Top Books for Developing Startup Ideas
Coming up with your own startup idea might not be easy, but the books below come from some of the most experienced experts in startup culture. Use the advice from each one to help you secure that perfect idea that will help you make your mark on the entrepreneurial world.
Also Recommended: Check out our list of the best startup books.
1. ‘Zero to One’ by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
Peter Thiel is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his generation, and his contributions to PayPal and Facebook have helped to make him a billionaire. In “Zero to One”, he shares his thoughts on what it takes to build a successful startup.
Thiel believes that the key to success is to find an idea that is truly unique — something that is “zero to one.” He also emphasizes the importance of building a great team to help bring your vision to life. Thiel believes the progression of technology over the years has only influenced a small portion of our world and that anyone, anywhere, has the ability to come up with a disrupting startup idea.
2. ‘Will It Fly?’ by Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn is well-known in the world of entrepreneurship and has built a successful online business, including blogs, podcasts, and high-level courses. In his book, he takes the reader through a step-by-step process to validate any business idea before investing time and money into it.
Flynn emphasizes the importance of testing your ideas with potential customers before taking the plunge. He also provides useful tips on how to get feedback from people who might not be familiar with your product or service.
You'll get a full breakdown of how to validate your business idea to ensure success through five different parts. In “Will It Fly,” you'll get a crash course on aligning targets with your goals, uncovering unseen details, assessing market conditions, validating ideas, and final analysis.
3. ‘The Business Idea Factory’ by Andrii Sedniev
Andrii Sedniev may not be as well-known as some of the other authors on this list, but his book “The Business Idea Factory” is packed full of helpful advice from the world's best thinkers.
From scientists to artists, the book takes the reader through a process of developing business ideas based on 10 years of interviews and research from Sedniev. The book contains plenty of wisdom based on the people he has interviewed and will increase your ability to come up with quality and quality business ideas.
Sedniev also provides helpful advice on how to assess the feasibility of your ideas and how to take them from concept to reality.
4. ‘Disrupt You!: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation’ by Jay Samit
Jay Samit is no stranger to creating successful startups and has had his own share in starting and selling successful companies. In “Disrupt You!,” he provides readers with the tools they need to identify opportunities and turn them into successful businesses.
The book is based on Samit's own experience as an entrepreneur and provides helpful advice on how to find your niche, how to raise capital, and how to scale your business. His own experience has helped him traverse rough economic times in a variety of industries like digital video, social media, mobile communications, and software industries.
Samit also provides helpful case studies from some of the most successful startups to show how they have used disruption to their advantage. You'll find stories from Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and more.
5. ‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries
“The Lean Startup” is a book by Eric Ries that was first published in 2011. The book focuses on the concept of the lean startup, which is a methodology for startups to reduce the risk of failure. The idea behind the lean startup is to test your ideas as quickly as possible and to get feedback from your customers.
Ries provides helpful advice on how to validate your ideas, how to build a minimum viable product, and how to get feedback from your customers. In addition, you'll get an in-depth analysis of how to become more capital efficient and leverage the untapped mine of human creativity more effectively.
This book is packed full of helpful tips and scientific experimentations in order to shorten your product cycles and measure your progress along the way. Instead of wasting all your time in the planning stage, Ries teaches you how to take action and quickly.
Looking for more book recommendations? We asked startup founders to share their favorite books on entrepreneurship, and here's what they said.
6. ‘Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days’ by Jake Knapp
There is no guessing when it comes to understanding how long Jake Knapp believes it will take you to validate your business idea. In “Sprint,” he walks the reader through a step-by-step process of how to conduct customer interviews, how to create prototypes, and how to test your ideas.
The book provides helpful tips on how to get feedback from customers, how to find the right people to interview, and how to create prototypes that accurately reflect your ideas. You'll also get a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the world's most successful startups have used the sprint method to validate their ideas.
If you're looking for a book that will help you validate your business idea quickly, then “Sprint” is the book for you. You'll be learning the exact process Knapp used while working at Google, where he helped in the progression of Google Search and Google X.
7. ‘The Creative's Guide to Starting a Business: : How to turn your talent into a career’ by Harriet Kelsall
Not all successful entrepreneurs start out as savvy business people. There are many artists, designers, and creatives who have turned their passion into a successful business. In “The Creative's Guide to Starting a Business,” Harriet Kelsall provides helpful advice on how to turn your creative passion into a successful business.
Kelsall walks the reader through the process of starting a business, from registering your company to finding funding and marketing your business. You'll also get helpful tips on how to manage your finances, how to find the right team to help you, and how to scale your business.
If you're a creative who is looking for helpful advice on how to start your own business, then this book is for you. Kelsall's experience as a successful jeweler and business owner makes her the perfect person to guide you through the process of starting your own business.
8. ‘Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers’ by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
"Business Model Generation" is a book by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur that teaches entrepreneurs how to come up with great business ideas. The book covers different business models and provides a toolkit for creating your own. It's a great resource for anyone who wants to start their own business or improve an existing one.
Those who learn through visuals will appreciate the 470 business model canvas that is provided based on information from practitioners in 45 different countries. You'll learn common business modal patterns and understand how to systematically design and implement your game-changing business idea.
9. ‘The Mom Test’ by Rob Fitzpatrick
Moms are stereotypically thought of as the biggest supporters of their children, but it often skews their ability to be critical. In “The Mom Test,” Rob Fitzpatrick helps entrepreneurs understand how to communicate their business ideas to others in a way that will get them on board and will get valuable feedback.
The book provides a framework for creating and testing your elevator pitch so that you can make sure you're getting the right feedback from the right people. You'll also learn how to talk about your business in a way that doesn't turn people off and how to get feedback that will actually help you improve your business.
10. ‘Start Something That Matters’ by Blake Mycoskie
Blake Mycoskie may not have a well-known name, but his company is one of the fastest-growing footwear companies in the world. Toms Shoes was started with a simple idea: to give away a pair of shoes for every pair sold.
In “Start Something That Matters,” Mycoskie shares the story of how he came up with the idea for Toms and how he turned it into a reality. He also provides readers with practical advice on how to start their own business that makes a difference. You'll learn how to turn your passion into a business, how to build a brand that people love, and how to make a difference in the world.
11. ‘The $100 Startup’ by Chris Guillebeau
Chris Guillebeau is perhaps best known for his travels as he has visited every single country in the world. In order to do so, he needed to come up with ideas and ways to make money that no one else would consider. His dedication allowed him to travel the entire world where others struggle to even get out of their comfort zones.
In “The $100 Startup,” Guillebeau shares his story and provides readers with a roadmap for starting their own business with very little money. He also includes case studies of people who have been successful in doing so. You'll learn how to validate your idea, how to find your first customers, and how to get started with very little money.
12. ‘Slam: Build your startup idea or early stage business with the Startup Launch Assistance Map’ by Jon Warner
If you're short on time trying to get your startup running but still want practical advice that’s easy to follow, then “Slam” by Jon Warner is the book for you. The “Startup Launch Assistance Map” provides entrepreneurs with a step-by-step guide to launching their businesses.
Warner also includes resources and templates that you can use to make sure you're on the right track. The book is broken up into two different sections, including a validation stage and the executing stage. Both include eight straightforward steps that any entrepreneur can follow on their way to scaling their business idea.
13. ‘Where to Play’ by Marc Gruber and Sharon Tal
Maybe you don't have any issue coming up with the next big innovation, but it keeps falling on deaf ears. In “Where to Play,” you'll learn exactly how to find the right market for your product or service.
Gruber and Tal provide readers with a framework for evaluating different markets so that you can make sure you're entering a market that is ready for your product. You'll also learn how to assess your competition and what it takes to be successful in a particular market. This book is perfect for entrepreneurs who have a great idea but don't know where to start implementing it.
14. ‘48-Hour Start-up’ by Fraser Doherty MBE
The problem with most startups and coming up with a perfect idea is they spend too much time in the research and planning phase. In “48-Hour Start-up” by Fraser Doherty, you'll learn how to get your business up and running in just 48 hours.
Doherty provides entrepreneurs with a step-by-step guide that includes everything from coming up with your idea to launching your product. He also includes case studies of people who have been successful in following his method.
15. ‘The Startup Owner's Manual’ by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
Finding a book that can help you come up with the best startup idea so that you don't waste time and money can be difficult. In “The Startup Owner's Manual,” you can rest assured you'll find practical advice you can use; even the National Science Foundation uses it to help startups they fund.
Steve Blank is a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and together with Bob Dorf, he has created the standard startup bible. The book takes you through every single step of starting your own company so you can increase your chances of success.
16. ‘Testing Business Ideas’ by Alexander Osterwalder and David Bland
In this book by Alexander Osterwalder and David Bland, you'll learn how to take your business idea and test it before you waste time and money building something no one wants.
You'll learn how to validate your idea with customers, how to create a minimum viable product, and how to get feedback from early adopters. “Testing Business Ideas” is essential reading for any entrepreneur who is running a lean startup and needs validation before wasting time and money.
What’s your favorite book on startup ideas? Let us know in the comments!