and fortune to inventing and investing in a future beyond the wildest imaginations of many science ficition writers.

This biography takes a look at Musk’s early life in South Africa, through to moving to the USA and starting his entrepreneurial journey. This book is a incredible inside look into a brilliant mind and perfectly illustrates the countless crazy moments in his life journey so far and is a constant reminder to think big!

Functionn are a boutique recruitment company specialising in the recruitment and relocation of elite technologists for APAC’s top leading startups.

Should you be interested in partnering with Functionn (either as a client or potential candidate) please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always happy to talk.

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