Startup Wise Guys Bookshelf
#SWGMafia is reading non-stop and we’d love to share with you the books our mentors, investors, partners, and team members suggest. Keep this saved in your Bookmarks list as we will be updating it once in a while with more and more new suggestions. 🤓
3-d Negotiation: Powerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius
“Lax and Sebenius distinguish three dimensions of negotiation: from building interpersonal relationships, through the actual creation of value and the shaping of a deal to the third dimension. Are the right partners really at the right table and how much room do they have for negotiation? This is about getting the maximum potential out of your next negotiation.”
Suggested by our investor negotiations mentor Petra Wolkenstein.
The Culture Map by Erin Meyers
“Erin Meyers provides a great structure to understand and compare how different cultures do business around the world. It is very helpful for entrepreneurs who are starting to expand their operations abroad. She also has an online tool that companies can use to compare different cultures and better understand how to deal with other countries.”
Suggested by our marketing and international business mentor Rodrigo Olmedo.
Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
“I was convinced, for a long time, that with stamina and skills I could have done anything, succeed in everything. (Un)fortunately, this is not true. The greatest asset a senior professional (and a startup founder) can have is his network. Whether you are fundraising, selling your product, team building, you should never underestimate the importance of your network. This book will give you valuable insights on how to do it.”
Suggested by our Partner in Italy Andrea Orlando.
The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy (and Why They Don’t) by Sean D’Souza
“Great book that looks at the 7 stages the human brain goes through when making any buying decision. Presented in a way that isn’t very technical or boring. using the analogy of having 7 bags on an airport baggage belt. You wouldn’t leave one of your bags behind.”
Suggested by business growth mentor Dan Wheatley.
Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
“Why “free” works like a magic wand? How pricing anchors are established? Why do you want to play according to social norms not monetary norms? I rarely come across a book that is entertaining, useful and based on quality research. This is one of them. One of the cornerstones of behavioral economy.”
Suggested by strategy and leadership mentor Greg Albrecht.
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger
“Being the CEO of a startup is never easy, but have you ever considered how difficult it is to be the CEO of a traditional company which wants to transform and adapt to change? This book offers numerous valuable insights into how to lead, both a company and its people.”
Suggested by our own Andra Bagdonaitė.
Winners: And How They Succeed by Alastair Campbell
“He interviews successful people from around the world and looks for what is similar and what differences they have. Its interesting to see the same characteristics and experiences happen time and time again to people all over the world.”
Suggested by business growth mentor Dan Wheatley.
Couples That Work: How Dual-Career Couples Can Thrive in Love and Work by Jennifer Petriglieri
“Useful in all ways of life and relationships,” suggested by Cristobal.
“I wish I have had this book earlier in my life. It gives great guidance for couples, where both partners are looking for ways to fulfill them professionally and going over 3 big transitions in life. I think it is valuable even if you don’t have a couple,” adds Zane.
The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli
“This book has made an unexpected impact. Despite having been written some 500 years ago, it’s packed with actionable people management advice that is still applicable today, and has surprising parallels to building and running a company (nation-state in Machiavelli’s terms).”
Suggested by business strategy mentor Artyom Chelbayev.
Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle
“A true and amazing inspiration for everyone on how to manage people and/or coach startups.”
Suggested by Cristobal.
F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems by Michael Bennett MD and Sarah Bennett
“Written by a psychiatrist and his comedy writer daughter, this book will make you laugh through tears, let go of the control and finally realize that there are things in the life that you can’t change.”
Suggested by Karina.
Venture Capitalists at Work: How VCs Identify and Build Billion-Dollar Successes by Tarang Shah and Shital Shah
“I like books in which the author doesn’t tell you what to do, but provides a lot of separate cases and leaves it to the reader to make conclusions. This book is one of them. Overall, the book consists of short interviews with hyper-successful VCs and startup founders, who tell about their successful investment decisions and failures.”
Suggested by our mentor Elena Mazhuha.
Hello, My Name Is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick by Alexandra Watkins
“Awesome book! I wish I have read it this book before coming up with my company name.”
Suggested by our alumni Vahagn Grigoryan.
The Art of Making Sh!t Up: Using the Principles of Improv to Become an Unstoppable Powerhouse by Norm Laviolette
“Sometimes good advice come from unexpected sources. How to listen, negotiate, do teamwork and give better presentations are some of the things this book can give you.”
Suggested by our mentor Petri Kajander.
Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West
“This book offers a different way of looking at the term ‘scale’ that founders and investors throw around during matchmaking.”
Suggested by our pitch coach Gleb Maltsev.
“Even if you are not a natural writer this book will inspire you to give it a go with small hacks that you can use in your daily life, as well as by setting a structure around it.”
Suggested by Luīze.
Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (P.S.) by Anthony Bourdain
“This is the only book that I recommend to all startups no matter what business they are in. It is about starting, failing, starting, failing and starting all over again. It is about big dreams, tram spirit, trust and passion.”
Suggested by CyberNorth alumni Pinar Soyata from autom8.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Ola Rosling
“It allows to look at the world and its development through facts. It is a great surprise how much subjectivity we have in our understanding about things happening around us.”
Suggested by our own Dima.
“Dobelli has written one of the simplest guides for leading a Good Life. Through the fifty-two short chapters, he uncovers most of the thinking based problems that are holding us back.”
Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan
“If you don’t have anybody in your team who’s experienced in building products, then this book is what you need. It gives a lot of good insights on how to build a team and what processes you need to implement so that you can faster build a product avoiding building stuff that you don’t need.”
Suggested by our Batch 12 alumni Eero Veider from eXpact.
Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins and
Morten T. Hansen
“One of the best books I’ve ever encountered. I skip the phrase “business books” with a purpose – its principles apply to life in general.”
Suggested by Wise Guys Fintech I alumni Ansis Farhad Lipenitis.
Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected by Devora Zack
“Networking doesn’t have to be stressful, building relationships has to be comfortable for you in the first place. An easy read to find your comfort zone in growing the network.”
Suggested by our Business Development mentor Mariia Tintul.
Decoding Silicon Valley: The Insider’s Guide by Michelle E. Messina
Book written by our mentor Michelle Messina about Silicon Valley best practices for growing and scaling companies, the Valley’s unique vantage point for evaluating startups, and what rules can and should be broken in the course of building a global business.
Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It by Scott Kupor
Suggested by Dag. He has not read it yet, as the book was published only at the beginning of June, but he preordered it and is sure that it’s going to be good.
Bargaining for Advantage – Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People by G. Richard Shell
“This book will help founders in several areas – from negotiating with investors, to closing sales.”
Suggested by Yuriy Mikitchenko.
Talking to Humans by Giff Constable
Practical guide to the qualitative side of customer development, an indispensable skill for vetting and improving any new startup or innovation. This book will teach you how to structure and run effective customer interviews, find candidates, and turn learnings into action.
Suggested by Farid.