Books for Entrepreneurs and Their Attorneys

We are often asked at the Entrepreneurship Clinic about good books for those starting their own companies and for attorneys aspiring to be better-versed on startup issues.  The following are resources we often recommend.

Finding a Repeatable and Scalable Business Model:  One of the most important things for entrepreneurs to understand is the importance of identifying their potential customers and understanding what those customers want.  The following books are essential texts for understanding the importance of customer discovery and development and validating one’s value proposition hypothesis before wasting resources building something that customer’s won’t buy.

Startup guru Steve Blank's best selling work on customer development.

Startup guru Steve Blank’s best selling work on customer development.

 

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pgneur walks you through the process of building your business model (note: different than a business plan).

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pgneur walks you through the process of building your business model (note: different than a business plan).

 

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries stresses learning what your customer wants before investing time and other resources in product development.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries stresses learning what your customer wants before investing time and other resources in product development.

 

Steve Blank and Bob Dorf's step by step guide to developing customers and validating a business model.

Steve Blank and Bob Dorf’s step by step guide to developing customers and validating a business model.

Legal Basics for Entrepreneurs:  Entrepreneurs face numerous legal issues in the early stages and it is important for entrepreneurs to have a basic understanding of common startup legal questions (such as incorporation, IP, employment law, early stage financing, contracts) so they can be a smart consumer of legal services.  The following books are essential guides for entrepreneurs or attorneys seeking to become more familiar with startup legal issues.

 

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law by Bagley and Dauchy has been required reading in our Entrepreneurship Clinic since day 1.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Law by Bagley and Dauchy has been required reading in our Entrepreneurship Clinic since day 1.

Not So Obvious by patent attorney Jeffrey Schox explains patent law for non-lawyers in plain language.

Not So Obvious by patent attorney Jeffrey Schox explains patent law for non-lawyers in plain language.

Equity Compensation:  Almost all startups rely on equity (such as restricted stock or options) to incentivize employees.  The following book provides a comprehensive, and plan language, explanation of the business, tax, and legal issues related to equity.

 

Consider Your Options by Kaye Thomas walks through equity compensation for startups, including restricted stock, options, tax issues, etc.

Consider Your Options by Kaye Thomas walks through equity compensation for startups, including restricted stock, options, tax issues, etc.

 

Venture Financing:  The goal of most startups is to attract outside capital in order to rapidly scale their business.  The following text by venture capitalists Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson explains the mechanics and substance of venture capital deals in an easy to understand way.  They also include insights from entrepreneurs and focus on which terms matter, and which terms don’t.

Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson explains venture financing concepts in plain language.

Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson explains venture financing concepts in plain language.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset:  The following book provides a great insight into the “entrepreneurial mindset” and can help entrepreneurs better understand themselves and those around them.  It also can help those who work with entrepreneurs to better understand their colleagues or clients.

John Gartner's profiles on success stories like Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie, and Craig Venter depict "the Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot of) Success."

John Gartner’s profiles on success stories like Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie, and Craig Venter depict “the Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot of) Success.”

Enjoy your reading!