100 books like Why Startups Fail

By Tom Eisenmann,

Here are 100 books that Why Startups Fail fans have personally recommended if you like Why Startups Fail. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Shelle Rose Charvet Author Of Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence

From my list on books for nice people to be more persuasive.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not many people know that I was so timid as a child; I used to burst into tears if I had to ask for something in a store. Now, I am known for my “out there” presentation style and mastery of words. Since 1982, I have been working with individuals and groups to help them get better at persuading, solving conflicts, and having inspiring relationships. So, how can you be a nice, caring person and still be persuasive, even with the most skeptical of people? These books helped me do this.

Shelle's book list on books for nice people to be more persuasive

Shelle Rose Charvet Why did Shelle love this book?

It’s weird to recommend this book to get better at persuading. But if I had read it before presenting new ideas, I would have saved thousands of dollars in development costs and shortened the time it took to persuade others to back me. His main idea is “The minimum viable product.”

So, instead of spending too much time and money developing my idea before talking to anyone, trying to make it perfect, I showed a 2-slide mockup of the idea to a friend, who said “I would NEVER use this. It takes up too much time. I just want something quick and dirty to help me write a persuasive email.” Wow! Her comment blew my mind and prevented me from spending a fortune on an impractical tool.

By Eric Ries,

Why should I read it?

7 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 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING SENSATION

'The Lean Startup changes everything.' - Harvard Business Review

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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 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 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 Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster

Gojko Adzic Author Of Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects

From my list on for new software product managers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a software developer turned independent software vendor, learning about product management as a way to launch more successful products. I’m a co-founder of MindMup, a popular collaboration tool used by millions of students and schoolchildren worldwide, and Narakeet, an innovative video maker for people who are not video professionals. The books from this list helped me create successful products that users love, and successfully compete with companies that have several orders of magnitude more staff and resources. 

Gojko's book list on for new software product managers

Gojko Adzic Why did Gojko love this book?

Other books will teach you to focus on outcomes, but then the next question is what kind of outcomes are worth focusing on. This is where Lean Analytics comes in. The real gem from this book is the model of Five Stages of Growth, suggesting a typical progression of outcomes that product managers should follow when growing a product from an idea to a marketplace winner. It’s an invaluable thinking tool for new and experienced product managers alike. In addition, the book documents what kind of metrics various successful products tracked throughout growth, and provides some amazingly useful reference values for key business metrics for different categories of software products.

This book is great as an introduction to business metrics for new product managers, focusing specifically on software products. I recommend reading this before any other metrics book, as it’s very practical and relatable.

By Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whether you're a startup founder trying to disrupt an industry or an intrapreneur trying to provoke change from within, your biggest challenge is creating a product people actually want. Lean Analytics steers you in the right direction. This book shows you how to validate your initial idea, find the right customers, decide what to build, how to monetize your business, and how to spread the word. Packed with more than thirty case studies and insights from over a hundred business experts, Lean Analytics provides you with hard-won, real-world information no entrepreneur can afford to go without. Understand Lean Startup, analytics…


Book cover of Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley

Rupert Scofield Author Of Default to Bold:  Anatomy of a Turnaround

From my list on learning how to survive as an entrepreneur.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rupert Scofield is the President & CEO of a global financial services empire spanning 20 countries of Latin America, Africa, Eurasia and the Middle East, serving millions of the world’s poorest families, especially women. Scofield has spent the better part of his life dodging revolutions, earthquakes and assassins in the Third World, and once ran for his life from a mob in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Rupert's book list on learning how to survive as an entrepreneur

Rupert Scofield Why did Rupert love this book?

Alex Lazarow is one of those rare people who can observe things taking place around the world and package them for us in a way we can comprehend that an important change in the way things used to be done is taking place, and if we want to keep up we need to pay attention.  The change Alex sees is in the way start-ups are happening and companies are being structured.  Whereas investors and entrepreneurs alike used to try to create “unicorns” – i.e., companies that “disrupted” an existing sector with little capital investment and could scale from thousands to millions in sales in less than a year, and IPO the next year to achieve a market cap of billions – Alex thinks the future is with “Camels”, which do not try to scale recklessly to achieve a gigantic short term payday but rather try to build something that is…

By Alexandre Lazarow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The new playbook for innovation and startup success is emerging from beyond Silicon Valley--at the "frontier."

Startups have changed the world. In the United States, many startups, such as Tesla, Apple, and Amazon, have become household names. The economic value of startups has doubled since 1992 and is projected to double again in the next fifteen years.

For decades, the hot center of this phenomenon has been Silicon Valley. This is changing fast. Thanks to technology, startups are now taking root everywhere, from Delhi to Detroit to Nairobi to Sao Paulo. Yet despite this globalization of startup activity, our knowledge…


Book cover of How to Have a Happy Hustle: The Complete Guide to Making Your Ideas Happen

Tom Cheesewright Author Of Future-Proof Your Business

From my list on helping you take control of your future.

Why am I passionate about this?

The future is the one thing in which we are all invested. In order to shape the future we must be able to visualise possibilities, prepare for consequences, and take action. My job is to help companies, charities, and governments to see and prepare for the future. But so many of the lessons that I find myself trying to teach to leaders have their parallels in our personal and working lives - including mine. In a time of great uncertainty about the future, we all must take time out to picture where we’re going, make choices about our direction, and invest in ourselves to achieve our dreams.

Tom's book list on helping you take control of your future

Tom Cheesewright Why did Tom love this book?

People are re-evaluating work right now, and looking for something beyond the salary.

This book is one of the best guides to help you find something that might both make you money and make you happy.

It’s clear and helpful, upbeat but also very honest about what is required to turn a passion into a business.

By Bec Evans,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**WINNER OF THE STARTUP INSPIRATION CATEGORY OF THE 2020 BUSINESS BOOK AWARDS**

'It's impossible to read this book without being inspired and energised ... Essential reading for any start-up or entrepreneur, at any stage of the journey.' - Alison Jones, Host of The Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast and author of This Book Means Business

'Genuinely fresh and jargon-free' - Financial Times

How to Have a Happy Hustle shares the secrets of innovation experts and startup founders to help you make your ideas happen.

If you're looking for fulfilment outside the day job, have an idea but don't know where…


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

Pamela Slim Author Of The Widest Net: Unlock Untapped Markets and Discover New Customers Right in Front of You

From my list on to build a business worth running.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a 25-year business coach, I have often assigned clients the task of wandering through a book store and acting like a heat-guided missile, letting themselves notice what topics and books they are naturally drawn to. For me, even as a liberal arts major with no entrepreneurial experience when I started my consulting business 25 years ago, I was always drawn to the business, psychology, and entrepreneur section. The world of work is my playground, and I am fascinated by how to help people build a powerful body of work while sustaining themselves financially and having a deep quality of life. 

Pamela's book list on to build a business worth running

Pamela Slim Why did Pamela love 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.

By Guy Kawasaki, Lindsey Filby (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of the Start 2.0 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC BESTSELLING GUIDE TO LAUNCHING AND MAKING YOUR NEW PRODUCT, SERVICE OR IDEA A SUCCESS.
'The ultimate entrepreneurship handbook' - Arianna Huffington
Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, small-business owner, intrapreneur, or not-for-profit leader, there's no shortage of advice on topics such as innovating, recruiting, fund raising, and branding. In fact, there are so many books, articles, websites, blogs, webinars, and conferences that many startups focus on the wrong priorities and go broke before they succeed.
The Art of the Start 2.0 solves that problem by distilling Guy Kawasaki's decades of experience as one of the most hardworking and irreverent…


Book cover of See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem Into a Breakthrough Success

Paul A. Swegle Author Of Startup Law and Fundraising for Entrepreneurs and Startup Advisors

From my list on startup success from someone with startup wins.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked with startups since 2000, when I joined ShareBuilder, ultimately sold to Capital One in a $9.5 billion deal – one of my five successful startup exits to date. I am currently an officer of seven startups. Startups drive global job creation and problem-solving innovation. But 90% fail, often for preventable reasons. I am helping entrepreneurs beat those odds. I wrote Startup Law and Fundraising to help entrepreneurs build on a solid foundation, avoid common legal and regulatory mistakes, and fund their vision. My books are used globally in law and MBA schools, and I speak constantly on entrepreneurship-related topics, including recently to groups in Istanbul, Ramallah, and Tehran. 

Paul's book list on startup success from someone with startup wins

Paul A. Swegle Why did Paul love this book?

See, Solve, Scale provides a proven three-part framework for entrepreneurial success called the “See, Solve, Scale Entrepreneurial Process.” Author Danny Warshay has been a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Brown University for 15+ years. Previously, after earning his Harvard MBA, Warshay spent time in brand management at Procter & Gamble, followed by several years launching, growing, and exiting startups in software, advanced materials, consumer products, and media. 

See, Solve, Scale unpacks key concepts from Warshay’s Brown University course on entrepreneurship. Warshay has also taught these concepts internationally to entrepreneurship organizations, private companies, non-profits, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations. His teachings have broad applicability to solving all types of problems and improving the functioning and results of almost any kind of organization, not just startups. 

Key lessons in the book include the importance of bottom-up research, being anthropological and empathetic and finding and validating an unmet need or problem to solve, recognizing…

By Danny Warshay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspired by Brown University's beloved course - The Entrepreneurial Process - Danny Warshay's See, Solve, Scale is a proven and paradigm-shifting method to unlocking the power of entrepreneurship.

The Entrepreneurial Process, one of Brown University's highest-rated courses, has empowered thousands of students to start their own ventures. You might assume these ventures started because the founders were born entrepreneurs. You might assume that these folks had technical or finance degrees, or worked at fancy consulting firms, or had some other specialized knowledge. Yet that isn't the case. Entrepreneurship is not a spirit or a gift. It is a process that…


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

Étienne Garbugli Author Of Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want

From my list on for B2B startup founders.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Étienne's book list on for B2B startup founders

Étienne Garbugli Why did Étienne 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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