Books to Start and Survive Entrepreneurship

December 25, 2015


5 min read



There is no doubt, many books out there, that can help you start and survive an entrepreneurial journey. This is my stack for now. Thought I'd share it here, maybe it'll inspire you to start reading them too. They are also useful for leaders and managers who are looking at stepping up their game in their organizations. I'm sure I will be adding on more to my collection as time goes on.



1. THE LEAN STARTUP by Eric Ries

Introduced to me during my time at iflix Malaysia. Thanks to the Chiefs there that got everyone on the team to read it! So insightful on MVP and pivoting.

Book highlights: "Most businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that's being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers want. It's about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it's too late. Now is the time to think Lean".



2. ONE CLICK by Richard L. Brandt

I first read it ages ago but I needed a refresher, so here it is again on my reading list.

Book highlights: "Amazon's business model is deceptively simple; make online shopping so easy that customers won't think twice. As that button on every page says: 'Buy now with one click'. Amazon is a case study in how to reinvent an entire industry - one that anyone in business ignores at their peril. One Click uncovers the secret behind the company's triumph, much of which hinges on Jess Bezos, its founder and CEO. In this fascinating book, he explains how Bezo's unique character and ruthless business sense have driven Amazon relentlessly forward."



3. LEAN IN by Sheryl Sandberg

I googled this one, read the reviews and bought it. Utterly inspired by it! Thank you Sheryl!

Book highlights: "Lean In is Sheryl Sandberg's generation-defining call to action and blueprint for individual growth. In it she not only encourages women finally to gain their places at the table but also demostrates how they can achieve real positions of leadership. Combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research, she exposes the biases that can affect and hold back working women. She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and shows how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home. Lean In has changed the conversation from what women can't do to what they can." 




The series has been a staple on my bookshelf. My first copy was given to me by my sister in my tween years (Thanks sis!). Now they have one for Entrepreneurs, so naturally I bought it to be included in my entrepreneurial survival kit.

Book highlights: "Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur's Soul is a compilation of short stories from entrepreneurs, both large and small, who share their successess and their failures, with helpful advice based on their experiences. These stories will help you get started with your own venture, recharge you after a disappointment along the way, and alert you to what can go wrong. You'll read about housewives who turned their hobbies into real businesses, businessmen who lost it all and started over, entrepreneurs who left corporate careers to run their own shows, and people who saw a spark in the embers of financial ruin and developed roaring new busineses."




Synonymous with marketing so yes Seth is a must in my book stack! He is so witty and funny in his writings. Love his books! I am a believer in authenticity and keeping it real in branding, so this book is great in helping me shed more light in how to be a better marketer and storyteller.

Book highlights: "We believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass. We believe that $125 sneakers make our feet feel better - and look cooler - than a $25 brand. And believing it makes it true. As Seth Godin explains, great marketers don't talk about features or even benefits. Instead, they tell a story - a story we want to believe, whether it's factual or not. In a world where most people have an infinite number of choices and no time to make them, every organization is a marketer, and all marketing is about telling stories. Marketers succeed when they tell us a story that fits our worldview, a story that we intuitively embrace and then share with our friends. But beware: if your stories are inauthentic, you cross the line from fib to fraud. That's a lesson learned the hard way by telemarketers, cigarettes companies, and sleazy politicians. All marketers are storytellers. Only the losers are liars." 



6. GRIT TO GREAT by Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval

I saw this book on the bookshelf at the store and something about it caught my eye.

Book highlights: "What do basketball legend Michael Jordan, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and billionaire Michael Bloomberg have in common? Each of these extraordinary individuals was utterly ordinary growing up - no one would have ever predicted their future success. They weren't considered brilliant, talented, or destined for greatness. They failed early and often. But each one had the steadfast determination, stamina, and resiliance that propelled them to excel in their field. In fact, new research shows that the secret to success isn't some rarefied "it" factor - it's the "grit" factor. And each and every one of us can possess it." 



7. POKE THE BOX by Seth Godin

Yep, Seth again! This is the manifesto of START. Love it! Just like the praise given by Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, it is 'a one-two punch! Half kick in the ass, half cheerleading encouragement'.

Book highlights: "If you are happy being just a dreamer, perhaps you don't need this book. If you're enjoying the status quo, don't even consider reading this book. If you are content waiting for success to find you, please find something else to read. Why has Poke the Box become a cult classic? Because it's a book that dares readers to do something they're afraid of. It could be what you need too."



8. ZERO TO ONE by Peter Thiel

I saw this book on the bookshelf at the store too and everything about it caught my eye - it says "how to build the future" - I immediately said to myself, yep, get this book!

Book highlights: "What valuable company is nobody building? The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren't learning from them. It's easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This is about how to get there."




Introduced to me by another entrepreneur. I must say this is an inspirational read. How a purposeful company with an outstanding corporate culture can truly make a difference!

Book highlights: "Zappos, the online retailer does over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. After debuting as the highest-ranking newcomer in Fortune magazine's annual "Best Companies to Work For" list in 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion. In Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, this entertaining, insightful book shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success - and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can increase your own."



Happy reading!









M Consulting, the branding and marketing strategy development and activation consultancy was founded by Mawarni Adam, an award winning marketer with over 13 years of experience in branding and integrated marketing across multiple industries in the ASEAN region. It is her passion in building, revamping, turning around a portfolio, leading change and breathing new life into stagnant business situations that propelled her to establish her own marketing consultancy. Helping others make a positive difference in their businesses excites her. Her direct experience in the Subscription Video-On-Demand, Airline, Insurance, Loyalty, E-commerce, Banking, Venture Capital and Advertising industries, will bring an integrated perspective and valuable marketing input, strategy development and execution to any organization. 


Read more about Mawarni here: About M

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