The best books for B2B startup founders

Who am I?

I’m a 3-time B2B startup founder (Flagback, HireVoice, and Highlights). For my 2nd startup, HireVoice, we tried to use The Lean Startup methodology and struggled to get traction on the market. When we shut down the company, I knew I wanted to solve my own pain, and learn B2B. I spent the next 2 years speaking (and learning from) some of the most successful B2B founders in the world. This, eventually led to the publication of my book, Lean B2B. Since then, I’ve been at the forefront of B2B entrepreneurship. The Lean B2B methodology has now been used by thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators to help create successful businesses.

I wrote...

Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want

By Étienne Garbugli,

Book cover of Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want

What is my book about?

Lean B2B consolidates the best thinking around Business-to-Business (B2B) customer development to help technology entrepreneurs quickly find traction in the enterprise, leaving as little as possible to luck. Thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators around the world are using the Lean B2B methodology to bring new products to market.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-And Revolutionized an Industry

Why did I love this book?

Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce, more or less wrote the playbook for B2B startups. In Behind the Cloud, he shares a lot of the tactics that helped make Salesforce the market leader that it is today. Benioff’s work helped shape Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and the Cloud for B2B entrepreneurs. On and all, it’s a very entertaining book with a lot of interesting ideas.

By Marc Benioff, Carlye Adler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Behind the Cloud as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How did grow from a start up in a rented apartment into the world's fastest growing software company in less than a decade? For the first time, Marc Benioff, the visionary founder, chairman and CEO of, tells how he and his team created and used new business, technology, and philanthropic models tailored to this time of extraordinary change. Showing how not only survived the dotcom implosion of 2001, but went on to define itself as the leader of the cloud computing revolution and spark a $46-billion dollar industry, Benioff's story will help business leaders and entrepreneurs stand…

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

Why did I love this book?

Few books had as big of an influence on the way startups get built than The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. A lot of the ideas introduced in this book have become critical parts of how businesses go to market today. The Lean Startup is also a foundation of my book, Lean B2B. The principles covered in the book provide a framework for how to think about validating and growing a B2B startup.

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 Demand-Side Sales 101: Stop Selling and Help Your Customers Make Progress

Why did I love this book?

Bob Moesta is one of the creators of the Job to be Done framework. Demand-Side Sales 101, however, is a lot more than a sales book. The book shows B2B founders how to understand the perceived value of their product, and how to position that value to drive demand on the market.

By Bob Moesta, Greg Engle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Demand-Side Sales 101 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It

Why did I love this book?

A lot of books talk about product positioning, but Obviously Awesome actually shows you how to position a product on the market. This is the most modern book on positioning available today. There are a lot of great models and actionable advice in this book. It was also written from a B2B perspective, which I love.

By April Dunford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You know your product is awesome—but does anybody else? Forget everything you thought you knew about positioning. Successfully connecting your product with consumers isn’t a matter of following trends, comparing yourself to the competition or trying to attract the widest customer base.

So what is it? April Dunford, positioning guru and tech exec, will enlighten you.

Her new book, Obviously Awesome, shows you how to find your product’s “secret sauce”—and then sell that sauce to those who crave it. Having spent years as a startup executive (with 16 product launches under her belt) and a consultant (who’s worked on dozens…

Book cover of Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup

Why did I love this book?

Bill Aulet is the managing director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. I was in his training program when I wrote Lean B2B. Disciplined Entrepreneurship is a great overview of the process of building a technology company in B2B. There’s a lot of great knowledge in this book including great advice on selecting a market and validating a business model.

By Bill Aulet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Disciplined Entrepreneurship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

24 Steps to Success! Disciplined Entrepreneurship will change the way you think about starting a company. Many believe that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, but great entrepreneurs aren t born with something special they simply make great products. This book will show you how to create a successful startup through developing an innovative product. It breaks down the necessary processes into an integrated, comprehensive, and proven 24-step framework that any industrious person can learn and apply. You will learn: * Why the F word focus is crucial to a startup s success * Common obstacles that entrepreneurs face and how to…

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