Keys to Your Startup’s Success-Don’t Just Read Every Book

Not every book for entrepreneurs is going to help you with your startup

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

#1 — Is the book filled with examples?

Anyone can make a claim. And it can be very tempting to believe a claim is true. Especially if that claim appeals to something that we want to believe. Claims like, “How to get a 6-pack in 6 days.” “How to sell your startup idea for $1 million.” “How I made $10,000 my 1st-month blogging.” Many times these types of articles do very well. Why? Because people want to believe all these claims. They want to believe they can have a 6-pack in 6 days. They want to believe that without the vigorous, intense work, they can sell an idea for $1 million. They want to believe they can start a blog, and one month later have $10,000. But these articles and books, if not based on a lie, are based on one example of someone succeeding. Why is that a problem? Because one example is not adequate to prove a strategy or principal as worthy of imitation. Why not?

  • Lean Startup by Eric Reis
  • The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven G. Blank
  • Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A Moore

#2–How long has the book been around?

I’d like to preface this by saying that I’m not against new books. New books can be packed with valuable information. So by all means, if you stumble across a great new book, that’s awesome. However, there is something special about a book that has passed the test of time. Why?

”What allows the fledgling enterprise to win over pragmatist customers in advance of broader market acceptance, is focusing an overabundance of support into a confined market niche.” — Crossing the Chasm

The principle above applies to whatever business you’re pursuing. No matter the nature of your startup, finding a niche is crucial. The book was written in 1991. It’s been revised, but the principles have not been changed. The examples might be different, reflecting more current companies. But the core message remains. That shows the power of the content of this book.

#3–Do other de facto standard books mention this writing?

Those who speak the truth, recognize the truth. They also recognize those who talk big with little results. David Ogilvy says…

“There have always been noisy lunatics on the fringes of the advertising business. Their stock-in-trade includes ethnic humor, eccentric art direction, contempt for research, and their self-proclaimed genius. They are seldom found out, because they gravitate to the kind of clients who, bamboozled by their rhetoric, do not hold them responsible for sales results” — Ogilvy On Advertising

You have to be careful. Some of these self-proclaimed geniuses write books. One way to ensure that the books you’re reading are legit is by looking at the books that the standards reference.

  • Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples and Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins are two other standard advertising books recommended in the book Ogilvy On Advertising.

When you find a good book, read it multiple times

What is more beneficial than reading as many books as you can, is to read the great books multiple times. Books can be applied in so many different scenarios. Throughout the life of your startup, various principles of the books you read will apply at different times. By continuing to read those books you’ll see how they apply to your current situation.

“It’s what we think we know that keeps us from learning.”

Don’t think that you can read a book one time and retain all its wisdom. No, you need to go back to it. Allow it to be a reference that you consider when making decisions. The more you read the books, the better you’ll be able to apply them.

Final Thoughts

There are many books out there. Millions of them. Be selective. Your time is limited. Reading a book in itself does not mean an improved mindset. Make sure the books you’re reading are the right ones. Do your research. Don’t believe that any and every book is going to help you. There are examples of large groups of people following the advice of a book, and having disastrous consequences. But there are examples of people reading the right books and that being the ticket to their success. So read the right books. Your chances of success will increase greatly.

I’m a 10+ year iOS Developer whose worked with 6 startups. This past year I released 6 iOS and web apps. Follow me and learn how to make your Startup a success.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store