The Startup Bookshelf: Books Every Startup Co-Founder Must Read

bookcase full of booksYou have to put the time in, do the reading and think for yourself. When you do, amazing things will happen. You have to really figure out how the world works, and one of the best ways to do it is through stories. Reading about what Frederick Douglass went through to build HIS publishing startup. Nothing short of AMAZING. Don't connect with Fredrick? No worries, you can find someone, somewhere with a story that moves you (biographies are great for this).

We've made great videos for startups and disruptive companies for a while now, but what I am most jazzed about is the spread of fantastic ideas. We started a book-trailer subdivision not long ago so we can learn if we can be of service (we're going to do all we can to help, and if we're not the right medium, at least it won't be because the creative isn't good).

I started seriously reading about 2 years ago. Sure, I've always read but there's a giant difference between the "Who Moved My Cheese" trope and moved up to good stuff - Made To Stick and Clay Shirky beat the hell out of the biz books everyone gets and forgets. The "Cheese" books (and their ilk) don't do anyone much good. The better books, if you read enough of them, make you a little smarter, a little tougher, and a little better.

Think of reading as a flywheel. At first you get very little benefit; the flywheel isn't moving. As time passes, each little book you read pushes on it and the whole thing goes faster and faster. I recently re-read The Dip by Seth Godin and I got more out of it this time through than I did back in 2007 or whenever it first came out. (And I loved it then).

Blogs are good - but there are so many of them and so many of them have lost their way (Lifehacker), that it takes forever to get some good content. Blogs- even great ones - are generally not as valuable, intimate or ambitious than books. Spending some time on a subject - the 6-10 hours it takes to read a good book - means that you are getting more. I'll have a blog list next week or so.

Must Read  TODAY Books:

Must Read Books for Startups:

If something appeals to you - pick it up.  I put a tracking link here because I'm curious to see how many people are into what we're recommending.  The .25 cents that amazon is paying is more or less trivial.

Books We're Pitching:

The book trailer business has led us to our pick of clients. We've rejected about 5 paying customers for every one we've taken. This is important-  even though we're being paid, we have to be picky. A bad book trailer at this stage of the game will ruin us.  We have to work with good books and we have to do good work. Here are some upcoming trailers (plus the one we've done).

  • Startup Communities, by Brad Feld : Yes, I'm uselessly starstruck.  But holy cow is this going to be fun.
  • Trust Me, I'm Lying, by Ryan Holiday : Ryan Holiday  credits us for helping him make it to the WSJ bestseller lists. That might be a little bit of an oversell, but I do know it sent Shankman into apoplexy. Both are fun to do.
  • Small Message, Big Impact, by Terri Sjodin:  This is the guide to pitching - both in impromptu settings and in normal settings. It's coming out from Penguin Portfolio shortly, and it's amazing. It'll be around for 10 years, if we get the trailer right. The trailer will be out in a week or so.
  • Shadow Ops: Control Point, by Myke Cole : This is fine military fiction. It should be the next Hunger Games if it is marketed right. No pressure.

Books inspire. They generally have better information than blogs do. They generally are great.

What books do you love? Tell me what I should read, and chances are, I'll buy it.

If I love it, I'll stalk the author and do a trailer of that book or the next one.