Reading and thinking about the startup of your business idea is an important part of the process. You need to be aware of what others have done, and also to think about how what you read applies to your ideas for a spinout business. You also need to do what you can to make yourself a better entrepreneur, and developer so that you can make the best choices and learn how to make your own opportunities. There is no ‘one book’, but rather a number of books you should read on a range of many topics that touch on the development of your idea send its development into a self-sustaining business. These are randomly listed in no particular order.

This is a ‘work in progress’, which will be added to on an irregular basis.

Systems Thinking

Managing the Design Factory by Donald Reinerstsen provides a clear introduction to systems theory that the output of the whole process is more important than optimising any one output. This also explains the theories behind Goldratt’s Theories of Constraints as illustrated in his novels. You can find a condensed version of this material and much more in Reinertsen’s Flow book.

Impact Mapping by Gojko Adzic explains how to quickly determine the optimal path you can take in your development process aimed at organisations using lean, agile and service design approaches so that you know which path will offer the most optimum return for your effort.

Agile Development

Principles of Software Engineering Management by Tom Gilb provides the background and explanation of why incremental and iterative software development works as it does and how you can implement this too. This is the foundation of much of agile in one book.

Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn covers some of the core aspects about finance and costings often overlooked by other authors while also providing a good background on scrum and the need for incremental and iterative development.

Scrum and XP from the Trenches by Henrik Kniberg will help you apply these key ideas in development to your project, while his Kanban and Scrum book will help you improve the process further.

Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf, which explains how to blend the lean approach to your agile project along with a touch of service design in a highly usable approach.

Rolling Rocks Downhill by Clarke Ching illustrates the benefits of incremental and iterative development in a business novel explaining the benefits of agile developments.

The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt is a business novel, which will help you better understand that the output of the whole process is more important than optimising individual components. It’s Not Luck continues the story.

Lean Startup

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, which explains the ‘build measure learn’ cycle and why you need to validate your hypothesis by getting out of the building.

Running Lean by Ash Maurya, which provides a good  step-by-step approach to using the lean startup model coupled with his lean business canvas, which is derived from the business model canvas.

The Happy Startup ebook from the Happy Startup School offers a canvas blending problem/solutions pairings with Sinek’s ‘why’ and a few other issues, which has been found more useful for ideation than Osterwalder and Maurya’s versions.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank is the background to Reis’s book and provides more details about how you develop your customers and cross the chasm in growth.

Value Proposition Design by Alex Osterwalder will help you clarify the main essence of your idea so that it is easily explainable to anyone so that you only work on a business plan if and when necessary.

The Bootstrapper’s Bible by Seth Godin is a free PDF basic guide to thinking about what you’re doing before and while you’re spinning out your startup. It also provides motivation about why you’re spinning out your idea.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman will help you understand the rationalisation and why it might be missing from the results you expect in your experiments to build a better business.

Built to Sell: Creating a Business that can Thrive without You is a business novel that explains how you should build a business, which has products to sell with a sales team and suitable management so that you have an easier exit strategy.

Service Design

This is Service Design Thinking provides a primer and background in tools that can be used on all types of projects in order to ensure you develop a suitable engaging service.

Service Design by Andy Polaine, Lavrans Løvlie, and Ben Reason provides a useful in-depth view of the service design process with explanations about why the process works and clear examples showing how it works.

Change by Design by Tim Brown introduces the ‘design thinking’ approach that is a component of service design with clear examples and theory from his experience at IDEO.

Ideas and their Presentation

Start with Why by Simon Sinek explains the importance of ‘why’ you’re doing what you do so that you can explain it in context of how you aim to achieve what you’re building.

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath tells us the importance of stories in providing memorable content and marketing materials for our services.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud explains the sequential art form of graphic novels so that you can use these lessons when developing your slide decks for presentations.

Blah, Blah, Blah: what to do when words don’t work by Dan Roam will help you say anything with a series of pictures so that you can better explain your ideas.

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds will help you build better slide decks for whatever purpose you need. The newer design edition also has a section on video development too.

The Cluetrain Manifesto by a group of visionaries, who consider and explain the impact of social media before it existed. Go download an appropriate version from bottom of page and read it so you know who are the important people.

Drive and To Sell is Human by Dan Pink will help you set up suitable policies to motivate yourself and your team, while also pointing towards selling strategies for your services.

Self-Motivation and building a better you

The Flinch by Julien Smith, explains why you’re your own worst enemy when trying new things and provides paths to overcome the resistance.

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield explains more about ‘the resistance’ and how you can win the war against your self doubt.

Linchpin by Seth Godin explains why you need to focus on connecting people and building networks of people so that you can grow your usefulness to organisations.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High explains how to use a number of tools so that you help ensure conversations stay in dialogue instead of ending poorly.

Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt will help you become more aware of how you learn best and why this is the case. It is a good companion to the Rock book below.

Your Brain at Work by David Rock will help you to be aware of how your brain works so that you can learn to work with your it, instead of having it stop you achieve your aims. This explains what you find in Smith’s and Pressfield’s works.

Philosophy for Life: and Other Dangerous Situations by Jules Evans will help you learn to understand how you change your approach to life using Greek philosphers so that you can: people can know themselves and their unconscious assumptions and beliefs; we can use our reason to change our beliefs, and thus our emotional responses as they are linked, and; we can create new habits of thinking, feeling and acting.

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