10 Books for Founders, by Founders

Here's your summer reading list

Hey y’all — most books about startups are bad.

You know why?

They weren’t written by actual founders.

There are notable exceptions (The Innovator’s Dilemma is a personal favorite) but for the most part the best startup advice comes from founders.

This shouldn’t be controversial.

The problem is that founders are often too busy building to bother writing books.

But when they do, they’re essential reads.

This week I’ve put together a summer reading list of 10 books for founders, written by founders.

10 Books for Founders, by Founders

Peter Thiel shares his thoughts on how to create something unique and valuable, avoiding competition by building businesses that are genuinely innovative.

First-principles thinking, monopolies, and more. This is a personal favorite.

Most people don’t know this but Y Combinator’s co-founder, Jessica Livingston, wrote a book.

It captures the early days of some well known startups through interviews with their founders. It’s a pretty candid read.

Ben Horowitz’s first book — it’s filled with his personal stories and the lessons he took from them. His journey was more tumultuous than a lot of people realize.

As a result, his advice is pretty no-nonsense.

Ignore the Alex Hormozi fanboys for a second and actually read this book.

Most founders don’t even think in terms of their “offer” — Hormozi gets it, though. A masterclass in positioning and modern growth.

Ryan Breslow’s had his ups and downs in the last few years, namely with his 1-click checkout startup Bolt running into issues, but this is the most commonly recommended book on fundraising from founders I chat with.

It’s a quick read but he pretty openly shares his strategies for raising (and he’s raised a lot).

Elad Gil’s advice for scaling is very actionable and practical — this is a good read before you get the scaling stage so that you’re prepared for it.

Hiring, managing growth, new challenges… it covers everything.

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