A Summer Reading List For Entrepreneurs

Young focused student using a tablet computer

Want to create a company but not sure where to begin? Here’s an idea: Crack these books at the beach or before that summer barbecue for a crash course in startups.

Entrepreneurship professors Len Middleton and Peter Adriaens of the Zell Lurie Institute at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business have rounded up their top reads. From discovering big data through the words of analytics whiz Thomas Davenport to understanding how venture capitalists really think thanks to the insights of veteran VC partner Ruthann Quindlen, these books will expose you to a wide array of topics on your own terms.

So what are you waiting for?

The Wide Lens: What Successful Innovators See That Others Miss by Ron Adner

The book encourages entrepreneurs to pull back from focusing on their own inventions and helps readers consider how bottlenecks in the value chain result in dependencies – and ultimately the success/failure – of their venture.

Big Data @ Work by Thomas Davenport

There’s been so much hand-waving by media and armchair analysts about big data that this concept has resulted in a lot of misconceptions and myths. This book is an easy read and looks at how “big data” is not an objective by itself but an enabler of many types of businesses. It explains that entrepreneurs have to become versed in how to manage and design their companies to extract value from big data.

Getting to Plan B by Randy Komisar and Gery Mullins

Most startups have to do some type of pivot after starting because they learn what customers really want and move the company in the right direction. The authors of this book teach entrepreneurs the importance of being flexible and constantly evaluating your business model in order to change to meet customer needs.

Confessions of a Venture Capitalist by Ruthann Quindlen  

This book provides basic insights into the venture capital world without sounding like a textbook. It’s a good book for someone wanting to understand how venture capital works from a practitioner’s point of view.

Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel

This is a timeless work on business innovation from one of the top business authors; it focuses on how new ideas, innovation, and growth help a company succeed. Whereas most books focus on current issues within a company, this one looks at how to build a future.

The Entrepreneurial Arch: A Strategic Framework for Discovering, Developing and Renewing Firms by Tim Faley

This book provides a comprehensive process to better understand the early business planning process. Focused on the “entrepreneurial arch,” this book divides the biz dev process into six segments for readers.