Before Your First Day at a Startup: 12 Must Read Books

startup must read booksYou already know how hard it is to transfer what you’ve learned in school to the a real world working environment. And nowhere is that more true in the start-up world, where everyone is expected to contribute from day one.

How do we gain the knowledge and necessary to thrive in a start-up right out of college? Where do we go for advice on how to be seen as a consistent contributor? How we know… what we don’t know?

To help answer those questions, Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) asked their members another question:

What is the best startup-related book to get a new hire on their first day?

Here’s their 12 must read books…


Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Peter-DaisymeZero to One helped inspire me to really stand out above the crowd and go above and beyond. We truly have to create a company that isn’t just doing what everyone else is doing. Going from zero to one takes a human that’s willing to test something that hasn’t been done before. We need more employees like that!”

-Peter Daisyme Invoicing


Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinmeier Hansson

Brittany-HodakRework, by Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinmeier Hansson, is required reading for all of our employees on their first days. It’s a fantastic book that helps break a lot of bad (read: corporate) habits, debunk myths and set the stage for an environment where people work smarter, not harder. It’s very likely the best book I’ve ever read for startups.”

-Brittany Hodak ZinePak


7 Principles to Live a Champion Life by John Di Lemme

Nicolas“With over 11,000 downloads and a 4.72 star rating, John Di Lemme’s book 7 Principles to Live a Champion Life is a terrific gift for a new hire. As it’s not business related it won’t seem like homework. In fact, it teaches its readers how to live a richer, more fulfilling life, which I firmly believe will positively impact your business.”

-Nicolas Gremion


The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Kelsey-Recht“I recommend that all new hires entering the startup world read Ben Horowitz’s book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, prior to their first day. It helps paint a new picture with the thrills and chills of the roller coaster journey we’re all riding together to achieve our business goals.”

-Kelsey Recht VenueBook


The Art of the Idea by John Hunt

Kim KaupeThe Art of the Idea by John Hunt helps to rid new employees of mental blocks they may have encountered over the years. The essence of a start up is about a fresh way of filling a void or solving a problem. Often ideas are bubbling up frequently and incorporate just as quickly. Allowing ideas to flow and flourish is an essential concept to learn in order to assimilate into a startup seamlessly.”

-Kim Kaupe ZinePak


Traction By Gabriel Weinberg

sathvik-tantryTraction is the user acquisition bible for startups. It walks through 19 different customer acquisition methods, explaining the costs and benefits of each method, and outlines a framework for determining which acquisition channels are most appropriate for growing your business.”

-Sathvik Tantry FormSwift


Smartcuts by Shane Snow

Firas-Kittaneh“To inspire your employees and encourage both professional and personal growth, I highly recommend ordering a copy of Smartcuts. In it, entrepreneur and media superstar Shane Snow illustrates how the most successful people in the world rose through the ranks as quickly and strategically as possible (and how you can too).”

-Firas Kittaneh AstraBeds


Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box by Arbinger Institute

Dan-Pickett“Getting things done is all about forming and improving relationships, especially in the workplace. This book takes a look at how we all deceive ourselves against doing what should come so naturally: serving and caring for others. Leadership and Self Deception teaches us how to avoid this behavioral flaw, and how to have deeper and more meaningful interactions with those we live and work with.”

-Dan Pickett Launch Academy


The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

Faraz-KhanThe Art of the Start, a classic in the start-up and business world, is a step-by-step playbook that focuses on what really matters in a startup without the fluff. I keep this book handy because it provides bulleted-style templates for many situations a startup faces like sales pitches, branding, product validation, pricing and bootstrapping.”

-Faraz Khan Go Direct Lead Generation


The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

Nicole-MunozThe Ultimate Sales Machine revolutionized the way I manage my time. Now I don’t just schedule deadlines, I schedule time to work on things. It taught me to map out my day and respect the calendar; to make a plan and then work the plan. Chet’s book also helped me realize that when saying “yes” to something, I was saying “no” to something else. Ultimately, it helped me prioritize and stay on track.”

-Nicole Munoz Start Ranking Now


The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

Cody_McClain“Anyone who creates or makes something in anyway is an artist, according to Seth Godin in The Icarus Deception. When do we grow a business just to make money? It’s important not to let the “job” blind you from the real purpose of your work. Growing a startup can be hard and downright stressful. This makes the importance of seeing your work as art, and yourself as the artist.”

-Cody McLain SupportNinja


Give and Take by Adam Grant

Jeff-Slobotsky“Adam Grant’s Give and Take is a must read for all. It’s jam packed with not only good business strategies, but good life strategies as well.”

-Jeff Slobotski Router Ventures





For this post, YouTern would like to thank our friends at Business Collective!

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