The world of innovation and entrepreneurship feeds on information. For startup and scaleup founders the world over, being the first to have access to innovation can mean the difference between being first to market or a follower, between unicorn potential and straggler status.

That’s why most entrepreneurs read. And they don’t just read, they devour.

Understanding the world just one smidgen more accurately can be the key to predicting and often building the future. From Bill Gates to Mark Cuban, world-famous founders and investors take multiple hours a day out of their mind-numbingly busy schedule to read. When Warren Buffet was asked what the key to his success was and how others could emulate it, he answered:

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

startup entrepreneur books

The popularity of podcasts is growing and audiobooks sales are definitely heading up and to the right, still, nothing can compare to the magic of paper books.

Though not all new books are good and not all good books are new, it’s exciting to see that 2020 is another amazing year for books, especially for the knowledge-hungry entrepreneur. Some of the brightest minds in the world of technology, economics, science, and social innovation are releasing books this year and in this post, we’ve rounded up some of the most exciting releases. These books aren’t strictly business, but they all facilitate a broader, deeper and more nuanced understanding of our world.


The Best Books of 2020 for Startups and Entrepreneurs

No Rules Rules – Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer

“Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings reveals for the first time the unorthodox culture behind one of the world’s most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies

There’s never before been a company like Netflix. Not only because it has led a revolution in the entertainment industries; or because it generates billions of dollars in annual revenue; or even because it is watched by hundreds of millions of people in nearly 200 countries. When Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix, he developed a set of counterintuitive and radical management principles, defying all tradition and expectation, which would allow the company to reinvent itself over and over on the way to becoming one of the most loved brands in the world.” – Penguin Press

No rules rules reed hastings

The Changing Mind: A Neuroscientist’s Guide to Ageing Well – Daniel Levitin

“Predictions are perilous, but here’s one I can make with certainty: Tomorrow you and I will be older than we are today. That’s why you, I, and everyone we know needs this remarkable book. With a scientist’s rigour and a storyteller’s flair, Daniel Levitin offers a fresh approach to growing older. He debunks the idea that ageing inevitably brings infirmity and unhappiness and instead offers a trove of practical, evidence-based guidance for living longer and better. The Changing Mind is an essential book for the rest of your life.”Daniel H. Pink, author of When and Drive

the changing mind

Uncanny Valley : A Memoir – Anna Wiener

“In her mid-twenties, Anna Wiener left her low-paying but rewarding-ish job in New York publishing and sold her soul to Silicon Valley start-up culture. First, she dipped her toe in by taking a job at a books-focused tech company, but soon she made the full plunge, moving West and joining a data analytics company as an early employee. In her debut memoir, Wiener relays firsthand the juxtaposition of the extreme wealth and poverty of San Francisco, most memorably with an anecdote about a homeless man wearing the sweatshirt swag from her company. Her colleague’s response? “I wonder whose it was. We’re not supposed to give away the hoodies.” This perfectly named memoir places Wiener on the map as an astute documenter of our time. She’s now married her worlds and is writing about Silicon Valley, startup culture and tech for national publications.”Sarah Gelman, Amazon Book Review

uncanny valley book

Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber –  Susan Fowler

The unbelievable true story of the young woman who faced down one of the most valuable startups in Silicon Valley history-and what came after. In 2017, twenty-five-year-old Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing the sexual harassment and retaliation she’d experienced as an entry-level engineer at Uber. The post went viral, leading not only to the ouster of Uber’s CEO and twenty other employees but “starting a bonfire on creepy sexual behavior in Silicon Valley that . . . spread to Hollywood and engulfed Harvey Weinstein” – Maureen Dowd, The New York Times

whistle blower book

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life – Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein

“If you properly simplify and organize your work life once, you’ll never have to do it again. Marie Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, sparked a new genre of publishing and became an international bestseller. Now, for the first time, you will be guided through the process of tidying up your work life. In Joy at Work, KonMari method pioneer Marie Kondo and organizational psychologist Scott Sonenshein will help you to refocus your mind on what’s important at work, and as their examples show, the results can be truly life-changing. With advice on how to improve the way you work, the book features advice on problem areas including fundamentals like how to organize your desk, finally get through your emails and find what sparks joy in an open-plan office. Like how the key to successful tidying in the home is by tackling clutter in the correct order, Joy at Work adapts the inspirational KonMari Method for the workplace, taking you step-by-step through your professional environment so that you can identify the most joyful way to work for you. Once you’ve found order in your work life, you can feel empowered to find confidence, energy and motivation to create the career you want and move on from negative working practices.” – Bluebird Publishing

joy at work book

Good Economics for Hard Times – Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo

“Carefully argued and backed with research…Good Economics is an effective response to Banerjee and Duflo’s more thoughtful critics, some of whom argued that devotion to randomised trials had led to a narrowing of economics, in which complex questions that could not be scientifically tested should simply be set aside. The authors make a convincing case that empirical economics contains answers to many vexing problems, from populism to identity politics, especially when economists are willing to range outside their discipline’s confines.”―The Financial Times

good economics for hard times book

The Human Network – Matthew O. Jackson

“Civilization depends on connections between people—on ‘the human network’—for trade, cooperation, and communication. In this beautifully readable and fascinating book, Matt Jackson shows that the science of networks can help answer deep questions such as why inequality and polarization arise, and how biological and financial epidemics spread.”Eric S. Maskin, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Harvard University

the human network book

Stop Reading the News: A Manifesto for a Happier, Calmer and Wiser Life – Rolf Dolbelli

“In 2013 Rolf Dobelli stood in front of a roomful of journalists and proclaimed that he did not read the news. It caused a riot. Now he finally sets down his philosophy in detail. And he practices what he preaches: he hasn’t read the news for a decade.

Stop Reading the News is Dobelli’s manifesto about the dangers of the most toxic form of information – news. He shows the damage it does to our concentration and well-being, and how a misplaced sense of duty can misdirect our behaviour. From the author of the bestselling The Art of Thinking Clearly, Rolf Dobelli’s book offers the reader guidance about how to live without news, and the many potential gains to be had: less disruption, more time, less anxiety, more insights. In a world of increasing disruption and division, Stop Reading the News is a welcome voice of calm and wisdom.” – Sceptre Publishing

stop reading the news books

Edge: Turning Adversity Into Advantage – Laura Huang

“Edge is fun to read, beautifully written and resonant—a worthy addition to every entrepreneur’s toolbox. Laura Huang is a powerful new voice for those that seek to make a ruckus.”Seth Godin, author of This Is Marketing

edge book

Machiavelli: The Art Of Teaching People What To Fear – Patrick Boucheron

“This wise, witty, razor-sharp anatomy of Machiavelli demonstrates why the most notorious thinker of the Renaissance is the perfect companion for our own time.”Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

machiavelli book

Facebook: The Inside Story – Steven Levy

“Steven Levy is the founding guru of technology journalism. Few other writers can harness both access to top figures and critical insight informed by decades of reporting on Silicon Valley. His Facebook book will be a blockbuster, a penetrating account of the momentous consequences of a reckless young company with the power to change the world.”Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store and The Upstarts

facebook book

Designing Your Work Life – Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

“Bill Burnett and Dave Evans successfully taught graduate and undergraduate students at Stanford University and readers of their best-selling book, Designing Your Life (“The prototype for a happy life.” –Brian Lehrer, NPR), that designers don’t analyze, worry, think, complain their way forward; they build their way forward.

In Designing Your Work Life, Burnett and Evans show us how design thinking can transform our present job and our experience of work in general by utilizing the designer mindsets: Curiosity. Reframing. Radical collaboration. Awareness. Bias to action. Storytelling.” – Penguin Random House Publishing

designing your work life book

Bring Yourself: How to Harness the Power of Connection to Negotiate Fearlessly – Mori Taheripour

“In an era and industry that chronically lionizes aggression and intimidation, Taheripour reminds us that claiming our power doesn’t require that we take someone else’s away. She isn’t injecting humanity into the business world simply because it’s ethical, but also because it works, making for more fruitful negotiations all around This book could not have come too soon, and I have no doubt that everyone can benefit from it, especially those who think they have business all figured out.”Melody Moezzi, author of Haldol and Hyacinths and The Rumi Prescription

Bring yourself book

Against Creativity – Oli Mould

“Mixes personal experience and sharp sociological analysis in a highly entertaining takedown of one of today’s most important ideological tropes: creativity. Oli Mould takes the reader on a rather intimate tour behind the flashy scene of creative work, creative people, creative politics, creative technology and, of course, the creative city. Fortunately, he doesn’t leave us in the real dystopia we discover along the way but shows us that a truly creative world is possible.”Sebastian Olma, author of In Defence of Serendipity

against creativity book

I hope you like our selection, let me know what you think in the comments. Did I miss a great one? Have you read any of these books and what did you think?

If your business invests in R&D, it can potentially benefit from an R&D loan, we’re always happy to chat about the options.


Alexandra Kepka

Alex is a tech-focused funding expert, helping innovative companies grow through innovative funding through her work at Fundsquire. She also has a background in journalism, having written for outlets like Vice and many others in the past on topics ranging from philosophy to economics.