Computer Guy

Computer Guy
Sunset at DoubleM Systems (, Del Mar, California

Monday, March 9, 2020

Books for Startups

Your Company Library will be much more compact.
I just love this library at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Why you want a 
"Company Library"

Your Company Library is a system for communication. The primary job of the CEO/business owner is to communicate. Not just the goals of the business, but also how the organization is to work.

The most effective, and efficient, way to do this is with the Company Library that contains books, videos, and links to online resources that are usually created by outside experts on the most important aspects of the company's philosophy and operations.

Some of these volumes are to be consumed by everyone in the organization. Others are for just the members of a particular department, such as Sales or Product Development. It should be determined by each CEO which volumes are to be consumed prior to employment, and after, and even how many times per year these volumes are to be reviewed. Repetition is important.

The purpose is to have everyone in the organization be crystal clear when it comes to the basic philosophies of the company, the corporate culture, the goals, and what is required for continued participation in the adventure.

The books listed below are an example of a recommended Company Library. Your Company Library may be different. We invite you to let us know of your success with these resources, as well as to inform us of others that you have found helpful.

A Startup Library

Personal Goals, Priorities

First Things First by Stephen R. Covey

Business Thinking

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber


High Output Management by Andy Grove
The Great CEO Within by Matt Mochary
Measure What Matters by John Doerr
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

Sales, individual

What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story by Michael Bosworth

Sales, as a system

The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies by Chet Holmes

Business Process Documentation

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Product Development

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Some thoughts from experience:

1.  Limit the number of books in your library. This will create FOCUS on the principles involved and build the lingua franca of your organization. When everyone is speaking the same language based on your shared wisdom, then you are well on your way to an invincible corporate culture.

2.  Some books are important for everyone in the company to read, as they form the underlying philosophies of your company. This may include your personal and company Genesis Story. 

3.  Your company library may sit prominently on a shelf in some common area in your space, but it should also be in the personal workspace of the team members.  Everyone in the company should have their own personal copies of the books involved.

4.  Repetition is essential to get the ideas and processes ingrained as Habits. Refer to the book passages often in 1-1 meetings, team meetings, etc. 

5.  Before you finalize a hire, gift prospective team members a copy of your most essential book as a way to find the best people for your company. There will be some who don't read it, and that's a great way to weed out those who are a poor fit. You want the ones who read it and get it wholeheartedly.

6.  Beware the Tyranny of the Idea du Jour as expressed, breathlessly, in some blog, video, conference, or even a team member. Resist the urge to add it to your company library and recommend it to everyone. The more you add to your library, the more you will dilute your main message.

7.  Begin it Now. Start small. Just one book, maybe two. What do you believe in? What book contains your foundational business success principles? If you're drawing a blank on that, start asking others, especially successful business builders who you respect.

8.  When you have consumed and mastered the subject matter in the short list above, you might want to expand your horizons a bit with this list. But before you do, revisit Note 6, above.