2. The Innovator’s Dilemma. Clayton Christensen. This was a formative read for me: it taught me why it’s so hard to come up with a second hit and why startups often have the advantage when creating curve-jumping innovation.
3. The Effective Executive. Peter Drucker. Another formative read for me. I devoured this book while in college. I can’t say that I’ve always been an effective executive, but Peter Drucker was a hero of mine.
4. Crossing the Chasm. Geoffrey Moore. I learned the hard way about chasms while working for Apple. The early adopters are easy–“main street” is hard. Entrepreneurs should read this book when they are cranking out their “conservative” sales projections.
5. The Hockey Handbook. Lloyd Percival. A classic. Probably the best book ever written about hockey tactics–although this opinion is coming from a Hawaiian who took up hockey at forty-eight, so you never know. Also, I’ve read it twice, and I’m still not very good.
6. Inevitable Illusions: How Mistakes of Reason Rule Our Minds. Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini. This book should“ have been called, How Entrepreneurs Think because it explains how entrepreneurs confuse themselves. I salute the people who can read this book and not find a mistake of reasoning that they’ve made.
7. Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born. Denise Shekerjian. A lovely book that gets into the minds of the ”genius“ award winners of the MacArthur Foundation. There’s a lot to learn about ”mastery“ from these award winners and much of it can be applied to business.
8. If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit. Brenda Ueland. Perhaps my favorite book of all time. It was my guiding light when I first started writing. Obviously, the book is for writers, but if you substitute ”program,“ ”market,“ ”evangelize,“ or ”start“ for the word ”write,“ you’ll see why its concepts are widely applicable. If you only buy one book from this list, make it this one.
9. The Chicago Manual of Style. University of Chicago Press Staff. I can’t stand bad grammar. This is the definitive book on how to handle the tweaky issues that come up in writing. I once read it cover to cover–dare I admit this?
10. Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation. James M. Utterback. This book opened my eyes with evidence and findings about innovation. Bob Sutton would be very happy with this book because of its scientific basis. Here’s a question to determine if you need to read this book: What’s the maximum distance the sales people should be from the engineers in startup? Hint: It’s less than the distance from Santa Clara to Bangalore.