Startup Reading List: August 2021 Edition

Sharing the latest book recommendations from our recent podcast guests on Open the Pod Bay Doors.

Innovation Bay’s podcast, Open the Pod Bay Doors, delves into the stories, challenges, and successes of founders and investors from around the startup ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand. At the end of each episode, guests are invited to share their favourite books with podcast listeners. We rounded up some book recommendations from a few of our recent guests. These books will resonate with founders, investors and operators during any stage of their startup journey.

1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Recommended by Federico Collarte (Baraja) — Epsiode 117

Baraja co-founder and CEO, Federico Collarte (E117), cited this read as one of his favourite business books. Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, uses his own experience to offer advice to those navigating the tough problems that arise in starting and running a business. Horowitz provides an honest perspective on the difficulties founders are likely to experience in starting a business, covering everything from how to manage your own psychology to minimising company politics. It provides unique and invaluable insights for founders at all stages of the entrepreneurial journey.

2. The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal

Recommended by Suse Reynolds (Angel Association New Zealand) — Episode 108

Suse Reynolds, executive chair of the Angel Association New Zealand, recommends the Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal. Reynolds suggests it to all members of the startup ecosystem, citing that it was crucial in teaching her how to manage high levels of stress. In the Upside of Stress, McGonigal focuses on nurturing a state of mind that embraces stress while delving into new research on resilience. The book serves as a guide for living with stress rather than eradicating it.

3. The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova

Recommended by Angus Hervey (Future Crunch) — Episode 106

Angus Hervey, political economist and co-founder of Future Crunch, flagged The Biggest Bluff as one of his favourites. Hervey sang the praises of author Maria Konnikova, stating “it’s the best business book I’ve read this year and it’s not about business at all.” The book discusses the concepts of chance, luck, and skill; Hervey explains how each of these concepts can be applied within the startup ecosystem. The book chronicles Konnikova’s journey to becoming a poker player; through her journey, she learns the ‘biggest bluff’ of all: skill is enough.

4. Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet

Recommended by Matt Allen (Tractor Ventures) — Episode 104

Turn the Ship Around comes highly recommended by Matt Allen, CEO of Tractor Ventures. The book focuses on the U.S. Navy’s traditional leader-follower approach. It delves into the broader concept of leadership, stating it should focus on giving control instead of taking control. Marquet encourages people to cultivate a workplace where everyone is a leader, stating it will result in happier and healthier employees. The guidelines outlined by Marquet can be applied across a wide variety of situations in both business and life to turn your own ship around.

5. Scaling Up by Verne Harnish

Recommended by Patrick Llewellyn (99designs) — Episode 101

Patrick Llewellyn, CEO of 99designs, recommends founders read Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. Llewellyn explains the unique nature of the book in that each chapter gives readers the opportunity to practice what they have been learning. Scaling Up focuses on providing advice to founders on how to grow their startups. It places emphasis on four major decision categories: people, strategy, execution, and cash. Llewellyn cites the tangible points included in the book that can easily be put into practice by founders.

Looking to hear more from our diverse community of founders and investors? Check out our podcast Open the Pod Bay Doors.