Best Business Books for Start-Ups & Growing A Business

Image Credit — Fondos Gratis, ebookfriendly.com

01 BUSINESS STRATEGY

1)What Is Strategy? — HBR Article by Michael Porter(The best one)

  • I’ve read several business cases — I could see that every successful business has displayed Porter’s principles.
  • Targeting non-customers was one of the highlights of this book.
  • A G Lafley covers everything about the strategy — from user research to finding value proposition to porter’s principles with case studies. Olay Rebranding was a wonderful case study that I have covered in one of my articles.
  • Another book along the lines of ‘Playing To Win’ and ‘Porter’s Principles’. He explained things differently with examples from war.
  • Need to have long-term thinking for your business/brand.
  • Mainly for Jobs To Be Done — It helps in discovering the right value proposition(A critical part).
  • When we generate new ideas, we use Alex’s Business Model to determine the business feasibility of the idea. The map shows how the product will earn, how much resources(external and internal) it needs, communication channels, expenditures, and so on. It saves a lot of time.

02 POSITIONING STRATEGY

1)Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

  • The book was first published in 1981. Positioning is an essential part to succeed in business. If you mess it up, you are doomed. And, Customer-centric thinking is a critical part of positioning your product.
  • A G Lafley and Roger Martin cover Positioning Strategy under ‘Where To Play.’
  • Aaker has got tonnes of knowledge about brands. I have read three of his books. It’s worth the read.

03 GENERATING IDEAS

1)Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative‑Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko.

04 BUILDING LOYAL CUSTOMERS

A) INTEGRATING HABIT-FORMING ELEMENTS INTO PRODUCT/SERVICE

1)Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal.

B)EMOTIONAL BRANDING & STORYTELLING

1)Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands To People by Marc Gobé.

05 LAUNCHING MULTIPLE PRODUCTS/BRANDS

1)Brand Portfolio Strategy: Creating Relevance, Differentiation, Energy, Leverage, and Clarity by David Aaker.

06 INFLUENCING PEOPLE

1)How to win friends and influence people. How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie.

07 MARKETING/PRODUCT DESIGN

A) MARKETING AND PROMOTION

1)Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition Book by David Newman.

B) LEVERAGING BIASES AND HEURISTICS

1)Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

C) TO INCREASE PRODUCT ADOPTION RATE/IDEA SPREAD

1)Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers.

D) STORYTELLING AND IMPACTFUL PRESENTATIONS

1)Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte.

08 RUNNING A STARTUP

1)The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

09 BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS

1)Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton.

10 LEADING A BUSINESS OR COMPANY

1)Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?: Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround by Lou Gerstner.

11) BUILDING A CULTURE

1)Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

12 CONSUMER/HUMAN BEHAVIOR

(For Product Design, Marketing, and Building An Organizational Culture)

13 HOW NOT TO RUN A COMPANY OR STARTUP

1)Business Adventures by John Brooks.

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