I’ve read a lot of books about new business processes and start-ups in the past year or two. Here are four that bring insights every few pages rather than the ones that stretch out a single insight into a whole book (you know who you are!).
The Personal MBA
Josh Kaufman’s “The Personal MBA” is dense with useful information for whichever aspect of business you’re currently concerned with – finances, product development, sales & marketing, all of the above! – it’s all in here with lots of concise single-topic chapters rather than long general groupings making it an ideal reference book to return to as your business develops or fresh problems arrive on your desk.
I’ve believed for a while now that humans are narrative-driven beings. David Hieatt is a man who knows how to tell a good story. He started his career at Saatchi (advertising is just story-telling!) and went on to create the successful outdoor clothing brand Howies and subsequently luxury jeans brand Hiut Denim. Do Purpose is his condensed manifesto for creating meaningful businesses – businesses that serve their customers and make the world better (and, sure, hopefully make a profit). An easy-read that only takes a couple of hours. One that I turn to when my enthusiasm needs a shot in the arm.
The Lean Startup
One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed playing with Angular is the power it gives you to rapidly take an idea from paper to a working (or semi-working) prototype. Taking and applying the concepts of “Minimum Viable Product”, iterative design, continuous deployment and measuring the impact of your changes on your early customers, this book opened my eyes to a new way of turning around innovation quickly and efficiently.
The Idea in You
A book full of case-studies of people who’ve taken a spark of inspiration and carried it through to a successful business – some small lifestyle businesses, others much larger – as well as plenty of practical exercises and encouragement to help you take your big idea, evaluate its pros and cons and work out how to stop dreaming and start doing.