95 books like The Monk and the Riddle

By Randy Komisar, Kent Lineback,

Here are 95 books that The Monk and the Riddle fans have personally recommended if you like The Monk and the Riddle. 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 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 Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Michael D. Watkins Author Of The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking: Leading Your Organization Into the Future

From my list on books for aspiring strategic thinkers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have devoted my career to helping leaders navigate challenging transitions into new roles, build their teams, and transform their organizations. Strategic thinking is a key foundation of my work as an executive coach and advisor at Genesis Advisers and a professor at the IMD Business School. Whether executives are taking new roles or driving large-scale transformations, they must be able to rapidly analyze the context, craft good visions and strategies, and mobilize people to realize them. I try to equip the leaders I work with with the mental frameworks, tools, and skillsets to adapt and succeed in the first 90 days and beyond.

Michael's book list on books for aspiring strategic thinkers

Michael D. Watkins Why did Michael love this book?

I liked that this book highlighted how supposedly tried-and-true approaches to innovation fail to deliver results.

The book’s insights about how to drive radical innovation informed the advice I now give executives about how to approach organizational transformation, starting with an ambitious vision, communicating the “why,” and enlisting great people to go on the journey with them.

It helped me to understand that building organizations to develop disruptive technologies requires leaders to envision things that may sound crazy until they are realized. 

By Peter Thiel, Blake Masters,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Zero to One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What Valuable Company Is Nobody Building? The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren't learning from them. It's easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there. "Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how". (Elon…


Book cover of The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

Lou Lomas Author Of The Bad Habit Kicker

From my list on start your day off right.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m just an ordinary person who’s struggled with their own habits and compulsions. My fear and anxiety led me to read many self-help books over the last thirty-something years, and a lot of them helped me to firmly believe that if you start your day in the best way you can, then there’s no limit to the things that you can achieve!

Each of the books I’ve recommended has given me simple tools to help me do just that. Ultimately, I know they inspired me to create the Bad Habit Kicker system. I truly believe they can all help others optimize their lives and become the best versions of themselves!

Lou's book list on start your day off right

Lou Lomas Why did Lou love this book?

If you’ve ever felt the pull of resistance, and the frustration of knowing that there’s something that you really want to do, but then that little voice in your head steps up and stops you, then this book will 100% help you. It explains a very easy way of short-circuiting that discussion.

It’s another simple idea, which is what makes it so powerful and helpful. And if you enjoy listening to podcasts, Mel now has an excellent one, "The Mel Robbins Podcast," which you can find on all platforms.

By Mel Robbins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The 5 Second Rule as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

National Bestseller!

As seen on The Today Show!

How to enrich your life and destroy doubt in 5 seconds.

Throughout your life, you've had parents, coaches, teachers, friends and mentors who have pushed you to be better than your excuses and bigger than your fears. What if the secret to having the confidence and courage to enrich your life and work is simply knowing how to push yourself?

Using the science of habits, riveting stories and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business, Mel Robbins will explain the power of a "push moment."…


Book cover of Not Your Job: Discover the surprising way to save time, avoid burnout, and do what you love forever

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 like this book because it’s very complementary to Peter Thiel’s book.

It emphasizes how to make yourself the focus of your “zero to one” effort.

Too many entrepreneurs burn out before they go the distance, usually because they’re exhausted and frustrated trying to manage their employees and all the tasks associated with the business.

Brantley, a successful entrepreneur, proposes a new approach that gets entrepreneurs out of micromanaging (which they tend to do) by leveraging the time and talent of their best people.

I tend to get myself into the weeds on things that are important to me (like a business), and this book helped me see what I was doing before I did any real damage.

I think you’ll feel like he wrote the book for you. No fluff, just great advice and tools you can actually use.

By Pierce Brantley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not Your Job as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Soul of an Entrepreneur: Work and Life Beyond the Startup Myth

Derek Lidow Author Of The Entrepreneurs: The Relentless Quest for Value

From my list on most truthful about how entrepreneurship works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had the unique experience of having been a successful CEO of a global publicly traded semiconductor company, a founder and CEO of an innovative and valuable startup, and now as a teacher and scholar of entrepreneurship and innovation. I’m a Professor of the Practice at Princeton University where I teach and write about being a successful entrepreneur. My three books on the subject are: Startup Leadership: How Savvy Entrepreneurs Turn Their Ideas Into Successful Enterprises; Building on Bedrock: What Sam Walton, Walt Disney, and Other Great Self-Made Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us About Building Valuable Companies; and THE ENTREPRENEURS: The Relentless Quest for Value

Derek's book list on most truthful about how entrepreneurship works

Derek Lidow Why did Derek love this book?

David Sax spent more than a year on the road, living with a handful of real live entrepreneurs. We get to know these people, what their days are like, what their families are like, their stresses and their joys—ultimately what it feels like to be an entrepreneur. You’ll feel like a voyeur, but you’ll ultimately empathize with what these entrepreneurs do what they do as well as the challenges they constantly face. The book is a page-turner.

By David Sax,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Soul of an Entrepreneur as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We all know the story of the latest version of the American Dream: a young innovator drops out of college and creates the next big thing, remaking both business and culture in one fell swoop. We are told these stories constantly, always with the idea that we'll be next.But this story masks a lot about what really goes on in our economy. Most new businesses aren't tech startups; they are what we think of as ordinary: restaurants or dry cleaners or freelance writing or accounting or consulting services. And those who are starting new businesses aren't all millennials. In fact,…


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 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…


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 Invention: A Life

Tom Gilb Author Of Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage

From my list on learning successful invention and business methods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a self-taught guy, having started in my first job at IBM Oslo, when I was 18 years old, as punched card machine operator, and plug-board ‘programmer'. I did night studies in sociology/philosophy for 10 years at University of Oslo. I read about 30 books a year, and I’m 82 in 2023. I have spent most of my career as an independent international consultant to corporations and governments, while building up my ideas of useful methods to solve problems. In retirement, I love to spread my ideas, and learn more. I also write about 5 new books a year, when at my Oslofjord Summer cabin. They're all digital and free or free samples. 

Tom's book list on learning successful invention and business methods

Tom Gilb Why did Tom love this book?

My father was an inventor. That is what is says on his tombstone. Over 100 patents.

His products today in building supply shops and in real buildings. And some crazy inventions that did not make him famous, but he had fun with.

So I guess I have a born sympathy for the lone inventor, who against many odds, manages to do interesting useful work and industrialise it successfully. This is not about Dyson, but written by himHopefully he will inspire the next generation of inventors.

By James Dyson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dyson has become a byword for great design, brilliant invention and global success. Now, James Dyson, the entrepreneur who made it all happen, tells his remarkable and inspirational story in Invention: A Life of Learning through Failure.

'By continually challenging ourselves, investing in the future and experimenting, we can continue to make the future. We must never stop. Never, for one second become comfortable.' James Dyson

In this spirited autobiography, James Dyson interweaves his own life story with a wider exploration of the importance of invention. On the way, the reader encounters challenging and inspirational characters, radical inventions, adventurous engineering,…


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