Startup Books for Beginners

If you're not familiar with startups, the amount of resources to learn about them can be overwhelming. The Internet can make it hard to navigate new subjects because the useful stuff is usually scattered across various blogs, videos, and articles, so I like to turn to books. 

A single book can't capture everything that goes into building a new company, but I've found a few books that serve as a solid starting point.

The Story of on Entrepreneurial Life

Shoe Dog

Phil Knight


In his autobiography, Nike founder, Phil Knight, recounts the challenges faced in the creation of what is now the largest apparel company in the US. The story given by Knight is a prototypical founder story. He openly describes the euphoria, anxiety, pride, and remorse that he experienced in building one of business's biggest successes. 

A Philosopher's Take on Big Ideas

Zero to One

Peter Thiel


Peter Thiel has earned the nickname "The Godfather of Silicon Valley." A successful entrepreneur and investor, Thiel taught a couple of courses on startups and innovation at Stanford. One of his students published notes on his blog, and he and Thiel later converted the notes into a book. Zero to One doesn't give technical explanations on how to start a company. Instead, it explores why new companies are created and what it means to truly innovate.

An Analysis of Tough Structural Decisions

The Founder’s Dilemmas

Noam Wasserman


Based on a decade of quantitative and qualitative research on startups, this book explores some of the important decisions a founder has to make about the structure of their startup, such as how to split equity with cofounders, whether to take on debt, and when to hire executives. While the book is more dense than other books on startup management, it does a great job of introducing concepts that might be pitfalls for first-time founders.