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Books you should read for start-up success

Whether analogue or digital, light-hearted or deadly serious, books are a super-accessible and affordable way for start-up founders to get advice and inspiration.

There are literally thousands of titles about starting a small business, launching a start-up, making deals and everything else in-between out there. They spell out the blunders others have made and provide real-world insight.

Five Australian entrepreneurs share the books they recommend for start-up success.

Mark Jordan, founder of Sydney-based start-up Aglo – a crowdsourced shopper platform that helps brands get their products to stand-out on the supermarket shelf – has three picks.

Scott Pape

The Barefoot Investor is published by John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd.

The first is the widely acclaimed title by Scott Pape, The Barefoot Investor, “because you need to shepherd your finances and live frugally while all your cash goes into starting your business,” says Jordan.

Jordan also likes The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, which he says provides a “science-fiction illustration of the entrepreneurial mindset and how to pass it on to your children.”

Diamond Age book

Diamond Age is published by Bantam Spectra.

Lastly is The $100 Startup by US author, blogger and speaker Chris Guillebeau about “doing a start-up with a very light footprint”.

Rob Deutsch, an ex-equities trader who co-founded cult fitness brand F45 in 2011, enjoys reading about “people’s stories”.

“From things like Phil Knight and Steve Jobs’ incredible, meteoric rises, to athletes like Michael Jordan and Anthony Joshua… I love the inspiration and uniqueness,” says Deutsch.

Culture Code book

The Culture Code is published by Penguin Random House.

Tobi Skovron, the CEO of Melbourne co-working business CreativeCubes.Co, which has sites in Cremorne and Hawthorn, says while he’s not a big reader, he does recommend Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle.

Kristina Benkotic Ellul, co-founder of Networkish, a contact management and prospecting app, says Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is a go-to.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

How To Win Friends and Influence People is published by Simon & Schuster.

“It’s an oldie but a goodie. It teaches the fundamental principles in communication and becoming an amazing leader,” says Benkotic Ellul.

Louise Fisher, a designer and founder of Cocoloco, a co-working space in Bendigo, in regional Victoria, recommends The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, for its “easy-to-understand advice.”

Lean Startup

The Lean Startup is published by Crown Publishing Group.

“I also think Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is essential reading for all women – not just entrepreneurs,” says Fisher.


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