There are so many lessons to learn when it comes to starting your business and reading is a fantastic way to get insight into other people’s experiences and expertise.

We spoke to the start-up community about the best non-fiction books that have helped them with their businesses recently. Hopefully this list can help you navigate the shelves next time you are seeking inspiration.

  1. Growth Hacker Marketing – Ryan Holiday
    Times are a-changing! ‘Growth hackers have thrown out the old playbook and replaced it with tools that are testable, trackable, and scalable.’ This book is full of fascinating studies of brands and small businesses that are exploring the future of PR, Advertising and Marketing, and its new rules.
  2. Founders at Work – Jessica Livingston
    A collection of interviews with founders of technology companies like Apple, Flickr, Hotmail and PayPal about the early days and where they started. ‘This book is the closest you can come to being a fly on the wall at a successful startup, to learn how it’s done.’
  3. Start With Why – Simon Sinek
    Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Simon Sinek’s TED talk on the same topic is the third most popular TED talk of all time.
  4. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
    The one we preach daily! A concept of validated learning and rapid prototyping which enables entrepreneurs and companies to shift and change easily and cheaply.
  5. Originals – Adam Grant
    ‘Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor.’
  6. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
    This New York Times #1 Bestseller discusses the attitudes, approaches and habits to living creative and motivated lives, offering insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration.
  7. The Startup Owners Manual – Steve Blanks
    Step-by-step instructions guiding you to build successful, scalable, profitable startups. Extremely practical information, graphs, diagrams and exercises that heavily influenced the Lean Startup movement.
  8. Win Without Pitching Manifesto – Blair Enns
    A small 12 step manifesto you can follow to improve client relationships, sell your idea and beat the competition.
  9. Ready to Soar – Naomi Simson
    Founder of Red Balloon and one of the five ‘Sharks’ on Shark Tank, Naomi Simpson shows you how to develop your brilliant idea into a thriving business. The Australian entrepreneur shares her personal experiences alongside advice on mentoring, coaching and success.
  10. Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently – Beau Lotto
    World-renowned neuroscientist Beau Lotto explores human perception and how it works and ‘shows that the next big innovation is not a new technology: it is a new way of seeing.’
  11. Space Barons – Christian Davenport
    A tale about the commercial space race currently taking part in the US. Exploring how private entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos put everything on the line to sue NASA and take on Congress in a bid to end the monopoly on rocket contracts and allow startup commercial entities to compete.
  12. The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson
    The way you think impacts the way you process information and dictates how you make you choices each day. The Slight Edge explores a way of thinking that turn small disciplines into happiness and success.
  13. Ways of Seeing – John Berger
    First published in 1972, John Berger has been said to have a profound influence on the popular understanding of art and the visual image. This collection of essays, both in written and visual form is one of the most famous and stimulating books on art which will change the way you view the world.

What has been then most helpful non-fiction book you have read? Share with us at #CBRIN.

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