This summer reading list for tech entrepreneurs will bring you up to speed with the hottest new ideas and trends and reintroduce you to a few time-tested favorites. You might even discover your next big idea.
When it comes to entrepreneurship – or any highly competitive field where huge potential upside is at stake – success often comes down to preparation. The best athletes keep training during the offseason, and the best students don’t stop studying in the summer. They hit the books, and you should, too. Especially if this is the year you’re going to fulfill your dreams by launching a startup or taking your company to the next level.
To point you in the right direction, OpenView has compiled a Summer Reading List for Entrepreneurs, highlighting seven terrific books — from harbingers and guides to the hottest new ideas and trends to a handful of time-tested classics that helped revolutionize the tech industry and might just inspire your next big idea now. All seven are must-reads for aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs, alike, providing lessons from some of the biggest names in software and covering topics ranging from content creation to leadership and motivation. And they even make for convenient drink coasters on the beach, to boot.
1) Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company – and Revolutionized an Industry by Marc Benioff and Carlye Adler
The ultimate story of tech startup success, this insightful and inspirational tale of Salesforce.com’s rise from humble beginnings to industry giant is full of candid stories and no-holds-barred advice from the man behind it all, founder and CEO Marc Benioff.
Here’s a cold, hard fact to give you the chills during even the most sweltering days of summer – most startups fail. The ones that don’t are treasure-troves of hard-earned experience and advice, and lucky for first-time entrepreneurs everywhere, there’s a program like TechStars to gather it all and package it into this book.
3) The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
Unless you decided to turn last summer’s vacation into a year-long experiment in going off the grid, chances are you’re already familiar with the Lean Startup movement. Ries’s book arrived with a splash last September, landing on the #2 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list and taking much of the tech world by storm. See what all the fuss is about and you might just find yourself spending more time iterating this summer than sunbathing.
This one’s a classic. Like a favorite vacation home, it’s worth revisiting at least once a year, and each time you’ll likely to uncover fresh insights. The 5th edition brings the more than 30 years of small business expertise up to date, and as a reference it’s unmatched in wide-ranging solutions and advice.
5) Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars, (and More) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C. C. Chapman
Content marketing is here to stay and the truth is if you’re not already creating engaging and informative content you’re a step behind. Content Rules is a one-stop resource that can help newcomers and companies with established content marketing programs alike create content that resonates with customers, boosts online engagement, builds corporate brand, and results in conversions.
6) Lead Generation for the Complex Sale: Boost the Quality and Quantity of Leads to Increase Your ROI by Brian Carroll
One of the most pressing priorities for expansion-stage companies is establishing an approach to generating sales leads and converting them into new customers. This book provides a step-by-step guide to sharpening your buyer personas, aligning your sales and marketing efforts, and, ultimately, turning more leads into profitable customers, which is key to accelerating – and maintaining – your company’s growth.
Teamwork is crucial to any business, but truly exceptional teams – and team leaders – are often hard to find. This short leadership-lesson-turned-fable is a perfect beach read that will have you reevaluating your own teams and leadership style, and reengaging with greater commitment, accountability, motivation, and success as a result.