A smörgåsbord of essential reading, classic thinking, distilled wisdom and trends to watch.
This review is provided by the Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Read my tips
John Mullins has long been associated with the world of entrepreneurship. What are his favourite books on the subject? Here are 10 that he selected if you’d like a start-up plan for upgrading your entrepreneurial library.
- How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, David Bornstein
All over the world social entrepreneurs are asking, “What does the world really need?” Foundations, development organisations, religious groups and investment bankers feel the groundswell of energy in those who want to work for the greater good. Bornstein tells inspiring success stories of Ashoka members, an international network of social entrepreneurs. (368 pages, Oxford University Press, 2007)
- The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki
Kawasaki’s humorous style delivers what start-up businesses need the most: quick, practical advice from someone who’s been there. He favours technology start-ups, but all entrepreneurs can benefit from his advice. An example of his humour is the section titled ‘Frequently Avoided Questions’. (226 pages, Portfolio, 2008)
- The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living, Randy Komisar
Komisar invents an original fable to help would-be entrepreneurs learn what really counts in a start-up: in the end, it’s about the journey. Using an engaging cautionary tale, Komisar compels ‘Lenny’ to let his passion drive his ambitions. The author weaves his own real-life experiences into the story. (208 pages, Harvard Business School Press, 2001)
- The Republic of Tea: Letters to a Young Zentrepeneur, Mel Ziegler, Bill Rosenzweig and Patricia Ziegler
What happens when the hip and groovy co-founders of the Banana Republic clothing store get together and dream of tea? They create The Republic of Tea — one of the most successful tea and herb specialty food distributors and catalogue companies in America. (1,450 pages; Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1992)
- Smarter Ventures: A Survivor’s Guide to Venture Capital Through the New Cycle, Katharine Campbell
Former journalist Campbell shines a light on the process many entrepreneurs find daunting — approaching venture capitalists. She focuses on what European venture capitalists seek (and it is not just return on investment!) and takes readers step-by-step through the process. (319 pages, FT/Prentice Hall, 2003)
- Guerrilla Financing: Alternative Techniques to Finance Any Small Busines, Bruce Blechman and Jay Conrad Levinson
Small and medium-business owners will find the practical fund-raising advice that the authors suggest empowering. Those seeking less than a quarter of a million dollars will be buoyed by the many innovative financing strategies mentioned. (352 pages, Houghton Mifflin, 1992)
- Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning global history, Diamond (a professor of geography and physiology at UCLA) explains how Europeans became the dominant culture for the past 13,000 years. In short, it is location. The climate in Eurasia supported farming and an expanding population; this increased competition among European cultures. The author gains credibility by using scientific investigation to prove his thesis. (480 pages, Norton, 1997)
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin
Godin warns readers that this is no time to be shy. If you’re not putting something truly new, remarkable and ‘purple’ into your products, you won’t get noticed. Dare to be a purple cow standing in a field of brown cows. This is survival in the new marketplace — the old marketing manifesto tied to pricing, promotion and publicity is now passé. (160 pages, Penguin, 2005)
- Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Have Failed — and What to Do About It, Josh Lerner
Harvard professor Lerner presents a retrospective look at how government interventions intended to support entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have fared. Many of these efforts have failed, wasting billions of taxpayer dollars through poor program design, implementation and policy making. He offers suggestions on how public ventures should be handled in the future. (248 pages, Princeton University Press, 2009)
- Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time, Howard Schultz
Starbucks has grown from one store based in Seattle, Washington, in 1971 to more than 15,000 stores in 50 countries today. CEO Schultz tells how, by means of innovative marketing strategies, employee-ownership programme, and a product that’s become a subculture, the company achieved phenomenal success. (368 pages, Hyperion, 1998)