90 books like Making Silicon Valley

By Christophe Lecuyer,

Here are 90 books that Making Silicon Valley fans have personally recommended if you like Making Silicon Valley. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Book cover of VC: An American History

William H. Janeway Author Of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Reconfiguring the Three-Player Game between Markets, Speculators and the State

From my list on venture capital and the economics of innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

After receiving my doctorate in Economics at Cambridge University, I embarked on a 35-year sabbatical as a venture capitalist focused on information technology. I learned about the critical role that the American state had played by sponsoring the computer industry. When the "Dotcom Bubble" of the late 1990s grossly overpriced my companies, because I had written my PhD thesis on 1929-1931 when the Bubble of the Roaring Twenties exploded, I had seen the movie before and knew how it ended. I returned to Cambridge determined to tell this saga of innovation at the frontier and the strategic roles played by financial speculation and the state in funding economic transformation."

William's book list on venture capital and the economics of innovation

William H. Janeway Why did William love this book?

I value this book as a comprehensive history of high-risk investing in America, from the Whaling Industry to Silicon Valley. 

Nicholas reveals the extraordinary skew and persistence in investment returns: a small number of investors are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the gains, and this holds true across widely varying institutional structures and technological domains.

And he explores the intimate relationship between the rise of the IT and Biotech industries and support from the U.S, Government. 

By Tom Nicholas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A major exploration of venture financing, from its origins in the whaling industry to Silicon Valley, that shows how venture capital created an epicenter for the development of high-tech innovation.

VC tells the riveting story of how the industry arose from the United States' long-running orientation toward entrepreneurship. Venture capital has been driven from the start by the pull of outsized returns through a skewed distribution of payoffs-a faith in low-probability but substantial financial rewards that rarely materialize. Whether the gamble is a whaling voyage setting sail from New Bedford or the newest startup in Silicon Valley, VC is not…


Book cover of The Power of Creative Destruction: Economic Upheaval and the Wealth of Nations

William H. Janeway Author Of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Reconfiguring the Three-Player Game between Markets, Speculators and the State

From my list on venture capital and the economics of innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

After receiving my doctorate in Economics at Cambridge University, I embarked on a 35-year sabbatical as a venture capitalist focused on information technology. I learned about the critical role that the American state had played by sponsoring the computer industry. When the "Dotcom Bubble" of the late 1990s grossly overpriced my companies, because I had written my PhD thesis on 1929-1931 when the Bubble of the Roaring Twenties exploded, I had seen the movie before and knew how it ended. I returned to Cambridge determined to tell this saga of innovation at the frontier and the strategic roles played by financial speculation and the state in funding economic transformation."

William's book list on venture capital and the economics of innovation

William H. Janeway Why did William love this book?

Philippe Aghion has been one of the pioneers in the development of “Schumpeterian Growth Theory” to model the process of Creative Destruction” that drives technological innovation and economic growth. This is an accessible presentation of the dynamics of the model and the observable consequences in the real world.  

I have found it essential for teaching my course on Venture Capital and the Economics of Innovation.

By Philippe Aghion, Celine Antonin, Simon Bunel , Jodie Cohen-Tanugi (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Power of Creative Destruction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hayek Book Prize Finalist
An Economist Best Book of the Year
A Foreign Affairs Best Book of the Year
A Financial Times Summer Reading Favorite

"Sweeping, authoritative and-for the times-strikingly upbeat...The overall argument is compelling and...it carries a trace of Schumpeterian subversion."
-The Economist

"[An] important book...Lucid, empirically grounded, wide-ranging, and well-argued."
-Martin Wolf, Financial Times

"Offers...much needed insight into the sources of economic growth and the kinds of policies that will promote it...All in Washington would do well to read this volume carefully."
-Milton Ezrati, Forbes

Inequality is on the rise, growth stagnant, the environment in crisis. Covid seems…


Book cover of Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World

William H. Janeway Author Of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Reconfiguring the Three-Player Game between Markets, Speculators and the State

From my list on venture capital and the economics of innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

After receiving my doctorate in Economics at Cambridge University, I embarked on a 35-year sabbatical as a venture capitalist focused on information technology. I learned about the critical role that the American state had played by sponsoring the computer industry. When the "Dotcom Bubble" of the late 1990s grossly overpriced my companies, because I had written my PhD thesis on 1929-1931 when the Bubble of the Roaring Twenties exploded, I had seen the movie before and knew how it ended. I returned to Cambridge determined to tell this saga of innovation at the frontier and the strategic roles played by financial speculation and the state in funding economic transformation."

William's book list on venture capital and the economics of innovation

William H. Janeway Why did William love this book?

The theoretical work of Aghion and his colleagues is complemented by Breznitz's empirical examination of how a disparate set of innovative economies actually function and of the alternative bases for the competitive achievements. 

I discovered Dan Breznitz's fieldwork on innovation first from his book on China, The Run of the Red Queenand then his comparative analysis of the different paths along which Israel, Taiwan, and Ireland moved from peasant levels of development to the technological frontier. He provides an essential complement to the more theoretical analysis of Aghion and his colleagues.

By Dan Breznitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Innovation in Real Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A challenge to prevailing ideas about innovation and a guide to identifying the best growth strategy for your community.

Across the world, cities and regions have wasted trillions of dollars on blindly copying the Silicon Valley model of growth creation. Since the early years of the information age, we've been told that economic growth derives from harnessing technological innovation. To do this, places must create good education systems, partner with local research universities, and attract innovative hi-tech firms. We have lived with this system for decades, and the result is clear: a small number of regions and cities at the…


Book cover of Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States

William H. Janeway Author Of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Reconfiguring the Three-Player Game between Markets, Speculators and the State

From my list on venture capital and the economics of innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

After receiving my doctorate in Economics at Cambridge University, I embarked on a 35-year sabbatical as a venture capitalist focused on information technology. I learned about the critical role that the American state had played by sponsoring the computer industry. When the "Dotcom Bubble" of the late 1990s grossly overpriced my companies, because I had written my PhD thesis on 1929-1931 when the Bubble of the Roaring Twenties exploded, I had seen the movie before and knew how it ended. I returned to Cambridge determined to tell this saga of innovation at the frontier and the strategic roles played by financial speculation and the state in funding economic transformation."

William's book list on venture capital and the economics of innovation

William H. Janeway Why did William love this book?

Jon Levy provides a hugely creative account of American history through the evolution of its distinctive institution, capitalism.

He relates the unstable dynamics of financial markets to the waves of investment in real capital incorporating innovative technologies and never loses sight of the tension between power accumulated and expressed in markets and the distribution of political power, always attentive to how the former can take over control of the latter.

Levy’s work has enriched my own understanding of this contested history.

By Jonathan Levy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ages of American Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A leading economic historian traces the evolution of American capitalism from the colonial era to the present—and argues that we’ve reached a turning point that will define the era ahead.

“A monumental achievement, sure to become a classic.”—Zachary D. Carter, author of The Price of Peace

In this ambitious single-volume history of the United States, economic historian Jonathan Levy reveals how capitalism in America has evolved through four distinct ages and how the country’s economic evolution is inseparable from the nature of American life itself. The Age of Commerce spans the colonial era through the outbreak of the Civil War,…


Book cover of The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur

Kathleen Allen Author Of Entrepreneurship For Dummies

From my list on inspiring you to get off your butt and start a business.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a real passion for entrepreneurship, so much so that I married an entrepreneur and produced two children who became entrepreneurs. During my 25 years as a professor in the Greif Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Southern California, one of the top programs in the U.S., I had the privilege of inspiring and mentoring hundreds of new entrepreneurs. I found my passion in technology businesses. I had the business skills needed to help scientists and engineers raise funding, bring their inventions to market, and build their companies. I managed to start and run four ventures of my own as well as write several books about entrepreneurship.

Kathleen's book list on inspiring you to get off your butt and start a business

Kathleen Allen Why did Kathleen love this book?

I absolutely love this book! It’s an easy read, reads like a novel, but it’s packed with very valuable lessons on entrepreneurship, venture capital, and leadership.

The story is told through a conversation between a venture capitalist (Komisar) and two young entrepreneurs who are planning to start a business for all the wrong reasons. It’s humorous, touching, and very entertaining. I laughed a lot.

In the end, you learn that a business needs much more than nuts and bolts. It needs heart and soul.

Equally as important as what you learn about startups, the story will teach you how to avoid the Deferred Life Plan, putting off what you want to do, and instead live your life with passion.

By Randy Komisar, Kent Lineback,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book describes how one Silicon Valley insider has blazed a path of professional - and personal - success playing the game by his own rules. Silicon Valley is filled with garage-to-riches stories and hot young entrepreneurs with big ideas. Yet even in this place where the exceptional is common, Randy Komisar is a breed apart. Currently a "Virtual CEO" who provides "leadership on demand" for several renowned companies, Komisar was recently described by the "Washington Post" as a "combined professional mentor, minister without portfolio, in-your-face investor, trouble-shooter and door opener." But even more interesting than what he does is…


Book cover of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Scott Greenberg Author Of Stop the Shift Show: How to Turn Your Struggling Hourly Workers Into a Top-Performing Team

From my list on managing employees and building teams.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated with the relationship between personal growth and professional performance. Why is it in the same environment, doing the same work, some people can excel while others struggle? Most chalk it up to external circumstances that can’t be controlled. Others focus on tactics. But I’ve learned top-performers are masters at the human side of their work–the way they think, lead and serve–and that’s what gives them their edge. All of my work centers around infusing hard skills with improved soft skills, and getting better results in the process. That’s the stuff I find delicious, and it’s what I speak and write about.

Scott's book list on managing employees and building teams

Scott Greenberg Why did Scott love this book?

What I loved about this book was its very systemized approach to evaluating and improving an organization.

I’m interested in the human elements of business, and this book places great emphasis on aligning the right people with the right roles, totally gelling with my philosophy. It simplifies the process of strategic planning. EOS has become quite common in the business world, and this book spells out exactly how to move through it.

Really good stuff here. 

By Gino Wickman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you? All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations--personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It's not complicated or theoretical.The Entrepreneurial Operating System(R) is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 2,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do. In Traction, you'll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You'll discover simple yet…


Book cover of It's About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage

Ruchika Tulshyan Author Of Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work

From my list on change your mind about success.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in an immigrant household where success was defined by how much money you made and your individual progress. But I’ve always been fascinated by social change as the measure of collective success. As a former business journalist, I was most inspired by leaders who were creating opportunities for overlooked communities. I now advise organization leaders on how to create more inclusive and diverse organizations by rethinking the measure of success purely from the profit perspective. That’s why I wrote Inclusion on Purpose. These books have helped me transform my definition of success. I hope you’re catalyzed to action by these books!

Ruchika's book list on change your mind about success

Ruchika Tulshyan Why did Ruchika love this book?

How great would the story of an inspiring, successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist be if it was about a Black, gay, formerly unhoused woman who is building the next hundred million dollar company?

That’s exactly who Arlan Hamilton is, and with gems like “I pattern match for grit” about her investing strategy, I couldn’t put this book down. It redefines the idea that successful entrepreneurs only come from elite Ivy League institutions or build legacies in their parents’ garages. 

By Arlan Hamilton, Rachel L. Nelson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It's About Damn Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A hero’s tale of what’s possible when we unlock our potential, continue the search for knowledge, and draw on our lived experiences to guide us through the darkest moments.”—Stacey Abrams

From a Black, gay woman who broke into the boys’ club of Silicon Valley comes an empowering guide to finding your voice, working your way into any room you want to be in, and achieving your own dreams.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FORTUNE

In 2015, Arlan Hamilton was on food stamps and sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco airport, with nothing but…


Book cover of Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs

Uri Adoni Author Of The Unstoppable Startup: Mastering Israel's Secret Rules of Chutzpah

From my list on startup entrepreneurs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love innovation! In today’s world, a lot on the innovation is coming from startups who are challenging the status quo and the existing solutions, and trying to offer a new product or service. Being a venture capitalist for many years, I’ve seen thousands of motivated entrepreneurs as well as highly innovative startups, but unfortunately most of them fail. The books I recommend, all share advice from highly experienced and successful entrepreneurs, enabling new entrepreneurs to learn from their experience. These books are not theoretical ones but rather very practical, so any entrepreneur can adopt operational advice as well as an entrepreneurial mindset that has proven to lead to success. 

Uri's book list on startup entrepreneurs

Uri Adoni Why did Uri love this book?

Uri Levine is an amazing serial entrepreneur.

He founded numerous successful startups, and Waze is probably the most famous one. Uri shares his vast entrepreneurial experience, in a practical, straight forward and smart manner. He touches upon every aspect of building and running a startup - all the way from addressing the problem you want to solve, recruiting the right people, fund raising, scaling globally and more.  

By Uri Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unicorns—companies that reach a valuation of more than $1 billion—are rare. Uri Levine has built two.

And in Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution, he shows you just how he did it.

As the cofounder of Waze—the world’s leading commuting and navigation app with more than 700 million users to date, and which Google acquired in 2013 for $1.15 billion—Levine is committed to spreading entrepreneurial thinking so that other founders, managers, and employees in the tech space can build their own highly valued companies.
 
Levine offers an inside look at the creation and sale of Waze and…


Book cover of Good Company

Brian Unell Author Of Everyday Leadership: You Will Make A Difference

From my list on leadership you can use at home, work, and in life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a recovering Big 5 consultant and healthcare administrator, while others portray me as a transformational healthcare executive who has a passion for cultivating talent and driving change to enable sustainable results. I am a visionary and collaborative team builder and servant leader who views issues/opportunities from all perspectives, turns data into information, the complex into simple, and chaos into focus. I have led transformational consulting projects, a $180M technology implementation, and a team of 1,500 people. I enjoy serving on non-profit boards, mentoring others, and co-leading a team of four at home with my wife, Hilary.  

Brian's book list on leadership you can use at home, work, and in life

Brian Unell Why did Brian love this book?

In Good Company, Arthur Blank, one of the founders of Home Depot, shares his views on leadership, hiring, his biggest mistakes, and how creating a culture of putting the customer first in everything you do can drive tremendous business results, brand loyalty, and customer satisfaction. 

Pick it up to understand how 2” can make a massive difference.

By Arthur M Blank,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A WALL STREET JOURNAL AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER

Featuring an introduction by President Jimmy Carter

The Home Depot cofounder and owner of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and MLS's Atlanta United shares a vision and a roadmap for values-based business.

Arthur M. Blank believes that for good companies, purpose and profit can-and should-go hand in hand. And he should know. Together with cofounder Bernie Marcus, Blank built The Home Depot from an idea and a dream to a $50 billion-dollar company, the leading home improvement retailer in the world. And even while opening a new store every 42 hours, they never…


Book cover of How to Be a Founder: How Entrepreneurs can Identify, Fund and Launch their Best Ideas

Simon Court Author Of Founder's Legacy: 50 Game-Changing Leadership Lessons for Building a Great Business

From my list on books for founders trying to be in the 10% of businesses that succeed.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the last 25 years, I have been a coach to business founders, leaders, and leadership teams. My work has taken me to every continent from my base in London. A lot of my work is done behind closed doors, but I have been instrumental in building two unicorns in the last decade. I’m a founder myself and have always been fascinated by what it takes to succeed as a founder. I have a powerful conviction that learning to lead is the heart of it. The books I love are either based on real-world research or deeply practical and based on hands-on experience. Practice trumps theory every time in my world!

Simon's book list on books for founders trying to be in the 10% of businesses that succeed

Simon Court Why did Simon love this book?

I know the work that Entrepreneur First does and some young founders who have benefitted from their work and built successful businesses. This book is read by the founders as they talk about entrepreneurship, the start-up phase and co-founding.

I found the sections on understanding and using your ‘edge’ especially interesting, and this leads to some smart thinking about how to choose the right co-founder. The book stops at the point where the business is about to take off; keep that in mind.

By Alice Bentinck, Matt Clifford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Be a Founder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*WINNER OF THE STARTUP/SCALEUP BUSINESS BOOK AWARD 2023* An essential guide to equip the next generation of founders with the mindset and tools they need to take the leap to become globally successful entrepreneurs. Featuring a foreword by Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, this fascinating handbook inspires potential founders and provides essential guidance and advice for people who want to create their own start-up and build a successful company. This book answers the question "how do I get started?" It takes the reader from making the decision to plunge into entrepreneurship, through the process of choosing and developing an idea…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in entrepreneurs, military–industrial complex, and California?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about entrepreneurs, military–industrial complex, and California.

Entrepreneurs Explore 297 books about entrepreneurs
Military–Industrial Complex Explore 7 books about military–industrial complex
California Explore 381 books about California