From the stacks of books received for review and picked up from overseas visits, here is our pick of some of the best titles of the year for startup founders, social entrepreneurs, innovators and changemakers!
2017 has been another outstanding year for books about entrepreneurship and innovation, reflecting continued global interest in the startup ecosystem. See our earlier lists of ‘Top 10 Books for Entrepreneurs’ from the past five years as well: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012. YourStory has also published the pocketbook Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups as a creative and motivational guide for innovators, accessible as apps (Apple; free Android version).
From the stacks of books published this year, here is our pick of the Top 10 Books of 2017 for Entrepreneurs. The selection includes books with advice for startups, case studies of entrepreneurs, insights on how to sustain a culture of creativity and innovation, technology transformations, storytelling, social enterprise, and views from India and China. Each book has been reviewed as well; click on the title links to read our full review.
Startups after scale stage sometimes become overly bureaucratic and lose the ability to innovate as they did in their early years. Many incumbent large firms have found themselves with costly failed products because of inadequate customer testing. Eric Ries, author of the earlier bestseller ‘Lean Startup,’ shows how growing or large companies can sustain the startup mentality with methods like metered funding, innovation accounting and growth boards.
Drawing on their work with nearly 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, Jeff and Staney DeGraff have developed a framework of innovator archetypes and engagement methods. The four key archetypes are the Artist (who loves radical innovation), the Engineer (who constantly improves everything), the Athlete (who competes to develop the best innovation), and the Sage (who innovates through collaboration).
Rather than describing the future with a list of technologies such as AI or IoT, ‘Wired’ magazine editor Kevin Kelly does a compelling job of showing how tech convergence is leading to 12 inevitable forces: becoming, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, interacting, tracking, questioning, and beginning.
Researchers, entrepreneurs and tech giants are taking artificial intelligence (AI) to new frontiers and transforming daily activities in health, education and commerce. But there are larger and even philosophical issues pertaining to the rise of machine intelligence and how it redefines the human race, as the gripping new book ‘Life 3.0’ describes.
Social entrepreneurs who build organisations that are inclusive and environmentally sensitive hold the key for a better world, according to Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus. In the model of social business, lenders and investors get back their initial investments but profits are ploughed back into the organisation for further improvement. Entrepreneurship, youth and the digital boom are driving factors for a balanced future.
Storytelling is a powerful form of communication for startup founders and changemakers. Storytelling can be inculcated as a professional habit for achieving business goals. This book describes categories of narrative such as origin stories to help founders pitch persuasively and fundraise effectively. See also YourStory’s free visualisation tool for startup founders and social entrepreneurs: the Changemaker Story Canvas.
Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, and T.N. Hari, HR Head at BigBasket and advisor at Fundamentum, have put together a detailed book on the struggles that entrepreneurs face in the trenches of their startup journey. “Some of the small things may come across as trivial at first sight,” according to the authors, but they can trip up a startup further down the road in areas like culture building, hiring, internal communication and fundraising.
In today’s high-paced world, good product management is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage. Drawing on interviews with dozens of product managers, this book explores themes and patterns of successful product teams, and tactics for working with customers and partners. It describes products in startup, scale and enterprise stages of a company’s evolution.
This book captures insights from leading investors at VC firms such as Benchmark Capital, Andreesen Horowitz, and GGV Capital. It shows entrepreneurs the range of possibilities for success, and how different tools are making innovation more feasible than ever before. See also our compilation of outstanding quotes from this book here.
Market trends and industry profiles of China’s leading mobile internet companies are captured in this comprehensive book. The BAT companies (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) are regarded as the Big Three in search, e-commerce and social messaging. They are expanding into other sectors like finance, advertising and media. China is transforming from a trend-follower and cheap imitator to innovative trendsetter and global powerhouse.
We look forward to your comments as well as your suggestions for books to review in 2018. All of us at YourStory wish our readers and partners a happy holiday season and a terrific year ahead in 2018 – may a million successful startups bloom!