Books For Entrepreneurs (continued)

As usual, the comments to yesterday's post about suggested books for entrepreneurs (132 comments so far) are way better than the post itself.

At some point yesterday, when the suggestions were coming hot and heavy, I commented that we ought to create a wiki with all of these great suggestions on it.

Zachary Burt did just that on PB Wiki. Here it is. Please feel free to add any other books you think deserve to be on the list.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Mihai Badoiu

    How about all those VC books? There are lots, but I found The Valley Boy quite entertaining and easy to read as a first. Entrepreneurs can learn how VCs think, which must be good for both raising money and developing the right product.

  2. mattocks

    Any of Clayton Christensen’s books. Disrupting Class and The Innovator’s Prescription are both phenomenal reads and more than highly relevant.

  3. Richard

    All great titles…. but when can we expect an ‘entrepreneurial wisdom’ book from you? 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      This is my book. I get to update it every day.

  4. Jorge Delgado

    I have a lot to read! thanks for book list :)Jorge

  5. Name

    What about books for aspiring VCs?

  6. zburt

    Hey fred,Any chance I could get you to change the link to [] instead of []? That was my original win-win motivation behind creating the Wiki — your blog has sooo much Google Juice! One love.

    1. fredwilson

      absolutely. will do it now. it’s really interesting what motivates people to do things.

    2. Dave Pinsen

      If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my suggestion in the previous thread re a place where you might want to post a link to this. Good luck with it.

  7. Chris Yeh

    I’ve sent a note to the customer support team to upgrade this wiki to PBworks Public Edition, which includes some pretty useful features, including mobile access via iPhone and Blackberry.Thanks for doing this, Zachary!

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks chris. I love peer production!

  8. Mike Millar

    I have followed this blog for a long time but not commented before ( I was an employee at one of Fred’s Flatiron companies). However this thread fascinates me so I commented earlier. I want to add to this. I spent a few years after graduating including a year in Africa where one of the things which struck me was the idea of “touchstone” books. These were the books that my favorite people I met as travellers thought other great travellers would like. It was amazing how people ended up with the a relatively small and very common set of titles. A lot of the books quoted in this threads are not “business” books but they are touchstone books. They are not business books but I would want the people who read and talk about them to be on my team.

    1. kirklove

      Really great point Mike.The book that means the most to me, has helped me through life countless times, and I consider the greatest book ever written is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. A lot of people laugh when I say that since it’s a “children’s” book. It’s not. It’s a life book. And anyone who has read it, and embraced its selfless message is someone I either want to know, have be a part of my life, or gladly work with.

    2. fredwilson

      Hey mike. Nice to hear from you. I love the notion of ‘touchstone books’

  9. Dan Ramsden

    Last-minute addition to the list: Plutarch’s Roman Lives… because the ancient Roman generals were entrepreneurs in the true and classic sense. They financed their armies with capital they raised, they competed with other generals (for armies as well as for capital), they were master strategists, statesmen, and politicians, but also soldiers who could easily relate to their troops. They were courageous and full of energy and vision. The result was an entrepreneurial product, Rome, which was created in the middle of nowhere out of nothing by mainly private capital and great leaders. Reading any one of Plutarch’s brief biographies is a tremendous inspiration.

  10. daveklatch

    I have read this list and there are some great books here that I have read and many many more I haven’t read!I also have to say that the person who posted THE GIVING TREE, truly recognizes the genius of that book by Shel Silverstein. That is an ALL TIME CLASSIC!I would like to add a couple to the list I didn’t see here that I think everyone will like.The GO-GIVERThe Golden Ticket

  11. thedailyreviewer

    Congratulations! Our selection committee compiled an exclusive list of the Top 100 Egos Blogs, and yours was included! Check it out at…You can claim your Top 100 Blogs Award Badge at…Cheers!Ted…

  12. Staffan Hillberg

    “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0″ is a great book dealing with many of the successful startups, mistakes made and how VC’s think and act.”Done Deals: Venture Capitalists Tell Their Stories” is also a good book.

  13. Riaz Kanani

    The list is great but it is missing one vital ingredient.. why I should read them/why are they being suggested (over and above them being a top 3 read for entrepreneurs).It does list who has suggested them, so those added by people you admire/trust will get more attention but a few lines saying why would help.Over time that list will get longer and longer till it becomes as irrelevant as any other list..

    1. fredwilson

      Agreed with both critiques

  14. Glenn Gutierrez

    Great wiki. Need to add these to the weekly reading list.

  15. Robert

    Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital by Carlota Perez

    1. fredwilson

      We used that book’s insights to raise our first USV fund back in 2004. Very dry and analytical but it helped us articulate what was happening with the internet technological revolution and we were right

  16. StephenUnique

    I still don’t get the inclusion of Atlas Shrugged. Not because it’s a right wing favorite; because the thesis is so easily decimated. What type of inspiration are you drawing from it? When I read it, it makes me feel discouraged that people believe this world is actually possible.

    1. fredwilson

      It depends on how you read it and what you put it next to

      1. StephenUnique

        Internal consistency was the weak standard I was looking for. What’s ironic to me is that Rand spent a lifetime preaching the virtues of reason but failed to consider even simple consequences of her ideas. She admitted that govt was necessary, but couldn’t find an implementable method to fund it. She proposed taxing transactions without seeing the obvious implications (reduced transactions). In the end, Objectivism’s political vision is impossible and inconsistent, and the world that she imagines around it is equally impossible. So, I have trouble visualizing how her writings are different than my children describing a desire to live in Never Never Land.

        1. reece

          Rand’s theories aside, Fred originally started this post about books for entrepreneurs with a focus on story. Atlas Shrugged is a great, inspiring story, exhibiting total perseverance in the quest to build greatness and more importantly, to live life the way it should be lived.This is a quote from Atlas that I love, even if it means I “live in Never Never Land” it resonates deeply with me:”…But he still thought it self-evident that one had to do what was right; he had never learned how people could want to do otherwise; he had learned only that they did. It still seemed simple and incomprehensible to him: simple that things should be right, and incomprehensible that they weren’t.”

          1. StephenUnique

            OK. I can see how you find that aspect of it inspiring. People, myself included, draw inspiration from a lot of fiction. For instance, I read Neal Stephenson because I love that it helps me expand my imagination about what is possible. Even if the socio-culture aspects of his worlds do not.

          2. fredwilson

            Exactly. You can get inspiration in many places. I talked about snowcrash in another part of this thread

          3. fredwilson

            Thanks for bringing this discussion back to where it started reece

          4. reece

            No problem. Let’s face it, entrepreneurs are dreamers… Never Never Land is all around us, and it’s up to us to make it reality.

        2. fredwilson

          Don’t you think that never never land is a valuable construct?

          1. StephenUnique

            Never Land is a valuable construct. But Peter and Wendy by Barrie is not in my top 50 list of books for entrepreneurs to read. Nor are any of the Harry Potter books. Unless the entrepreneur is selling to children.I get the idea of story you’re going for. You’ve answered my question about the inclusion of the work. Value can be difficult to find, so if you and your readers are getting it from Rand, then who am I to question how you spend your time?

  17. StephanieSmith

    I’m the founder/CEO of a micro-community aggregator ( so my “bible” is E.F. Schumacher’s ‘Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered’. The title kind of says it all 😉

  18. Sam

    2 very good ones:Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (this isn’t a cheesy “how to be successful book”)The Road by Cormac McCarthy (a very sobering book that puts EVERYTHING in perspective… everyone should read this).

  19. reece

    This is great! Thanks Fred and Zach.It’s timely for me, as my startup has been reading many of these books for self-education. We’ve read plenty of business books, but I really enjoy the books with story as well. I read Atlas Shrugged after a recommendation from my co-founder, and have now passed on the same copy to our third co-founder. He’s suggested that Atlas may be taking too much of his time from his usual reads like Good to Great and Purple Cow, but in the end the purpose is the same – learning and inspiration.So with all this reading, we’re starting a company library. All of the books that we read in (sometimes loose) relation to our business, are going to live at our HQ, available to all of our employees with certain selections recommended for specific individuals. Maybe we’ll make it public on our site sometime soon…

    1. fredwilson

      That rocks

      1. reece


  20. ShanaC

    I did write that Blogpost,… It came up in the comments how I would love to see Seth Godin talk about the moment in the Republic where Socrates bans most of his eras classical poetry. I’m thinking of asking.