Books, Giveaways

The 10 Most Inspirational Startup Books I’ve Read GIVEAWAY

I have an extensive personal library of books on startups and… if you’ve read a few yourself… you know some are better than others. Well, I’m giving away ten books that have personally inspired me the most, and I think they’ll do the same for you.

Want in?

There are four ways to enter, and yes, you can use ALL of them!

Not-so-fine-print:

To participate you must be in the U.S. because figuring out international contest legalities is really complicated.

A winner will be drawn at random. The more points you have, the better chance you have to win.

Inspirational Startup Book Bundle Giveaway


Playbook to Grow Your SaaS Business With Your Customers
by Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré & Trevor Hatfield

Announcing a Zero bullshit, actionable AF guide to growing SaaS businesses with your customers. We’re still working on this book, but you’ll get a free copy when it’s out!


Love YourSelf Like Your Life Depends on It
by Kamal Ravikant

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It got me thinking about the importance of self-love – because we can’t do the hard work of building a business without it.

From the description:

“In December of 2011, I gave a talk to an audience of scientists, Pentagon officials, politicians, and CEOs on the secret of life and how I’d figured it out the previous summer. Afterwards, people came up individually and told me how much what I’d shared meant to them. This book is based on the truth I spoke about. It’s something I learned from within myself, something I believed saved me. And more than that, the way I set about to do it. This is a collection of thoughts on what I learned, what worked, what didn’t. Where I succeed and importantly, where I fail daily. The truth is to love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging off a cliff with your fingers. As if your life depended upon it. Once you get going, it’s not hard to do. Just takes commitment and I’ll share how I did it. It’s been transformative for me. I know it will be transformative for you as well.”


Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace
by Jessica Bennett

This is such an important read no matter what gender you are. Everyone should become more aware of what underrepresented groups go through in the workplace, because it’s not always obvious (even though it’s always felt).

From the description:

Part manual, part manifesto, Feminist Fight Club is a hilarious yet incisive guide to navigating subtle sexism at work, providing real-life career advice and humorous reinforcement for a new generation of professional women.

It was a fight club—but without the fighting and without the men. Every month, the women would huddle in a friend’s apartment to share sexist job frustrations and trade tips for how best to tackle them. Once upon a time, you might have called them a consciousness-raising group. But the problems of today’s working world are more subtle, less pronounced, harder to identify—and harder to prove—than those of their foremothers. These women weren’t just there to vent. They needed battle tactics. And so the fight club was born.

Hard-hitting and entertaining, Feminist Fight Club blends personal stories with research, statistics, and no-bullsh*t expert advice. Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist workplace archetypes women encounter everyday—such as the Manterrupter who talks over female colleagues in meetings or the Himitator who appropriates their ideas—and provides practical hacks for navigating other gender landmines in today’s working world. With original illustrations, Feminist Mad Libs, a Negotiation Cheat Sheet, and fascinating historical research, Feminist Fight Club tackles both the external (sexist) and internal (self-sabotaging) behaviors that plague women in the workplace—as well as the system that perpetuates them.


Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley
by Emily Chang

Brotopia is a reminder (like we need one) to help uplift women in tech and a very interesting window into how Silicon Valley became the culture it is today.

From the description:

Silicon Valley is a modern utopia where anyone can change the world. Unless you’re a woman.

For women in tech, Silicon Valley is not a fantasyland of unicorns, virtual reality rainbows, and 3D-printed lollipops, where millions of dollars grow on trees. It’s a “Brotopia,” where men hold all the cards and make all the rules. Vastly outnumbered, women face toxic workplaces rife with discrimination and sexual harassment, where investors take meetings in hot tubs and network at sex parties.

In this powerful exposé, Bloomberg TV journalist Emily Chang reveals how Silicon Valley got so sexist despite its utopian ideals, why bro culture endures despite decades of companies claiming the moral high ground (Don’t Be Evil! Connect the World!)–and how women are finally starting to speak out and fight back.

Drawing on her deep network of Silicon Valley insiders, Chang opens the boardroom doors of male-dominated venture capital firms like Kleiner Perkins, the subject of Ellen Pao’s high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit, and Sequoia, where a partner once famously said they “won’t lower their standards” just to hire women. Interviews with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer–who got their start at Google, where just one in five engineers is a woman–reveal just how hard it is to crack the Silicon Ceiling. And Chang shows how women such as former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, entrepreneur Niniane Wang, and game developer Brianna Wu, have risked their careers and sometimes their lives to pave a way for other women.

Silicon Valley’s aggressive, misogynistic, work-at-all costs culture has shut women out of the greatest wealth creation in the history of the world. It’s time to break up the boys’ club. Emily Chang shows us how to fix this toxic culture–to bring down Brotopia, once and for all.


Buzzing Communities
by Richard Millington

Richard Millington from FeverBee wrote this book and, as a community builder and consultant myself, I can say it’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve recommended this book multiple times and now I’m giving it away!

From the description:

Buzzing Communities cuts through the fluff to offer a clear process for creating thriving online communities. This book combines a century of proven science, dozens of real-life examples, practical tips, and trusted community-building methods. This step-by-step guide includes a lifecycle for tracking your progress and a framework for managing your organization’s community efforts. This book will help you to:

  • Understand what the members of your community really want.
  • Dramatically increase the number of newcomers that become regulars.
  • Avoid the mistakes most organizations make when they try to build online communities.
  • Develop a fantastic, user-friendly website for your members.
  • Grow your online community to critical mass and beyond
  • Keep members engaged and active in your community.
  • Measure the community’s return on investment and explain the benefits to your organization.

Content Inc.
by Joe Pulizzi

The idea of finding your “content tilt” really spoke to me in this one. If you’ve been trying to use inbound marketing/content to bring people in to your business and haven’t seen results, read this book.

From the description:

A pioneer of content marketing, Pulizzi has cracked the code when it comes to the power of content in a world where marketers still hold fast to traditional models that no longer work. In Content Inc., he breaks down the business-startup process into six steps, making it simple for you to visualize, launch, and monetize your own business. These steps are:

  • The “Sweet Spot”: Identify the intersection of your unique competency and your personal passion
  • Content Tilting: Determine how you can “tilt” your sweet spot to find a place where little or no competition exists
  • Building the Base: Establish your number-one channel for disseminating content (blog, podcast, YouTube, etc.)
  • Harvesting Audience: Use social-media and SEO to convert one-time visitors into long-term subscribers
  • Diversification: Grow your business by expanding into multiple delivery channels
  • Monetization: Now that your expertise is established, you can begin charging money for your products or services

This model has worked wonders for Pulizzi and countless other examples detailed in the book. Connect these six pieces like a puzzle, and before you know it, you’ll be running your own profitable, scalable business.

Pulizzi walks you step by step through the process, based on his own success (and failures) and real-world multi-million dollar examples from multiple industries and countries. Whether you’re seeking to start a brand-new business or drive innovation in an existing one, Content Inc. provides everything you need to reverse-engineer the traditional entrepreneurial model for better, more sustainable success.


Dear Client: This Book Will Teach You How to Get What You Want from Creative People
by Bonnie Siegler

Working with creatives is something we all do, but on a fundamental level, the communication skills covered in this book will help you with business and LIFE. You’ll be using these tools on everyone from your designer to your dog, and they will thank you for it. Well, your dog will at least look appreciative.

From the description:

In a world where every business, brand, product, and service needs a strong visual identity, it’s critical for clients and creative professionals to work together. And the key to success, as with any relationship, is communication. In Dear Client, award-winning graphic designer Bonnie Siegler offers an invaluable step-by-step guide to how to talk so creatives will listen, and how to listen when creatives talk.

Written as a series of honest, friendly lessons—“Know What You Like,” “Decide Who Will Decide,” “Focus Groups Suck,” “Don’t Say ‘Make It Yellow,’ Say ‘Make It Sunny,’” “Serve Lunch During Lunchtime Meetings”—it shows exactly how to deal with the subjectivity, emotional pitfalls, and occasional chaos of a creative partnership. Here’s how to articulate your visual goals and set a clear, consistent direction. How to give feedback that works and avoid words that inhibit creative thinking. How to be open to something you didn’t imagine. And most of all, how to have fun, save money, and get the results you want.


The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company
by Steve Blank

I’ve given this book away so many times, usually to people I’m working with, because it puts us all on the same page of knowing what’s important and why. I think it should be required reading for any business owner.

From the description:

More than 100,000 entrepreneurs rely on this book for detailed, step-by-step instructions on building successful, scalable, profitable startups.  The National Science Foundation pays hundreds of startup teams each year to follow the process outlined in the book, and it’s taught at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia and more than 100 other leading universities worldwide.  Why?

The Startup Owner’s Manual guides you, step-by-step, as you put the Customer Development process to work. This method was created by renowned Silicon Valley startup expert Steve Blank, acknowledged catalyst of the “Lean Startup” movement, and tested and refined by him for more than a decade.

This 608-page how-to guide includes over 100 charts, graphs, and diagrams, plus 77 valuable checklists that guide you as you drive your company toward profitability.


Value Proposition Design
by Alexander Osterwalder

Before you build the product, as you’re building the product, and after you’ve built the product – you have to know, and be able to explain, the value you’re really bringing to your customer. Go through this book page by page, step by step, and you’ll come out with a perfect value proposition that speaks to your ideal customers.

From the description:

Value Proposition Design is for anyone who has been frustrated by new product meetings based on hunches and intuitions; it’s for anyone who has watched an expensive new product launch fail in the market. The book will help you understand the patterns of great value propositions, get closer to customers, and avoid wasting time with ideas that won’t work. You’ll learn the simple process of designing and testing value propositions, that perfectly match customers’ needs and desires.

In addition the book gives you exclusive access to an online companion on Strategyzer.com. You will be able to assess your work, learn from peers, and download pdfs, checklists, and more.


Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World
by Rand Fishkin

I love Rand Fishkin. He is so transparent about his journey, his successes, and his failures – to say his story is inspiring doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. He’s a man who has always tried to do right by people and built his company based on those values. But there are all of these other pressures that you can’t foresee until you’re in them… okay, I’m not going to get into spoilers. Just read it.

From the description:

Everyone knows how a startup story is supposed to go: A young, brilliant entrepreneur has a cool idea, drops out of college, defies the doubters, overcomes all odds, makes billions, and becomes the envy of the technology world.

This is not that story.


💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗

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