This time of the year typically involves cocktails at rooftop bars, stunning city views, vacations in quaint European countries, or relaxing on the beach with a book. While the first three may be off limits this year, reading is one pleasure we can still enjoy. Most entrepreneurs we know are voracious readers, so we decided to round up a list of books that will make Summer 2020 more enjoyable and productive. Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains or the living room, these six books are bound to offer good ideas and a dose of inspiration.
Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
A timeless classic. The philosophy of stoicism, which espouses that one should always be aware of the worst possible scenario and be mentally prepared to face it. This way, no matter the challenges and setbacks you face, you can meet them calmly and find a way out, as opposed to succumbing to the emotional turmoil they may cause. Given the multiple highs and lows startup founders experience, internalizing stoicism might come in handy. This read can help you keep a clear head through any challenge, so you can easily resolve it.
Principles by Ray Dalio
Coming up with principles that would guide you in both your personal and professional life is no easy feat. Ray Dalio has done a remarkable job distilling the principles he’s followed in building Bridgewater Associates into one of the best performing hedge-funds, and is offering a glimpse into how he developed the principles that have allowed him to build a great company. Moreover, he offers a framework into the thought process behind developing principles, encouraging and helping readers to develop their own. A great read for any founder that is focused on creating culture that leads to exceptional performance.
Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt
Bill Campbell was the coach that helped tech luminaries like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Sergey Brin build successful companies. But more importantly, he did so by focusing on building and coaching teams. This book contains lessons directly from Campbell’s playbook that will not only help you build a stronger culture and high performing teams, but also become a better manager, leader and a better person.
Shoedog by Phil Knight
The story of Nike as told directly by its founder, Phil Knight. This memoir takes us on a journey that starts in California in the 1960s, a time when running for fun was considered crazy. It walks us through all the struggles of Nike’s founder through the years, and shows that one of the most successful and revered sports brands took decades to become an overnight success. This story is a reminder that each behemoth was once a scrappy startup, that every aspect of the world is malleable and a lot of the things we take for granted were once considered crazy.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
While technically a book on negotiation, Never Split the Difference is one of the best books on communication and leadership out there. It will equip you with techniques that not only help you negotiate successfully in any situation (e.g. term sheets, executive compensation, etc.), but also increases your empathy and self-awareness. Employing these tactics will allow you to communicate more effectively with your team, understand people better, and become a better leader.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Yes, this one is a bit controversial, but let’s look past the politics for a minute. Following the journey of the innovative architect Howard Roark, The Fountainhead is a story of perseverance, failure, upending the status quo and ultimately, success. As any entrepreneur knows, believing in your vision and not giving up in the fact of adversity is half of success, and this story does a remarkable job of reminding us so. A thousand pages will fly by with this one.