Quora: What are the Most Important Books for Startup Founders to Read?


What are the most important books for startup founders to read?

Answer by Jeong

I’m surprised that no one has mentioned The Founder’s Dilemmas by Prof. Noam Wasserman.

In this book, the Harvard Business School professor shares the findings from his research on about 2,000 technology and life science start-ups over 10 years. It covers consequences of each of major decisions that founders need to make at different stages of their start-ups.

Here’s the table of content:

Part I: Introduction and Pre-founding

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Career Dilemmas

Part II: Founding Team Dilemmas

  • Chapter 3: The Solo-versus-Team Dilemma
  • Chapter 4: Relationship Dilemmas: Flocking Together and Playing with Fire
  • Chapter 5: Role Dilemmas: Positions and Decision Making
  • Chapter 6: Reward Dilemmas: Equity Splits and Cash Compensation
  • Chapter 7: The Three RsSystem: Alignment and Equilibrium

Part III: Beyond the Founding Team: Hires and Investors

  • Chapter 8: Hiring Dilemmas: The Right Hires at the Right Time
  • Chapter 9: Investor Dilemmas: Adding Value, Adding Risks
  • Chapter 10: Failure, Success, and Founder-CEO Succession

Part IV: Conclusion

This book is research-oriented and complementary to books written by founders or investors recommended here such as Zero to One, The Lean Startup, The Hard Things about Hard Things, and so on.

Hope this helps.