It can be said that there is no better way to learn how to start and grow a business than a practical method. At the same time, as someone who has built a "unicorn" from scratch, I can also show that there is a lot of wisdom in giving advice to other people who have experienced hard blows in school. Books are a very easy way to get advice, and there is no shortage of amazing professionals who share what they know through written text. If you're serious about business success, leadership, and building a high-growth company, these are the books I think should be read.
1. The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to Go from $0 to $100 Million (Mark Roberge)
This is a story about how Hubspot reached $ 100 million in annual sales in eight years. My team at KnowBe4 studied how the Hubspot team achieved this goal and we use their best practices as an example.
2. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind (Al Ries and Jack Trout)
Public relations and marketing classics, telling how to make yourself different, make customers think of you and stay in their minds.
3. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win (Jocko Willink and Leif Babin)
This summarizes the highest leadership concepts that SEALs rely on in real combat and shows you how to apply them in your company. We found it very useful in KnowBe4 to encourage personal responsibility and make all employees think that they are the owners of the business.
4. High Output Management (Andrew Grove)
A classic work of the former CEO of Intel, Intel was one of the first organizations to establish a foundation under what we now know as hypergrowth management. This book describes Grove's views on building a business, including how to motivate and build a team.
5. Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth (John Doerr)
Doerr builds on Grove's ideas. This book details your framework, which uses Goals and Key Results (OKRs) to continue rapid growth. The OKR concept is the driving force behind the 10x growth policy in Silicon Valley.
6. The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business (Patrick Lencioni)
Explore corporate culture and corporate health. This book recognizes organizational health as an important competitive advantage and shows you how to achieve it.
7. Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company—and Revolutionized an Industry (Marc Benioff)
The story of how Benioff created Salesforce. This book provides more than 100 "games" (strategies) that address how to manage hypergrowth and are broken down into each department of the organization.
8. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility (Patty McCord)
Deal with company culture from the perspective of human resources. This book is "Did you say it in front of her?" 》This challenges you to use thorough transparency.
9. Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue (Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, and Lincoln Murphy)
An ultimate book on how to make existing customers happy, how to make them happy, and how to renew their contracts, especially for anyone on SaaS.
10. Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell (Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle)
It summarizes the fundamental principles of Professor Bill Campbell, "a trillion dollar coach", who advises visionaries like Steve Jobs and Larry Page.
11. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It (Chris Voss)
As a hostage negotiator for the FBI for two decades, Voss outlined the key principles of good negotiation in almost any area of life. Voss gave a keynote address for KnowBe4 employees at the Capitol Theater in Clearwater, Florida. Find it on YouTube!
12. Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com (Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler)
Considered the "bible" for generating leads, this book explains the sales process for Salesforce.com once it became an industry giant.
13. How Successful People Lead (John C. Maxwell)
A great, short, powerful and simple read that describes the five levels of leadership.
14. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras)
A classic work that explores how enduring companies can help them survive for a long time, not just a few years or decades.
15. The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time (Jim McKelvey)
A manual on how to continuously innovate and create new products.
16. The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells (Robert W. Bly)
Bly is recognized as the best copywriter in the United States and shows you various techniques for good communication in advertisements, banners, etc., so that people can actually buy the products you sell. I recommend it to all my employees, even if writing has nothing to do with their position, because being good at communication, whether oral or written, is an essential skill for everyone.
17. A Data-Driven Computer Defense: A Way to Improve Any Computer Defense (Roger Grimes)
From KnowBe4's own defensive communicator, this book describes how to align your security efforts with the real threats you face. Read to make sure no hackers get in!
18. Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley (Rochelle Kopp and Steven Ganz)
Do you need to speak the language of Silicon Valley to get financing or other support for your business? This is your dictionary.
19. UP and to the RIGHT: Strategy and Tactics of Analyst Influence (Richard Stiennon)
If you sell products to businesses or B2B and you want to be the center of attention of analysts, you need to understand how analysts work, what they do, and how to talk to them. This is a book on how to manage the entire analyst process.