The top 10 best startup strategy books to read

If you’re looking to build a startup library, what are the best startup books of all time? Join us as we look at the startup strategy books you should be reading.

If you’ve been inspired by Elon Musk’s buyout of Twitter and you want to begin your startup journey, it pays to do your research first. 

Want to know what our top ten startup strategy books are? Let's take a look…

Want to know what our top ten startup strategy books are? Let’s take a look…

The good news is there are plenty of excellent startup strategy books to get you started on your journey.

Here are some of our favorite books. Whether you read a chapter on the commute to work or a few pages after you’ve put the kids to bed, you’ll be knowledgeable in no time at all.

Don’t forget to tell us what your favorite startup strategy books are; we’d love to hear your thoughts!

urlaunched. The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries

1. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries

‘The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.’

The best startup book for Startups that want to launch as quickly as possible.

One of the best startup strategy books on the market, The Lean Startup has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over thirty languages! 

With nine out of ten startups eventually failing, businesses need to ensure they are as successful as possible. According to Ries, one of the ways startups can improve their chances of making it is by launching as quickly as they can.

The Lean Startup is all about building and learning as you go, making changes along the way to ensure that you create a product or service that everyone wants. Every entrepreneur should have a copy of this book in their startup library!

Buy The Lean Startup

You are launched. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future – Blake Masters and Peter Thiel

2. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future – Blake Masters and Peter Thiel

‘Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.’

The best startup book for Founders that want to change the world.

Peter Thiel isn’t one of the most well-known entrepreneurs, but trust us, he’s done a lot! He co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies, was one of the first investors in Facebook, and worked as a partner at Y Combinator. 

In this book, Thiel recommends that you need to create an entirely new product or service if you want to make an impact. Not only will this lead to success, but it will lead to you making the world a better place too.

While his thoughts are often unconventional, for example, arguing that monopolies are vital for society to thrive, this book will inspire you to think of the next big idea.

Buy Zero to One

You are launched. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – Ben Horowitz

3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – Ben Horowitz

‘Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang calls ‘the torture.’ Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, ‘I didn’t quit.’’ 

The best startup strategy book for People who want a no-holds-barred view of what it’s like to run a startup.

The thing we like the most about The Hard Thing About Hard Things is its honesty. Running a startup can be challenging and take up a lot of your time and money. This book takes everything that can be bad about running a startup, like firing staff and dealing with your own issues, and advises how to face these issues head-on.

While the subject matter is sometimes hard-going, Horowitz explains everything in an easy-to-understand way, using quotes from rappers to explain what life is like operating a startup.

Buy The Hard Thing About Hard Things

urlaunched. The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More - Chris Guillebeau

4. The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More – Chris Guillebeau

‘Value means helping people. If you’re trying to build a microbusiness and you begin your efforts by helping people, you’re on the right track. When you get stuck, ask yourself: How can I give more value? Or more simply: How can I help my customers more?’

The best startup book for Founders who want to just jump in and get started.

This book does exactly what it says – how you can create a startup without spending a lot of money. Many people think you need a lot of funding to build a business, but this isn’t necessarily true. Sometimes you just need a good idea and a lot of determination!

The fundamental ethos of this book is that you don’t need to plan; you can just get started straight away, learning as you go along. In fact, Guillebeau argues that it’s far riskier to work for someone else than it is to work for yourself!

Buy The $100 Startup

 How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time - George Berkowski

5. How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time – George Berkowski

‘Don’t try to do everything. Don’t try to tackle multiple business problems. Focus on one core problem and deliver one great solution.’

The best startup strategy book for Startups looking to create that killer mobile app.

As a business specializing in helping companies build and launch mobile apps, this book has pride of place in our startup library! As a tech entrepreneur who has advised many different startups, Berkowski definitely knows his stuff.

We love this book as it draws on a lot of real-life experiences. What have these businesses done to stand out, what obstacles have they faced along the way, and how can you apply these learnings to getting your own app to market?

Buy How to Build a Billion Dollar App

The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail - Clayton Christensen

6. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail – Clayton Christensen

‘Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.’

The best startup strategy book for Startups that want to appeal to the masses.

This book may be twenty-five years old, but it is still incredibly relevant today. It shows small businesses how they can go toe-to-toe with large competitors, as well as how large companies can stay relevant.

The Innovator’s Dilemma focuses on a concept called ‘Disruptive Innovation’ – how you can take an expensive or technically-complex product or service and turn it into something more affordable and accessible.

Buy The Innovator’s Dilemma 

How to win friends and influence people. How to stop worrying and start living - Dale Carnegie

7. How to win friends and influence people. How to stop worrying and start living – Dale Carnegie

‘Personally, I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”

Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?’

The best startup strategy book for Founders that want to boost their confidence. 

One of the most iconic self-help books around, this book was originally written in 1936. However, the content is still fresh and relevant today.

Running a startup is all about networking. You need to find investors, people to work with, and most importantly, customers. This book provides a lot of helpful advice about communicating more effectively, getting people to see your side of the story, and navigating tricky social situations.

The tips will prove handy when it comes to your personal life too!

Buy How to Win Friends and Influence People

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't - Jim Collins

8. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t – Jim Collins

‘Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.’

The best startup strategy book for Startups that want to be the best.

If you want your business to stand the test of time, it’s essential to know what you need to do and what you need to avoid. The good news is that Jim Collins has done all the work for you!

Good to Great looks at businesses that have hit the big time and what they have done to ensure they remain successful. The book also looks at companies that became a success but quickly nosedived.

There’s a lot to take in, and this book is full of stats but sticks with it – you’ll learn so much!

Buy Good to Great

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products - Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover

9. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products – Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover

‘Make your product so simple that users already know how to use it, and you’ve got a winner.’

The best startup strategy book for: Those interested in the psychology of business.

When creating a product or service, how do you make sure customers keep using it? If you’re asking this question, Hooked will have the information you’re after.

This book is all about habit formation. Essentially, you want to make sure users keep subscribing and buying what you have to offer. 

It’s also interesting if you’re coming from the other side – what are businesses doing to make their products so addictive?

Buy Hooked

Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You - John Warrillow

10. Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You – John Warrillow

‘Don’t be afraid to say no to projects. Prove that you’re serious about specialization by turning down work that falls outside your area of expertise.’

The best startup book for Startups looking to ultimately sell their business.

We would like to close the list of startup strategy books with the “Built to Sell”. If you’re dreaming of selling your business, retiring early, and relaxing on a desert island, Built to Sell will give you lots of valuable advice.

The book follows the story of Alex, a business owner that wants to sell up. Alex decides to work with Ted, who helps him take steps to make his company more enticing to buyers.

Even if you’re a long way off from selling up, there’s plenty of insight to help you manage your business as it scales.

Buy Built to Sell

Bonus! The You are launched blog

Bonus! The You are launched blog

Okay, it’s technically not a startup strategy book. But our blog is full of lots of helpful information that will give you valuable insight into launching and running a startup business.

Whether you need to design an app, hire staff or market your product or service, we have lots of detailed information and links to valuable resources.

Keep checking us out as we post a brand new blog every week. Alternatively, why not sign up for our email updates to learn more about our latest articles?

In summary: Reading startup strategy books can make you a better entrepreneur

In summary: Reading startup strategy books can make you a better entrepreneur

Reading can help you become a better businessperson. Not only do you learn essential concepts that can help you grow your business, but you can also reduce stress, improve your concentration and sleep better too!

Pick one of the startup strategy books on this list and give it a go. Whether you order a hard copy or read it on your phone or Kindle, you’ll be closer to creating the startup you’ve always imagined.


Want a little extra help to build a startup? You are launched is here to help

Not got the time to read the books on this list, but still want to launch a product or service? We’ve read the books, so you don’t have to!

We specialize in lean startup methodology, meaning we can help you get your business to market as soon as possible, giving you the edge over your competitors.

Contact us today, and let’s work together to get you launched.

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