Must-Read Tech Startup Books
As you build your tech startup from scratch it is helpful to learn from those who have walked the path before you. The books below are written by experts with knowledge and experience that can help you find success without the pitfalls of extreme failure.
Also Recommended: Check out our list of the best startup books.
1. ‘Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers’ by Geoffrey A. Moore
In “Crossing the Chasm,” Moore provides a comprehensive look into what it takes to bring innovative products to large markets. In the book, he outlines the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, which has been used by startups to understand and target their customers.
This is a must-read for any tech entrepreneur looking to market and sell their product to the masses. The book covers everything including innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. You'll receive lessons on how to market to all these segments to find success as well as dozens of real-life examples of failures and successes.
2. ‘Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love’ by Marty Cagan
Marty Cagan outlines exactly how an entrepreneur can take their tech product and turn it into a massive success. In “Inspired,” he shows how successful companies like Google, Facebook, and Tesla all design, develop, and deploy the products that change the world.
The book will teach you how to structure and staff a company with an innovative product. Chapters include topics like finding the right people, discovering the perfect product, creating a strong culture, and embracing a minimal and lightweight process. Companies large and small can all learn from Cagan's book and his personal stories along with the profiles of some of the most successful product managers in tech.
3. ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’ by Nir Eyal
With a deep look into the psychology behind some of the most successful products of all time, Nir Eyal's "Hooked"is a must-read for anyone looking to understand how to keep users coming back. He walks the reader through each step of his Hook Model which includes the trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.
You'll learn how these concepts can be applied to products like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. The book also includes interviews with product designers who have used the Hook Model to create successful products. The concepts in the book are created using Eyal's years of personal consulting, research, and practical experience.
4. ‘Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business’ by Mikkel Svane
An intimate look into the early days of Zendesk, “Startupland” is the story of Mikkel Svane's journey as he took his company from a small startup in Copenhagen to a public company with offices around the world. The story follows Svane and two of his colleagues as they built the company from the ground up.
Svane provides an inside look at what it takes to build and scale a successful tech startup. He talks about quitting secure and financially stable jobs to start Zendesk and how the three friends almost went completely broke over the course of their journey. Startupland helps to remove the myths often circulated about startup culture and provides a real look into what it actually takes.
5. ‘The Industries of the Future’ by Alec Ross
If anyone knows what the future of the tech industry looks like it is the former Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State. Alec Ros traveled to 41 different countries searching for the latest and greatest advances. In "The Industries of the Future,” Ross outlines what he thinks the future looks like for the most important industries.
This book is broken down into ten different sections discussing everything from robotics and cyber security to big data and genomics. You'll get a look at the technologies that are going to change the world as well as insights into how you can stay ahead of the curve. The Industries of Future is perfect for entrepreneurs who want to get a leg up on their competition.
Looking for more book recommendations? We asked startup founders to share their favorite books on entrepreneurship, and here's what they said.
6. ‘From Startup to Exit: An Insider's Guide to Launching and Scaling Your Tech Business’ by Shirish Nadkarni
From one founder to another, Shirish Nadkarni provides an insider's look into what it takes to launch and scale a tech startup. In “From Startup to Exit,” he covers everything from raising money and building a team to selling your company or taking it public.
Nadkarni draws on his experience from decades in the startup industry to help entrepreneurs get ready for what it takes to be successful. The book has excellent interviews with fellow successful tech entrepreneurs and gives insights into their journeys. The book is perfect for entrepreneurs who need a look behind the wall that separates their company from the ones who have already found success.
7. ‘User Friendly- How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play’ by Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant
Entrepreneurs who want a more in-depth history of how the economy has shaped into the tech-driven world of today will love “User-Friendly.” The book dives into how design has always been intertwined with society and business. it's the first time a story like this has been told and provides valuable insights into the tech entrepreneur's journey.
Kuang and Fabricant take the readers on a journey from early industrialization all the way to today's digital age. Along the way, you'll learn about how design has responded to changes in technology, economics, and culture. The book is a must-read for entrepreneurs who want to understand the origins of the tech industry and how it has come to shape the world we live in today.
8. ‘The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win’ by Steve Blank
Steve Blank produced a classic when he wrote “The Four Steps to the Epiphany.” In it, he provides a framework that startups can use to bring their products to market. The book is based on Blank's own experience as a serial entrepreneur and has helped launch some of the most successful companies in Silicon Valley.
“The Four Steps to the Epiphany” walks entrepreneurs through how to validate their product idea, build a team, and bring their product to market. The book has plenty of real-world examples on what to do, how to do it, and when to do it so that you aren't left picking up the pieces where the book leaves off.
9. ‘The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail’ by Clayton M. Christensen
Clayton M. Christensen forms an excellent viewpoint of great companies who fail not due to innovation that doesn't work but rather a lack thereof. As big companies get bigger they often fall prey to rejecting the exact innovative tech that got them there in the first place.
In “The Innovator's Dilemma,” Christensen uses the case study method to take a look at why companies fail. He then provides a framework that startups can use to avoid making the same mistakes. The book is essential reading for entrepreneurs who don't want to just find success but learn how to maintain it.
10. ‘Tech Simplified for PMs and Entrepreneurs’ by Deepak Singh
The most disruptive technologies are often convoluted and hard to understand. But as an entrepreneur, you can't afford to fall behind the curve. In “Tech Simplified for PMs and Entrepreneurs,” Deepak Singh breaks down the latest in tech so you can quickly get up to speed without all of the fluff.
The book is perfect for entrepreneurs who want a quick read on the latest in tech. Singh provides a high-level overview of the most important technologies, their applications, and how they can be used to benefit your business. The book is an easy read that will leave you feeling more informed and empowered to take on the challenges of the tech industry even if you don't know all the details.
What’s your favorite tech startup book? Let us know in the comments!