Additional Recommended Reading

Here is my recommended reading list. Many of the concepts in The Launch Path were drawn from some of these influential thinkers.

The Lean Startup This book by Eric Ries is the source of many of the concepts and terms that have become part of everyday conversations around Silicon Valley. Nice, easy read.

Four Steps to Epiphany Steve Blank’s seminal work. If you want to read the background thinking behind The Lean Startup, this is it (warning: it’s a bit dense and a bit hard to read – Eric Ries’s book above distills the same concepts down into more readable form).

The Hard thing about Hard things. This book by Ben Horowitz is one of my favorites. Funny, profane, and insightful.

Traversing the Traction Gap This book is from long-time Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bruce Cleveland. As a VC, he’s seen how many startups manage to raise a little bit of early funding, but never get enough traction to succeed and raise more money and so they die. He develops and presents a compelling framework for crossing that gap.

Building a Successful Social Venture An excellent book published last year by two experts on creating “hybrid organizations” that are run partly for economic results and partly for social impact. All over the globe today, social ventures are creating impact and changing lives.

The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you – an indispensable guide to how to correctly conduct Customer Development interviews.

The Responsible Company Written by the founders of Patagonia, this is an excellent book about what it means to be a responsible company, and how to go about creating one.

How to Wash a Chicken Despite the odd name, this is a terrific book on mastering business presentations, by the brilliant professor Tim Calkins of The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  Just came out last year.

Make Elephants Fly Steven Hoffman runs Founders Space here in the Bay Area, and recently wrote this book on innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s an easy read – you’ll finish it in one airplane flight.  

Crossing the Chasm A seminal book. Came out many years ago, but the concepts still hold. Potential investors are going to ask you how you plan to “Cross the chasm” and you better know what they are talking about!

The Tipping Point This is a personal favorite for mine. While not specifically about business, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is a fascinating read, filled with insights that are applicable to marketing and communications for any business.

Business Model Generation Subtitled “A handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers” – this is a must-have if you are using (or want to understand) the business model canvas.

The Innovator’s Dilemma This ground-breaking book  looks at how companies can do everything right, become market leaders, and then still fail. The concept of “disruptive technologies” is discussed a lot in Silicon Valley these days, and much of the current thinking comes from this book.

Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development is a subtitled “A cheat sheet to the four steps to epiphany” and is a great little book which synthesizes Steve Blank’s methodologies down in a nice, simple, easy-to-understand way. Very well-written, and well-worth the price. Easy airplane read.

And some very good blogs to follow: Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures in NYC is a great one to follow. Ben Horowitz at Andreessen Horowitz also writes a great blog.

Great essays by Paul Graham of Y-Combinator.

Last but not least: Here is an excellent Harvard Business Review article by the inimitable Steve Blank.