3 Books to Read if You Want to Run a Company

April 17, 2023

When you buy a new phone, you look at the user manual whenever there are certain features you don’t know where to find access to. When you wish to cook a meal, you can simply look for a cookbook or a video. Businesses do not exactly belong to the same criteria as these products, but, how we wish it could come with a user manual too, right?

That would make stuff so much easier. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of informative material in this world, the challenge comes in finding the right material.

We’ve put together a reading list (curated by our CEO Dave Overton). Dave emphasizes the importance of good reads, especially if you are an entrepreneur. He recommends the following books that are must-reads if you are planning to run (and maintain) your own company soon.

1. The Lean Startup

Author: Eric Ries

According to Financial Times, an international daily newspaper focusing on business and economic news, “Every so often a business book comes along that changes how we think about innovation and entrepreneurship… The Lean Startup has the chops to join this exalted company.”

The Lean Startup is more for individuals looking to create startups. A lot of knowledge shared by the book can help especially service companies. It also gives aspiring entrepreneurs a model of how to think about problems in the business, and how to prioritize what’s more important.

2. The Hard Thing about Hard Things

Author: Ben Horowitz

Many books talk about how wonderful it is to start a business, but few are straightforward in showing the unglamorous parts of it. The Hard Thing About Hard Things is like that brutally honest friend who seems like she does not care about how you feel by the way she tells you things, but she does.

For Dave:

“It’s a really good book, but it’s a hard book because it hurts and it would really make you think about the decisions you will face… (but) it lets you know that you’re not alone.”

The book analyzes issues and dilemmas that confront entrepreneurs like: what to do when smart people are bad employees, demoting or firing a loyal friend, how to manage your own psychology while the whole organization is relying on you, and more.

3. Traction

Author: Gino Wickman

Traction is named so because it highlights that you should have a grip on your business, not the other way around- and how to do exactly just that.

Yes, it is possible that your business is the one in control over you. This sad reality happens when problems that the company faces affect how you are supposed to do things as the leader.

Traction tackles more on the technical and practical side of running a business, especially using the Entrepreneurial Operating System method, a model adapted by already more than 2,000 companies.

These books may not be user manuals that dictate every step that you take, rather they can be mentors or a crash course. Nothing still beats experience, and this is why we love reading these books — cause they’re backed with experience-driven write-ups.

Who knows, these will inspire you to write your own book, too.

If you're thinking of building your own startup, aside from reading these books, you might want to read this blog article that tackles what to do after coming up with an idea of what product you want to build.