87 books like The Lean Startup

By Eric Ries,

Here are 87 books that The Lean Startup fans have personally recommended if you like The Lean Startup. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Melina Palmer Author Of What Your Customer Wants and Can't Tell You: Unlocking Consumer Decisions with the Science of Behavioral Economics

From my list on brainy branding that results in buying.

Why am I passionate about this?

The more I learn about the brain, the more I want to dig in and discover more. Why do we procrastinate? Why do people buy things? Why do some people love unlocking these topics weekly on The Brainy Business podcast (where each person on this list has been a guest) and sharing those insights with the world? When it comes to selling and buying in a brainy way, behavioral economics is the best way to get there, and these books are all a great first step into learning what behavioral science is, how the brain really works, and up-leveling your brand. 

Melina's book list on brainy branding that results in buying

Melina Palmer Why did Melina love this book?

No list on behavior, sales, and brand messaging would be complete without including Robert Cialdini on the list. Concepts like social proof, scarcity, and reciprocity are key for getting customers to buy in on your product or service before they even get to the buying moment.

If you are one of the millions of people who has already read Influence, his other book Pre-Suasion is amazing as well and so helpful for brands!

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The foundational and wildly popular go-to resource for influence and persuasion-a renowned international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold-now revised adding: new research, new insights, new examples, and online applications.

In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller, Robert Cialdini-New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion-explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don't have…


Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott Author Of Every Shot Must Have a Purpose: How GOLF54 Can Make You a Better Player

From my list on improving performance and growth.

Why we are passionate about this?

We have been coaching and learning about peak performance for four decades. To learn from playing golf ourselves, coaching others to play better, and continuously staying curious and learning from others is a mix that we want to keep alive. It’s not only to perform well that matters to us, but that we also grow as a human being. It’s about excellence and wellbeing. What skills, what culture, and what foundation can make that a possibility? Our deepest wish is for all of us to access our own unique possibilities to be good and happy. 

Pia and Lynn's book list on improving performance and growth

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott Why did Pia and Lynn love this book?

This book both confirmed and encouraged the best mindset to optimize growth. It’s about learning to create a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Studies have shown that it’s a better way to be successful and happy in life.

“Qualities can be nurtured; our potential is unknown, and failure does not define you. Deal with it, learn, and praise the process."

The main keys are that it’s all about learning, learning, learning…no matter what happens to you. “Yet” is a key word, and hard work is required to succeed. Setbacks are opportunities for growth.

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

15 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 Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Emily Guy Birken Author Of Making Social Security Work for You: Advice, Strategies, and Timelines That Can Maximize Your Benefits

From my list on changing the way you look at money.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was about 8, I remember taking all the money out of my piggy bank, counting it, and carefully putting it back in again. My sister called me Ms. Moneybags. But I wasn’t worried about accumulating money. I was fascinated by money’s pure potential. I could do anything with it! From that early interest in the potential of money, I grew to be an avid reader of financial books–and that led to a surprise career as a money writer. I still love to think about money’s potential and the best ways to allocate that potential, and I love to bring my readers with me on the fascinating journey.

Emily's book list on changing the way you look at money

Emily Guy Birken Why did Emily love this book?

As of 2023, behavioral economics is no longer a surprising new look at old economics principles–but that doesn’t change just how entertaining, surprising, and challenging you will find the experiments detailed in Predictably Irrational. 

In one notable experiment, Dr. Ariely placed six-packs of soft drinks next to plates of cash inside of communal dorm fridges–to prove we tend to be honest about cash but feel no compunction about swiping someone else’s Coke. In another memorable experiment, male volunteers were asked moral questions when they were in a state of arousal–which helped prove that morals are flexible depending on the circumstances. 

Reading this book will make you realize just how often you make decisions–especially financial decisions–that are weird, illogical, and irrational.

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…


Book cover of The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

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 like this book because it’s based on mining quantitative data on almost ten thousand founders, not only anecdotal experience.

There is a lot of debate about the importance of co-founders and not trying to ‘go it alone.’ According to Noam, 65 percent of startups fail because of co-founder conflict. I find that super interesting, and it emphasizes why, if you want success, you’ve got to pick your co-founder(s) wisely. The same is true of the management team as well of course. 

By Noam Wasserman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Founder's Dilemmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder's Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team. Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman…


Book cover of Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance on You

Patrick J. McGinnis Author Of The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

From my list on for part-time entrepreneurs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. In fact, I was happy in corporate life. But when my job in corporate America blew up, I realized that I need to rethink my entire approach to building my career and my life. The result of these efforts is The 10% Entrepreneur. Over the past decade, I have integrated entrepreneurship into my life on a part-time basis, reaping meaningful financial and psychic rewards in the process. In the process, I have taught hundreds of thousands of others that entrepreneurship does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

Patrick's book list on for part-time entrepreneurs

Patrick J. McGinnis Why did Patrick love this book?

This is a compelling and fast-paced read about how you can develop a compelling pitch that will convince people to back you. Whether you are looking for investors, customers, business partners, or employees, knowing how to pitch your ideas in a compelling way is absolutely essential. This book dives deep into that challenge with tons of ideas and advice.

By Suneel Gupta, Carlye Adler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This remarkable book can be your secret weapon for bringing your idea to life.' DAN PINK, bestselling author of Drive

'Whether you want to get ahead inside a company or build a startup from the ground up, this fascinating book is a must-read.' REID HOFFMAN, co-founder of LinkedIn

'A super-readable and actionable look at how to make your ideas take flight. Whether you're pitching a brand new startup or an idea for your company's next product, you'll find a wealth of insights and stories throughout.'
MIKE KRIEGER, co-founder of Instagram

No one makes it alone. But there's a reason why…


Book cover of Why Startups Fail: A New Roadmap for Entrepreneurial Success

Patrick J. McGinnis Author Of The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

From my list on for part-time entrepreneurs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. In fact, I was happy in corporate life. But when my job in corporate America blew up, I realized that I need to rethink my entire approach to building my career and my life. The result of these efforts is The 10% Entrepreneur. Over the past decade, I have integrated entrepreneurship into my life on a part-time basis, reaping meaningful financial and psychic rewards in the process. In the process, I have taught hundreds of thousands of others that entrepreneurship does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

Patrick's book list on for part-time entrepreneurs

Patrick J. McGinnis Why did Patrick love this book?

As a professor at Harvard Business School, Eisenmann has taught a generation of entrepreneurs how to launch and scale businesses. He has then watched as some of these promising businesses fail. This book explores the 6 major patterns of failure in entrepreneurial ventures, shows how they play out in the real world, and gives you the tool to avoid a similar fate.

By Tom Eisenmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you want your startup to succeed, you need to understand why startups fail.

“Whether you’re a first-time founder or looking to bring innovation into a corporate environment, Why Startups Fail is essential reading.”—Eric Ries, founder and CEO, LTSE, and New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way

Why do startups fail? That question caught Harvard Business School professor Tom Eisenmann by surprise when he realized he couldn’t answer it.

So he launched a multiyear research project to find out. In Why Startups Fail, Eisenmann reveals his findings: six distinct patterns that account for the…


Book cover of Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive

Patrick J. McGinnis Author Of The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

From my list on for part-time entrepreneurs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. In fact, I was happy in corporate life. But when my job in corporate America blew up, I realized that I need to rethink my entire approach to building my career and my life. The result of these efforts is The 10% Entrepreneur. Over the past decade, I have integrated entrepreneurship into my life on a part-time basis, reaping meaningful financial and psychic rewards in the process. In the process, I have taught hundreds of thousands of others that entrepreneurship does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

Patrick's book list on for part-time entrepreneurs

Patrick J. McGinnis Why did Patrick love this book?

So many entrepreneurs work endless hours without finding a way to monetize their work. They achieve success on paper, but don’t actually reap the financial benefits. This book provides a roadmap to monetize your talents in a number of ways – from building your brand to figuring out how to get people to pay for your services. 

By Dorie Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What does it take to create the career you want?

It's no secret that the world of work has changed, and we're shifting toward an ever more entrepreneurial, self-reliant, work-from-wherever-you-are economy. That can be a liberating force, and many professionals dream of becoming independent, whether by starting their own businesses, becoming consultants or freelancers, or developing a sideline.

But there's a major obstacle professionals face when they contemplate taking the leap: how to actually make money doing what they love. You may have incredible talent and novel ideas, but figuring out how to get started, building your reputation in a…


Book cover of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

Peter S. Goodman Author Of How the World Ran Out of Everything: Inside the Global Supply Chain

From my list on globalization breaks down what happens next.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the New York Times' Global Economics Correspondent. Over the course of three decades in journalism, I have reported from more than 40 countries, including a six-year stint in China for the Washington Post and five years in London for the Times. I have ridden with truck drivers from Texas to India, visited factories and warehouses from Argentina to Kenya, and explored ports from Los Angeles to Rotterdam.

Peter's book list on globalization breaks down what happens next

Peter S. Goodman Why did Peter love this book?

Like any student of globalization, I love this book because it focuses like a laser on how a single critical innovation—the development of the shipping container—effectively shrank the oceans, accelerated the pace of sea cargo, and made it possible for consumers to depend on faraway factories.

It is a truly seminal work.

By Marc Levinson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Box as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that made the boom in global trade possible. The Box tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about. But the container didn't just happen. Its adoption required huge sums of money, both from private investors and from ports that aspired to be on the leading edge of a new…


Book cover of Rich Dad Poor Dad

David Pere Author Of The No B.S. Guide to Military Life: How to build wealth, get promoted, and achieve greatness

From my list on service members who want to achieve financial freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2008 and by 2015 I was a Sergeant who had made all the same financial decisions most service members make…tattoos, alcohol, cars, chasing tail, etc., and had a negative net worth to show for it. Then I read Rich Dad Poor Dad and the light came on. I started buying houses, and by 2021 I exited the military as a financially free millionaire and spend my time helping service members and veterans learn how to build wealth. The military is one of the best places to set yourself up for success, and these books will help you get started on that journey!

David's book list on service members who want to achieve financial freedom

David Pere Why did David love this book?

Rich Dad Poor Dad is the book that changed the trajectory of my life forever.

It is a parable that explains the difference between the traditional way of thinking “Go to school, get a good job, work hard, retire” with the entrepreneur mentality, and the concepts of utilizing passive income to replace your job at an earlier age.

I love this book because it takes the normally boring subject of finance and investing and breaks it down in a fun and easy way to learn so that you will actually finish the book and have the ability to experience that light-switch moment! 

Without a doubt this is the most commonly mentioned book that I hear referenced on podcasts as “the book that started it all”.

By Robert T. Kiyosaki,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Rich Dad Poor Dad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's been nearly 25 years since Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad first made waves in the Personal Finance arena.
It has since become the #1 Personal Finance book of all time... translated into dozens of languages and sold around the world.

Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert's story of growing up with two dads his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains…


Book cover of The E-Myth Revisited

Denise Brinkmeyer Author Of Project Orienteering: A Field Guide For Project Leadership

From my list on servant leaders who get things done.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the oldest child, and former teacher turned technology innovator. As the only girl, growing up with three brothers gave me the tenacity to overcome limiting beliefs. Information technology has helped me create an environment where I can help a lot of people. At the end of the day, what I love most is helping someone turn an idea into a tangible solution while motivating team members to see the beauty and joy in this type of service.  

Denise's book list on servant leaders who get things done

Denise Brinkmeyer Why did Denise love this book?

I read this book in 2007 as my life was headed toward significant change as a business owner.

Before I became a partner in the business that my husband and I now own, we were tired of working for someone else, tired of fighting to steer the company in the right direction, and tired of feeling exploited as the only people generating significant revenue for the company. We had even explored buying a Smoothie King franchise and walking away from the business where we had invested so much time and energy.

Michael Gerber took us on a journey that helped us understand where we truly were on our adventure and how much we thrived on creating experiences for our customers. While we are not creating franchises for our business, the advice helped us develop systems in the operation, which greatly improved our success.

By Michael E. Gerber,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The E-Myth Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

E-Myth \ 'e-,'mith\ n 1: the entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs 2: the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work Voted #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs. An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get…


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