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10 Must-Read Books for Running a Successful Business

• 15 min read
• 4 Jan 2023
Starting and managing a business can be a daunting and overwhelming task, with a plethora of things to consider and decisions to make. It's not uncommon to feel lost and uncertain of the next steps to take. That's where our top 10 book recommendations come in. These books offer valuable advice, insights, and strategies to help you navigate the business world and successfully run your own enterprise. From establishing effective habits to discovering your purpose, these books cover a variety of topics essential for business success. We have personally utilized these books in building WeLoveNoCode, which has now generated over $3 million in annual recurring revenue. If you're seeking guidance on your entrepreneurial journey, these books are an excellent resource to consult.
Atomic Habits
by James Clear
October 16, 2018
About
"Atomic Habits" by James Clear is a self-help guide that teaches readers how to form good habits and break bad ones in order to make small, incremental changes that lead to significant improvements over time. It focuses on setting clear goals, establishing an environment conducive to good habits, and using cues and rewards to trigger and reinforce desired behaviors. The book also covers the role of mindset and motivation in shaping habits and offers strategies for overcoming common obstacles to habit formation. With a mix of practical advice and real-life examples, "Atomic Habits" seeks to provide readers with the tools needed to make positive changes in their lives and reach their goals.
How it helped us?
It helped us by providing practical strategies and techniques for building good habits and breaking bad ones, with the goal of making small, incremental improvements that add up to significant changes over time. The book emphasizes the importance of setting clear goals, creating an environment that supports good habits, and using cues and rewards to trigger and reinforce desired behaviors. It also discusses the role of mindset and motivation in shaping habits, and offers techniques for overcoming common obstacles to habit formation. By applying the principles and techniques outlined in the book, readers may be able to make positive changes in their lives and achieve their goals.
For whom?
For anyone who is looking to make positive changes in their life and habits. It provides practical advice and strategies for building good habits and breaking bad ones, with the goal of helping readers make small, incremental improvements that add up to significant changes over time. The principles and techniques outlined in the book can be applied by people from all walks of life and in various contexts, including personal and professional development, health and wellness, and relationships.
“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”
"Atomic Habits" author
James Clear
High Output management
Andrew Grove
1983
About
"High Output Management" is a business management book written by Andrew Grove, the former CEO of Intel. The book discusses the principles and practices that Grove used to build Intel into a successful and innovative company, and provides practical advice for managers on how to increase the productivity and output of their organizations. The book covers topics such as setting goals and priorities, measuring and improving performance, managing teams and individuals, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. It emphasizes the importance of adapting to change and making effective use of technology and data to drive progress. Overall, "High Output Management" is a comprehensive guide for managers looking to increase the productivity and output of their organizations.
How it helped us?
It helps us to increase the productivity and output of WeLoveNoCode by providing practical advice and strategies for improving performance, managing teams and individuals, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
Here is our main learnings from this book:
  • Setting clear goals and priorities: Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, and to prioritize tasks and projects based on their potential impact and value.
  • Measuring and improving performance: Use data and metrics to track progress and identify areas for improvement, and offer strategies for setting and achieving performance targets.
  • Fostering a culture of continuous improvement: It's crucially important to adapt to change and continuously seek ways to improve processes and practices.
For whom?
"High Output Management" is particularly helpful for managers who want to implement new systems and processes or improve the performance of their teams and organizations. The book offers practical advice and strategies for increasing productivity and output, including guidance on setting goals and priorities, measuring and improving performance, managing teams and individuals, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. It is applicable to a wide range of business settings and industries, and may be a valuable resource for managers looking to drive progress and success in their organizations.
"The output of a company is determined by the rate at which it can create value for its customers."
"High Output Management" author
Andrew Grove
Hard Things about Hard Things
Ben Horowitz
March 4, 2014
About
"The Hard Thing About Hard Things" is a business management book written by Ben Horowitz, co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The book is based on Horowitz's experiences as a technology entrepreneur and CEO, and provides practical advice for leaders facing difficult and challenging situations in business. The book covers topics such as making tough decisions, managing conflict, and building and leading teams, and offers insights into the mindset and strategies that are necessary for success in the face of adversity. "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" is intended for business leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs looking to develop the skills and resilience they need to navigate difficult situations and achieve their goals.
Our main learnings:
  • Being decisive and making tough decisions is an essential part of being a leader.
  • Effective communication is crucial for managing conflict and building strong teams.
  • Building and leading effective teams requires a combination of hiring and retaining top talent, creating a positive culture, and setting clear goals and expectations.
  • Developing resilience and mental toughness is important for navigating difficult situations and bouncing back from setbacks.
  • Embracing and learning from failure can be an important part of the process of growth and improvement.
  • It is important to focus on the long-term health and success of a business, rather than just short-term gains.
For whom?
"The Hard Thing About Hard Things" can help business leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs develop the skills and resilience they need to navigate difficult and challenging situations in business. The book is based on the experiences of Ben Horowitz, co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and offers practical advice and insights into the mindset and strategies that are necessary for success in the face of adversity.
Good management is about finding the right balance between preserving and promoting your company culture and adapting to new circumstances.
"Hard Things about Hard Things" author
Ben Horowitz
Zero to One
Peter Thiel
September 16, 2014
About
"Zero to One" is a business and entrepreneurship book written by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir Technologies. The book is based on Thiel's experiences as an entrepreneur and investor, and provides practical advice for building successful businesses and creating value. It focuses on the importance of innovation and the value of creating something new and unique, rather than simply copying or improving upon existing ideas. The book covers topics such as identifying and pursuing business opportunities, creating and protecting intellectual property, and building and leading effective teams. It is intended for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone interested in building a successful company.
Our main learnings:
  • Innovation and creating something new and unique are key to building a successful business.
  • It is important to identify and pursue business opportunities that have the potential to create significant value.
  • Intellectual property is a valuable asset that can be used to protect and differentiate a business.
  • Building and leading effective teams is crucial for achieving success.
  • It is important to think about long-term sustainability and scalability when building a business.
  • Focusing on a narrow market or niche can be a powerful way to create value and achieve success.
For whom?
For entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone interested in building a successful company. The book provides practical advice and insights based on the experiences of Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir Technologies, and covers topics such as identifying and pursuing business opportunities, creating and protecting intellectual property, and building and leading effective teams. It may be particularly useful for individuals who are starting a new business or looking to take their existing business to the next level.
"The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete."
"Zero to One" author
Peter Thiel
The Lean Startup
Eric Ries
2011
About
"The Lean Startup" is a business management book written by Eric Ries. The book provides practical advice for building and scaling successful businesses, and is based on the principles of the lean startup movement, which emphasizes the importance of continuous learning, rapid iteration, and customer feedback. The book covers topics such as developing and testing business models, measuring and analyzing progress, and managing risk and uncertainty. It is intended for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone interested in building and growing a successful company. "The Lean Startup" offers a framework for building and scaling businesses that is focused on maximizing efficiency, minimizing waste, and achieving rapid growth.
Our main learnings:
  • Continuous learning, rapid iteration, and customer feedback are key to building and scaling a successful business.
  • It is important to develop and test business models in order to understand what works and what doesn't.
  • Measuring and analyzing progress is crucial for making informed decisions and adjusting course as needed.
  • Managing risk and uncertainty is an essential part of the process of building and scaling a business.
  • Maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste are important for achieving rapid growth.
  • A focus on customer needs and solving real problems is essential for building a successful business.
For whom?
For entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone interested in building and growing a successful company. The book provides practical advice and a framework for building and scaling businesses based on the principles of the lean startup movement, which emphasizes the importance of continuous learning, rapid iteration, and customer feedback. It may be particularly useful for individuals who are starting a new business or looking to take their existing business to the next level, as well as for managers and leaders who are seeking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their organizations.
"Startups that succeed are the ones that can figure out what they are trying to accomplish, and then learn faster than anyone else what works and what doesn't."
"The Lean Startup" author
Eric Ries
Pitch anything
Oren Klaff
2011
About
"Pitch Anything" is a self-improvement book written by Oren Klaff. The book is focused on the art of persuasion and provides practical strategies and techniques for making successful pitches and presentations. It covers topics such as how to capture and hold attention, how to create and deliver effective messaging, and how to build rapport and credibility with audiences. "Pitch Anything" is intended for anyone who wants to improve their ability to persuade and influence others, including entrepreneurs, sales professionals, and business leaders. The book offers a framework for making successful pitches and presentations that is based on the principles of neuroscience and psychology.
Our main learnings:
  • It is important to capture and hold attention in order to be effective in persuasion.
  • Creating and delivering effective messaging is crucial for making a successful pitch or presentation.
  • Building rapport and credibility with audiences is essential for persuading and influencing others.
  • A framework based on the principles of neuroscience and psychology can be useful for making successful pitches and presentations.
  • It is important to understand the perspective and motivations of the people you are trying to persuade in order to be effective.
  • The ability to persuade and influence others is a valuable skill that can be developed and improved with practice.
For whom?
For anyone who wants to improve their ability to persuade and influence others, including entrepreneurs, sales professionals, and business leaders. The book provides practical strategies and techniques for making successful pitches and presentations, and covers topics such as how to capture and hold attention, how to create and deliver effective messaging, and how to build rapport and credibility with audiences. It may be particularly useful for individuals who are looking to improve their skills in these areas, or who are seeking to increase their effectiveness in persuading and influencing others in business or other settings.
"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said."
"Pitch anything" author
Oren Klaff
Measure What Matters
John Doerr
2017
About
"Measure What Matters" is a business management book written by John Doerr, a venture capitalist and the author of the book "The Million Dollar Home Page". The book is based on Doerr's experiences as an investor and entrepreneur, and provides practical advice for setting and achieving goals, managing teams and organizations, and driving progress and success. It covers topics such as how to set clear and measurable goals, how to create a culture of accountability, and how to use data and metrics to track progress and make informed decisions. "Measure What Matters" is intended for business leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs who are looking to improve the performance of their teams and organizations.
Our main learnings:
  • Setting clear and measurable goals is essential for driving progress and success.
  • Creating a culture of accountability can help to ensure that goals are met and progress is made.
  • Using data and metrics to track progress and make informed decisions is crucial for managing teams and organizations effectively.
  • Collaboration and communication are important for driving progress and achieving success.
  • It is important to regularly review and assess progress in order to course correct and stay on track towards achieving goals.
  • Setting and achieving goals requires a combination of discipline, focus, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
For whom?
For business leaders, managers, and employees who are interested in using OKRs to set and track progress towards meaningful goals. Doerr shares his experiences implementing OKRs at various companies, and provides practical guidance for how others can use OKRs to drive growth and success. The book also includes examples and case studies from a variety of industries to illustrate the effectiveness of OKRs in practice.
"OKRs are a simple idea with a powerful impact: they clarify what needs to be done and they help people understand how they contribute to the bigger picture."
"Measure What Matters" author
John Doerr
Build
Tony Fadell
May 3, 2022
About
Build is a book by Tony Fadell, a technology entrepreneur and innovator best known for his work as the "Father of the iPod" at Apple. In the book, Fadell shares his experiences building and scaling successful products and companies, and provides insights and practical guidance for entrepreneurs and innovators looking to do the same. Fadell covers a range of topics, including product development, team building, and leadership, and shares lessons he has learned from his own successes and failures. The book is intended for anyone interested in building and growing their own business, and offers a unique perspective from someone who has worked at the forefront of the technology industry for many years.
Our main learnings:
  1. The importance of design: Fadell has emphasized the role of design in creating successful products and services, saying that "design is not just about how something looks, but how it works and how it makes people feel."
  2. The value of a user-centered approach: Fadell has consistently focused on creating products that are intuitive and easy to use, with a strong emphasis on user experience.
  3. The power of collaboration: Fadell has often stressed the importance of teamwork and collaboration in achieving success, saying that "great things are never done by one person; they're done by a team of people."
  4. The need for constant iteration and improvement: Fadell has emphasized the importance of continually iterating and improving products and processes, saying that "it's not about getting it right the first time; it's about getting it right over time."
  5. The importance of having a clear vision: Fadell has said that a clear and compelling vision is essential for guiding the direction of a company or project, and for inspiring and motivating others to achieve it.
For whom?
For inventors, entrepreneurs, and makers who are interested in creating successful products and companies. It offers insights and practical advice for anyone looking to make things that are valuable and meaningful, and who wants to learn from the experiences of a successful innovator and entrepreneur. If you are interested in innovation, design, entrepreneurship, or the process of creating new products and businesses, you may find this book to be a useful and informative resource.
"A clear and compelling vision is essential for guiding the direction of a company or project, and for inspiring and motivating others to achieve it."
"Build" author
Tony Fadell
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Nir Eyal
December 26, 2013
About
"Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products" is a book written by Nir Eyal, a consultant and expert on the psychology of consumer behavior. In the book, Eyal provides a framework for creating products that can form strong and lasting habits in users. He explains how companies can use design and psychology to create products that people will use regularly, and discusses the importance of building products that provide value to users and address their needs and desires. The book is aimed at entrepreneurs, product managers, and designers who are interested in creating habit-forming products, and provides practical advice and case studies to help readers understand how to design and develop products that can engage and retain users over time.
Our main learnings:
  1. The four-step hook model: Eyal introduces a four-step model for creating habit-forming products, which consists of the following stages: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment. By understanding and designing for these stages, companies can create products that users will come back to again and again.
  2. The importance of user needs and desires: To create habit-forming products, it is essential to understand what users need and want, and to design products that provide value and address these needs.
  3. The role of triggers: Triggers are the cues that prompt users to take action and use a product. By understanding the various types of triggers and how to use them effectively, companies can create products that users will turn to automatically.
  4. The power of variable rewards: By providing users with rewards that are unpredictable but desirable, companies can create products that users will seek out and engage with repeatedly.
  5. The value of investment: To create truly habit-forming products, it is important to encourage users to invest time and effort into the product, as this can lead to deeper engagement and loyalty.
  6. The ethical considerations of habit-forming products: Eyal discusses the ethical implications of creating products that can become habits, and the importance of considering the potential negative consequences of these products.
For whom?
For entrepreneurs, product managers, and designers who are interested in creating habit-forming products, and provides practical advice and case studies to help readers understand how to design and develop products that can engage and retain users over time. If you are in one of these roles and want to learn more about how to create products that users will use regularly and come back to again and again, you may find this book to be a useful resource.
"The most successful products are those that embed into our daily routines, creating a habit. These products are the ones that make it easy to do the things we love and hard to do without."
"Hooked" author
Nir Eyal
Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
2014
About
Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers" is a book written by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. It offers practical advice and case studies for startup founders on how to identify and target the right market, and then to get, keep, and grow customers through various marketing channels. The book covers a range of topics, including search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising. It also provides tips on how to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and how to prioritize your marketing activities based on what's working. Overall, the book is designed to help startup founders build traction and drive growth for their businesses.
Our main learnings:
  1. Build a strong value proposition: Your value proposition is the unique benefit that you offer to customers. Make sure it's clear and compelling, and that it addresses a specific need or problem that your target market has.
  2. Use customer feedback to improve your product: Gathering and listening to customer feedback is crucial for improving your product and building a strong customer base. Make sure to actively seek out and listen to customer feedback, and use it to make your product better.
  3. Focus on a narrow market first: It can be tempting to try to appeal to a broad market right away, but it's often more effective to focus on a narrow, specific market initially. This will help you create a product that meets the needs of a specific group of customers and allows you to build traction in that market before expanding.
  4. Use storytelling to engage with customers: People are more likely to remember and be influenced by stories than by dry, factual information. Use storytelling to engage with customers and help them understand the value of your product or service.
  5. Build a strong brand: Your brand is the overall impression that people have of your business. Make sure to create a strong brand that accurately reflects your company's values and mission, and that helps you stand out from the competition.
For whom?
For startup founders and entrepreneurs who are looking for practical advice on how to grow their businesses. It's also a helpful resource for marketing professionals who are working with startups and are looking for new strategies and tactics for driving customer acquisition and growth. The book offers a wide range of practical tips and case studies, making it a valuable resource for anyone looking to build traction and drive growth for their business.
"The key to building a successful company is to get traction in a small market and then expand from there.”
"Traction" author
Justin Mares
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