Every new year brings along with it a new crop of startups, but not all will make it past the first stages. While some will go on to achieve billion dollar valuations and beyond, others will get drowned out in the increasingly crowded field. Making your startup successful means aiming for success while dodging classic startup killers — the best way to know how is by learning from those who have been there before. 

Here are 10 authors who have seen the highs and lows of the startup journey and have invaluable knowledge for you to draw from:

1. Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger – Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different

In the first days of your startup, your success will be defined by your hunger as much as anything else. Rare Breed is a crucial call-to-action for all movers and shakers looking to make an impact from the get-go. Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger have seen firsthand what difference ferocity can make, and they’re here to let you know how to wield it. 

2. Benny Ausmus – The Transformational Leadership Compass: A Dynamic Coaching System for Creating Big Change

Success as a business means success as an organization; companies with visionary leaders and ideas get nowhere if their antiquated structure is holding them back. The Transformational Leadership Compass is Benny Ausmus’s clear and concise look into how leaders can make organizations change from within without sacrificing efficiency or productivity at any step of the process. 

3. Alyssa Simpson Rochwerger and Wilson Pang – Real World AI: A Practical Guide for Responsible Machine Learning 

Artificial intelligence seems to be on everyone’s minds these days, but how can you turn it into a real tool for your business? Alyssa Simpson Rochwerger and Wilson Pang have seen both the good and the bad that AI can do, and Real World AI is their how-to guide for using the cutting-edge technology as responsibly as possible in an enterprise setting.

4. Eva Yazhari – The Good Your Money Can Do: Becoming A Conscious Investor

The Good Your Money Can Do is emblematic of the mindset of many investors today: it’s one thing to make money, but it’s another to make the world a better place with money. Eva Yazhari’s how-to for conscious investing should be a blueprint for how to ensure that your startup operates in such a way that ethical investors will be happy to sign on with you. 


5. Steven Cardinale – Synaptic Alchemy: The Art & Science of Turning Ideas into Gold

What if success is just as much about your state of mind as it is your business itself? That may sound provocative, but Steven Cardinale backs it up in Synaptic Alchemy. Contained within the book is a framework for bringing your mind to exactly the right place: the place where new and innovative ideas come as quickly as they need to in order to keep your business moving forward.

6. Amos Schwartzfarb and Trevor Boehm – Levers: The Framework for Building Repeatability into Your Business

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — but how should you build an unbreakable thing in the first place? The best kind of growth model is one that can be repeated over and over again; Levers is Amos Scwartzfarb and Trevor Boehm’s assessment of how repeatability could be implemented in just about any kind of business, including and especially your own. 

7. Don Wenner – Building an Elite Organization: The Blueprint to Scaling a High-Growth, High-Profit Business

All you need to know here can be found right in the title. Building an Elite Organization is a valuable read at every step of your startup journey, but the sooner you start flipping through its pages, the more you’ll be able to extract from Don Wenner’s insight over your career. 

8. Cactus Raazi – Price: Maximizing Customer Loyalty through Personalized Pricing 

The one thing a young startup needs, perhaps more than anything else, is a loyal consumer base. Cactus Raazi knows this better than anyone, and he outlines his philosophy of pricing personalization in Price. Once you know how to adjust each of your customers’ prices accordingly, you’ll be well on your way to lasting success. 

9. Eric Redmond – Deep Tech: Demystifying the Breakthrough Technologies That Will Revolutionize Everything 

Every company is a tech company these days, and Deep Tech is an in-depth look into what that may translate to for your business. Not all technologies will be deployable in your workplace, but those that are can make a world of difference — Eric Redmond can help sort through it all. 

10. Alan Payne – Built to Fail: The Inside Story of Blockbuster’s Inevitable Bust

Sometimes the best way to figure out your path to success is by analyzing others’ paths to failure. Built to Fail is Alan Payne’s insightful account into what turned Blockbuster from a national phenomenon into shorthand for organizational failure — consider it a “what not to do” guide. 

Every startup is different, but each needs growth in order to get ahead. These books can help you achieve that kind of growth while allowing you to sidestep the pitfalls that may come along with it.