The best books about design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship

Muhammad Mashhood Alam Author Of Transforming an Idea Into a Business with Design Thinking: The Structured Approach from Silicon Valley for Entrepreneurs and Leaders
By Muhammad Mashhood Alam

Who am I?

I've been driving innovation in various capacities with world’s leading companies and start-ups for the last 23 years in Silicon Valley. I've been granted six US patents, won two prestigious design awards including the Red Dot award, and published a book on transforming an idea into a business using Design Thinking. What I've learnt is that at the core of any successful business lies the value to the end user who uses the solutions. As I got exposed to Design Thinking earlier on in my career, I realized its immense power in delivering human-centered innovations. I regularly speak at several industry & entrepreneurial events and various business schools around the world. 

I wrote...

Transforming an Idea Into a Business with Design Thinking: The Structured Approach from Silicon Valley for Entrepreneurs and Leaders

By Muhammad Mashhood Alam,

Book cover of Transforming an Idea Into a Business with Design Thinking: The Structured Approach from Silicon Valley for Entrepreneurs and Leaders

What is my book about?

This book will introduce you to a structured framework, called Transform3+1, to transform your idea into a business by following simple and specific steps spread across four stages. The first stage will help you understand the problem facing your target user by building empathy. Once you understand the problem, comes the stage of devising a solution in an iterative manner through prototyping the new concept and validating with the user. Most start-ups fail not because they didn’t find the right problem to solve for the target user or that their solution lacked technological prowess but because they could not figure out a sustainable business model. Third stage will focus on crafting a business model. The final stage introduces you to a unique approach of managing risks associated with your venture.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Why did I love this book?

Carol Dweck's book Mindset explores the idea that our beliefs about our own abilities and potential can have a significant impact on our success in life.

Dweck identifies two distinct mindsets that people can have: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their talents and abilities are fixed traits that cannot be changed, while those with a growth mindset believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work, dedication, and perseverance.

This work has resonated with me during my more than two decades of experience driving innovation from Silicon Valley, where I have seen the power of growth mindset in action as innovators brought new ideas to productive use.

I highly recommend it for anyone interested in bringing new ideas to light.

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Mindset as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the renowned psychologist who introduced the world to “growth mindset” comes this updated edition of the million-copy bestseller—featuring transformative insights into redefining success, building lifelong resilience, and supercharging self-improvement.

“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.”

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this…

Book cover of Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

Why did I love this book?

Creative Confidence is a book that explores the idea that everyone has the ability to be creative, and that creativity can be a powerful tool for innovation and problem-solving.

Kelley argues that many people believe that creativity is a rare and elusive talent that only a select few possess, but in reality, everyone can develop their creative abilities with practice and effort.

Kelley provides numerous examples of individuals and organizations that have successfully used creativity to solve complex problems and create innovative solutions.

He also offers practical strategies and exercises for developing creative confidence, such as embracing failure, challenging assumptions, and experimenting with new ideas.

I have personally seen the benefits of creative confidence in my work and the work of others around me.

By Tom Kelley, David Kelley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Creative Confidence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerful and inspiring book from the founders of IDEO, the award-winning design firm, on unleashing the creativity that lies within each and every one of us.

Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the 'creative types'. But two of the foremost experts in innovation, design and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative.

In an entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, and with many of the world's top companies and design firms, David and Tom Kelley…

Book cover of The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Why did I love this book?

The Lean Startup is a book that presents a new approach to entrepreneurship and innovation that focuses on creating products that meet the needs of customers while minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency.

Ries argues that many startups fail because they spend too much time and resources building products that customers don't want, and that a better approach is to quickly develop and test ideas using a process of continuous improvement.

Ries outlines a framework for implementing a lean startup approach, which includes identifying the target customer, creating a minimum viable product, and using rapid experimentation and feedback to improve the product.

He also emphasizes the importance of metrics and data analysis in guiding decision-making and measuring progress.

I have found it a practical and informative book that offers valuable insights and strategies for entrepreneurs and innovators looking to create successful and sustainable businesses.

By Eric Ries,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Lean Startup as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'The Lean Startup changes everything.' - Harvard Business Review


Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable.

The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that's being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Essential reading for any ambitious entrepreneur, The Lean Startup will teach you to identify what your customers really want. You'll learn how to test your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it's too late.

With over a million copies sold across the globe, now is your time…

Book cover of Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

Why did I love this book?

This is a book that describes why design thinking can be a powerful tool for innovation and problem-solving.

Brown argues that traditional approaches to problem-solving often rely on linear and analytical thinking, which can be limiting when it comes to addressing complex and multifaceted challenges.

Brown presents a framework for design thinking that emphasizes empathy, experimentation, and collaboration.

I found numerous examples of individuals and organizations in the book that have successfully used design thinking to create innovative solutions to a wide range of problems, from improving healthcare to redesigning public spaces.

I found practical strategies of applying design thinking in life and work.

By Tim Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Change by Design as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The subject of "design thinking" is the rage at business schools, throughout corporations, and increasingly in the popular press-due in large part to the work of IDEO, a leading design firm, and its celebrated CEO, Tim Brown, who uses this book to show how the techniques and strategies of design belong at every level of business.

The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and…

Book cover of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Why did I love this book?

This book explores the idea that human decision-making is often influenced by unconscious biases and irrational behaviors.

Ariely argues that traditional economic models of decision-making are based on the assumption that humans are rational actors who make decisions based on self-interest, but in reality, our decisions are often influenced by emotions, social norms, and other external factors.

Ariely presents numerous examples and experiments that demonstrate how our irrational behavior can affect our decision-making, from the way we value products to the way we approach risk and uncertainty. 

As I apply Design Thinking to solve real world problems from human perspective, this book has helped me have a deeper understanding of user decision-making, influences, and biases to design solutions that works best for them.

By Dan Ariely,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Predictably Irrational as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do smart people make irrational decisions every day? The answers will surprise you. Predictably Irrational is an intriguing, witty and utterly original look at why we all make illogical decisions.

Why can a 50p aspirin do what a 5p aspirin can't? If an item is "free" it must be a bargain, right? Why is everything relative, even when it shouldn't be? How do our expectations influence our actual opinions and decisions?

In this astounding book, behavioural economist Dan Ariely cuts to the heart of our strange behaviour, demonstrating how irrationality often supplants rational thought and that the reason for…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in decision making, success in life, and entrepreneurs?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about decision making, success in life, and entrepreneurs.

Decision Making Explore 71 books about decision making
Success In Life Explore 206 books about success in life
Entrepreneurs Explore 249 books about entrepreneurs

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Alchemist, Stumbling on Happiness, and The Artist's Way if you like this list.