Top 10 (+2) Book Recommendations for Startups & Entrepreneurs

Written By Rajat Kapur

On August 19, 2020

I often get requests for book recommendations for those who are in a career transition, considering starting their own businesses, or simply looking for a good read. Here are my top 10 recommendations, in no particular order:

1: The Lean Startup – (Reis)

The concept of building an “MVP” and testing it as fast and inexpensively as possible has shaped my thinking for my own business and almost every business I have advised since reading this book:

2: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (Gerber) 

Separating out an entrepreneur’s role as a business owner and a ‘tactician’ really shaped my thinking on how to build a business that can succeed without me.

3: Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (Theil)

Does a great job framing ‘how to start’ a business from nothing.

4: The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career (Hoffman)

How to think of your own career as a startup from the guy who started up LinkedIn and PayPal. PS. I’d read or listen to anything that Reid Hoffman puts out there.

5: Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen (Miller) 

Very simple read on a very simple concept. Storytelling is all the rage, this book helps you with ‘how’ – changed the way &Marketing tells our client’s stories

6: Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence – and How You Can, Too (Vaynerchuk)

It’s hard to say something about Gary Vee that he hasn’t already said about himself… However, he’s really good at understanding how people have completely changed how they gather and share information using technology – and this book is FULL of amazing ideas and examples. Gary Vee is somewhere between 5-80% of the reason I left my consulting job and went out on my own.

7: Outliers (Gladwell) 

How you have to think and behave differently if you want extraordinary results.

(P.S. I’d read or listen to anything by Malcolm Gladwell… He has a great podcast and his latest book, “Talking to Strangers” is phenomenal as well but is less business and more deep thinking –

8: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Sinek) 

Why you do something is more important than what you do. I tell the Apple vs Microsoft story regularly in my marketing courses 

P.S. I’d read or listen to anything by Simon Sinek

9: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – (Grant) 

Great book on how dissent, disagreement, and counterintuitive thinking leads to breakthrough results

P.S. I’d read or listen to anything by Adam Grant; he’s got a great podcast called “WorkLife” and his book with Sheryl Sandberg “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” was phenomenal.

10: Never Split the Difference (Voss)

Not just a book about negotiating, but also a book on leadership, communications, and how to diffuse difficult situations.

Bonus #1: Go Giver (Burg)

A parable about how long term success can be driven by an attitude of giving without the desperate need for an immediate return. A great philosophy!

Bonus #2: Built To Sell (Warrillow)

Another very simple to read but profound parable which made me fundamentally think differently about my business as a ‘saleable unit. Even if you’re not trying to sell your business, this helps you think about how to simplify it!

What books should I add to this list?

About the Authors

Rajat “Raj” Kapur is the founder and Managing Director of &Marketing. He strives to provide growing businesses of all sizes unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj brings two decades of professional experience in marketing, sales, and strategy development experience spanning B2B and B2C Fortune 50, mid-sized, and startups.

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.