Struggling with what to buy the entrepreneur in your life? Never fear, because we’ve put together a list of the top ten books that may satisfy even the pickiest of readers on your list. Ranging from biographies to business bibles and even a couple of self-improvement guides, we found them intriguing and perhaps you will too!
1. Business Adventures – John Brooks
This business classic written by longtime New Yorker contributor John Brooks is an insightful and engaging look into corporate and financial life in America.
What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur all have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety.
These notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.
2. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution – Steven Levy
A mere fifteen years ago, computer nerds were seen as marginal oddballs, outsiders whose world would never resonate with the mainstream. That was before one pioneering work documented the underground computer revolution that was about to change our world forever.
With groundbreaking profiles of Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club, and more, Steven Levy’s Hackers brilliantly captured a seminal moment when the risk-takers and explorers were poised to conquer twentieth-century America’s last great frontier. And in the Internet age, the hacker ethic-first espoused here-is alive and well.
3. Founders at Work – Jessica Livingston
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days is a collection of interviews with the founders of now famous technology companies regarding what was happening with the companies in their very earliest days. The companies are now huge and several of their founders are now household names. What was it like when they were just a couple friends with an idea? Founders like Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail) tell you in their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build and run a company.
4. The Facebook Effect – David Kirkpatrick
Veteran technology reporter David Kirkpatrick had the full cooperation of Facebook’s key executives in researching this fascinating history of Facebook and its impact on our lives. Kirkpatrick tells us how the company was created, why it has flourished and where its future is heading. He chronicles its successes and missteps, giving readers a well-rounded assessment of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the central figure in the company’s remarkable ascent. This is the Facebook story that can’t be found anywhere else.
5. The Startup Game – William H. Draper
Entrepreneurs drive the future and the last several decades have been a thrilling ride of astounding, far-reaching innovation. But behind this transformative progress are also the venture capitalists – who are at once the investors, coaches and allies of the entrepreneurs. William H. Draper III knows this story first-hand, because as a venture capitalist, he helped write it.
6. #GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso
At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal (it sounds worse than it is), a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and ardent fans for its leading-edge fashion and beguiling online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS.
This aspirational book isn’t patronizing in any way as Amoruso shows its readers how to channel passion and hard work, while keeping their personal insecurities from getting in the way of success. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work.
7. Accidental Empires – Robert X. Cringely
After cars, energy production and illegal drugs, computer manufacturing is the largest industry in the world, and it’s one of the last great success stories in American business.
Accidental Empires is the trenchant, vastly readable history of that industry, focusing as much on the astoundingly odd personalities at its core–Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mitch Kapor amongst others and the hacker culture they spawned as it does on the remarkable technology they created.
8. Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely
Why do our headaches persist after taking a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a 50-cent aspirin?
Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?
Why do we go back for second helpings at the unlimited buffet, even when our stomachs are already full?
When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we’re in control. We think we’re making smart, rational choices. But are we?
In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.
9. The Start-Up of You – Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
A blueprint for thriving in your job and building a career by applying the lessons of Silicon Valley’s most innovative entrepreneurs.
The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are sky-high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over and traditional job security is a thing of the past.
Here, LinkedIn cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world. The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.
10. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
From best-selling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs’ professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs’ family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.