Since our members at Mintz Levin constantly work with start-ups, entrepreneurs, and investors, we thought it would be especially beneficial to list the top six summer reads for every start-up as recommended by Tom Burton, Jeremy Glaser, Dan DeWolf, and Sam Effron. From negotiation to the internet of things, these six classic reads are sure to have valuable insights for anyone in the start-up field!
For any first-time and serial entrepreneurs, this book shows the 24-step rigorous framework for creating a successful start-up through developing an innovative product. Author Bill Aulet is the Managing Director at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, a long time practicing entrepreneur, and an instructor. While at MIT, he could not find a book to teach his classes and so he wrote this book that is a compilation of practical information based on personal experience that “he wished he had when he first became a full time entrepreneur 20 years ago.”
Linkedin cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and entrepreneur and executive Ben Casnocha brilliantly show the parallel between a start-up’s narrative and yours. The most successful start-ups need to be nimble, invest in themselves, build professional networks, take intelligent risks, and take advantage of uncertainty and volatility much like an individual wishing to accelerate his/her career in today’s competitive world. The authors explain the best practices of Silicon Valley start-ups and how to apply them to one’s career.
A classic and a top recommendation for any young entrepreneur, Getting to Yes shows how to effectively negotiate in any situation by searching for the underlying interests of the parties involved. Based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation project, which deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution, Getting to Yes develops a method for reaching good agreements quickly. The four principles of negotiation are the following: 1) separate the people from the problem; 2) focus on interests rather than positions; 3) generate a variety of options before settling on an agreement; and 4) insist that the agreement is based on objective criteria.
A rigorous comparative study spearheaded by author, business consultant, and lecturer Jim Collins, Good to Great illustrates why and how good, mediocre, and even bad companies achieve enduring greatness compared to other companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. Collins and his research team contrast the life trajectories of the two comparison groups and deliver insightful findings as to why “some companies make the leap and others don’t.” Especially groundbreaking is that “some of the key concepts discerned in the study fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people,” comments Jim Collins.
Author Clayton Christensen, the pioneer in disruptive innovation, revolutionized traditional business thinking with The Innovator’s Dilemma by illuminating the concept of disruptive innovations that truly wreak havoc within established industries, radically affect successful businesses and players, and create new markets altogether. Big companies, as explained by Christensen, often overlook the potential of new technologies that are too new and weak for their customers and continue to invest in existing technologies that are already successful and accepted. It’s the new entrants that harness the new technologies and find the right application to the market that allows them to be wildly successful. So successful that they eventually enter more mature markets and disrupt the status quo.
Stephen Segaller tells the story of how the internet developed from a platform for academic geeks and hackers into a billion-dollar medium. Based on four years of research and interviews with the founders of successful companies like Microsoft, Apple, Netscape, Intel, Amazon and others, Segaller comprehensively depicts the transformation of the internet.