If I only had five books to recommend to entrepreneur-developers, to help you get started, I’d give you these.
They either shaped, improved or solidified my approach to business and I point back to as keys to my success. Here they are in order of priority with why you should read:
- Do the Work by Steven Pressfield — The best $5 you’ll spend this year. Read it. Bleed it. Give it to your team. It’s about just doing the work. Ship the code. Deliver. I put this first because the developers I know are craftsman and sometimes perfectionists. Get over it. Perfectionism is evil. This book will help. And you as the entrepreneur-developer need to believe and act on this. (I could rant on this but I already have, go read these posts on perfectionism.)
- The E-Myth by Michael Gerber — how to approach business like a system to be tweaked, refined, optimized. Absolutely fundamental. Create a process that can be replicated over and over and over. If you ever want to grow past yourself, you’ll have to do this and then recruit and train others to do it. (A previous post on the E-Myth McProcess.)
- Drive by Daniel Pink — Autonomy. Mastery. Purpose. That’s the summary version of what motivates us all. We’ve systematically tried to provide an environment, resources and help to do this with our team.
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek — As a leader you’re going to have to first, know the why, and then be able to consistently, every day, unpack it for your team, partners and customers. The Golden Circle is huge and impactful. Here’s his original TedTalk that inspired the book.
- The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner — Read this finishing my bachelor’s degree and it grounded me in the essential for leading people. It’s very, very dry, but the principles are timeless. Embed them in your heart, mind and soul now.
For more books to read, check out my reading list here.