Simon McCann runs Launch48 a startup events company that helps entrepreneurs find the right idea, form a team and get going. Simon has worked with countless entrepreneurs and startups and is currently preparing for the next London Launch48 weekend, which you can check out at

Do you have the phone number of a super successful entrepreneur? I thought not. The best way to learn is to find out how others did something. Understand their mind set, what they did, why they did it and how it could be done better.

Luckily for us, super successful entrepreneurs have realised they can make money by writing these nuggets down. I am an avid reader of startup books and feel they are a great source of guidance to fresh faced (and maybe slightly wrinkled) entrepreneurs.

Below are the Top 5 books I would recommend reading if you are interested in setting up your own tech startup.

ReWork – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

(Available from the Escape the City Library – contact

Written by the successful entrepreneurs behind 37 Signals. ReWork is a challenging view on how to create, run and grow a startup. Taking a blunt and direct look at the approach you should follow and what you shouldn’t waste your time doing.

This is a short book but what it lacks in length it makes up for in quality.

The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

(Available from the Escape the City Library – contact

This book takes a scientific approach to setting up a business, but don’t let this put you off. It provides an insightful guide to starting out quickly and cost effectively. It throws long-term business planning and projections out of the window, instead focusing on continuous learning, fast iterations and constant measurement.

It will stop you wasting years of your life and thousands of pounds. Guaranteed.

Do More Faster – David Cohen and Brad Feld

The founders of Techstars, a tech accelerator in the USA, and successful entrepreneurs. It is written by the founders of a range of companies that are / were part of Techstars. This book covers a range of areas to focus on when setting up a business and uses practical experiences to layout examples of what to do and what to avoid.

The Art of the Start – Guy Kawasaki

(Available from the Escape the City Library – contact

Written by an early Apple employee who has been credited with the success of the Macintosh in 1984. Guy Kawasaki is now a highly respected Silicon Valley venture capitalist and successful entrepreneur.

This book is slightly dated but is still packed full of practical advice, in an easy to read format. It takes you from starting out to raising capital and creating a formidable startup. It has a number of exercises that will return you to your school days, but it has an obvious outcome and you are the better entrepreneur for following the teacher.

The Startup Owners Manual: The step-by-step guide for building a great company – Steve Blank and Bob Dorf

The clue is in the title. This is a detailed, step-by-step, guide on what is required to build a great company.

The Startup Owners Manual is in a different class to the above books and is more like a text book. It is not intended to be read in one sitting, or in order, and would be daunting to any fresh entrepreneur. However, give it a chance and read it in small sections, applying the theory to your idea and you are on your way to running your own great company.

Now you’ve read the books let’s go do it…

London has a thriving startup community with events happening every night all over the city. The best way to learn is to go to events, meet people and find out what they are doing.

Ask them if they have read the above books and if they have applied it to their startup. This will provide a great way to see practical application of the above theory.

The Launch48 Weekend in October is a great opportunity to meet likeminded people, including successful entrepreneurs, and try out the above theory in a real world situation.

By the end of the London Launch48 Weekend maybe you will have the phone number of a successful entrepreneur….

Share This