The Books Every Startup CEO Should Read

Since I’m always talking about the books I’ve read, I often get asked for book recommendations, especially by fellow Startup founders.

This morning Nick Rellas the CEO of Drizly asked me for a list of must-read books, so I quickly put together this list.

I think every Startup CEO & Founder would benefit from reading the books on this list.

Sorted by books I’ve re-read the most:

  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things — The only “real” business book. This book captures what it is like leading a startup.
  • Made in America — The story of how Sam Walton created Wal-Mart and became the richest man in the world. I have stolen many concepts from this book including the concept of Servant Leadership. Read 3x.
  • Seeking Wisdom — I can’t remember how I first found this book years ago, but it’s been on my nightstand ever since. I continuously read this bookfinding new gems each time.
  • Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service — If you care about creating agreat customer experience read this book.
  • Managing Oneself — buy this tiny book by Peter Drucker and re-read it every five years.
  • Behind the Cloud — The story of Salesforce from its founder & CEO, Marc Benioff.
  • Let My People Go Surfing — The story of the founding of Patagonia and more importantly how to build a company with strong values.
  • Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind — This and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion are the best books on Marketing. These books will teach you why you buy the things you do.
  • Meditations — So deep you need to re-read this book every few years.
  • Practicing The Power of Now — The best way I’ve found to deal with the daily anxiety of running a business is to focus on the “Now.” Start practicing with Tolle’s book.
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion — I’m reading this book for the 3rd time now. The best book there is to understand the cognitive biases we all use to make decisions.
  • Entreleadership — If you want to learn how to work on your business, not in it, read this.
  • Setting the Table — I’m obsessed with great customer service. Nobody knows delivering great service better than Danny Meyer, one of America’s leading restauranteurs.
  • The Big Moo — So many great Seth Godin books to read, I’ve read all of them. I always come back to two books, Purple Cow and The Big Moo, a companion book to the Purple Cow.
  • Re-Imagine! — Too many great Tom Peters books, start with this one.
  • High Output Management — The book that started the recent OKR trend used by Google and many other companies to manage priorities.
  • Predictable Revenue — This book is a great guide to running a sales team from an early Salesforce.com sales leader. I had a hard time choosing between this book and The Sales Acceleration Formula (read both).

David Cancel

Entrepreneur. Investor. CEO @Drift.

Recieve Weekly updates from the Startup Community.

By signing up,you agree to our Privacy policy

Join Our Mailing List

Recieve Weekly updates from the Startup Community.

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Top