The best books to build a business worth running

The Books I Picked & Why

The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

By Guy Kawasaki, Lindsey Filby

Book cover of The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

Why this book?

As the subtitle says, there are few people who have the experience and expertise to write “The time-tested, battle-hardened guide for anyone starting anything.” Guy Kawasaki brings the right blend of easy-to-understand brand and business advice mixed with a foundation of ethics and generosity. If you only want one startup book in your library, this is the one.


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Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done

By Charlie Gilkey

Book cover of Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done

Why this book?

Anyone can quit their job in a moment of heat and passion, but few can sustain the process of entrepreneurship, and the rigor it requires. In Start Finishing, Charlie Gilkey lays out a method for getting work done in a way that is sustainable, repeatable, and enduring. He does not lay out standard (unhelpful) advice of “professionals hustle no matter what,” rather, he helps you to discern work worth doing, to set boundaries, and to sustain daily momentum.


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Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible

By Tamsen Webster

Book cover of Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible

Why this book?

Getting a potential customer to do anything like trust your advice, follow your work, or hire you to work with them requires, as Tamsen says, that you “make your idea irresistible.” And “the best way to make your idea irresistible,” she says, “is to build the story people will tell themselves about it.” Find Your Red Thread lays out this process in perfect detail, and with precise writing and humor that will keep you engaged the entire book.


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Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols

By Nancy Duarte, Patti Sanchez

Book cover of Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols

Why this book?

When your business begins to gain momentum and scale, you need to build both communication infrastructure and process to motivate your employees, partners, and customers. Drawing from decades of award-winning work at their firm Duarte, Nancy and Patti give creative, specific advice about how to be an inspiring and effective leader.


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The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World

By Dorie Clark

Book cover of The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World

Why this book?

Leading an enduring and evolving business requires the most delicate of skills: balancing the short-term pressure of quarterly sales, production deadlines, and staff challenges with a long-term vision to make sure your company and culture evolves. In The Long Game, Dorie teaches very specific ways to set goals, and develop what she calls the “strategic patience” to see them through. It is the antidote to the “sleep when you die” business culture lore.


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