Resources and Readings

Thanks to Internet search technology and social media interconnec­tivity, answers to most entrepreneurial questions can be found with a few clicks. I have attempted to list sources beyond the usual sus­pects, organized by the four quadrants offounder, market, math, and ex­ecution, along with a general section at the end. For an expanded, updated list, see www. ReadyFounder. com.


Chapter Three - Founder Readiness

Entrepreneur Core Characteristics Profile (ECCP). The ECCP is a psy­chological assessment tool designed to help aspiring and prac­ticing entrepreneurs understand how their distinctive personality traits and tendencies match up with characteristics of the typi­cally successful entrepreneur. See Www. ReadyFounder. com For more information.

Dweck, Carol. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Bal­lentine, 2006. Dweck emphasizes the power of honest self­appraisal and commitment to the continuous road to mastery.

Pink, Daniel. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York. Penguin, 2009. A useful exploration of internal motivation (see pages 153—161 for “Nine Strategies for Awakening Your Mo­tivation”).

Cornwell, Jeff. The Entrepreneurial Mind, www. drjeffcornwall. com. Cornwell keeps a foot in both the academic and practical worlds and brings a first-hand understanding of the challenges and tradeoffs of a founding role.

Slim, Pamela. Escape from Cubicle Nation. New York. Portfolio, 2009. Www. escapefromcubiclenation. com. Pam is the model for healthy entrepreneurial passion and has mastered the terrain of the founder’s personal journey as well as anyone I know.

Livingston, Jessica. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days. Berkeley, CA. Apress, 2007. A fascinating collection of extensive interviews with technology venture founders about their early - phase experiences.


Chapter Four - The Pull of the Market

Thomson, David G. Blueprint to a Billion: 7 Essentials to Achieve Exponen­tial Growth. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Whether or not you are interested in growing a billion-dollar business, Thom­son’s research has isolated market-oriented growth principles that apply to all ventures. (See especially Chapters 3, 4, and 5.)

Terwiesch, Christian, and Karl Ulrich. Innovation Tournaments: Creat­ing and Selecting Exceptional Opportunities. www. innovationtourna Ments. com. The authors outline an intriguing process for vetting ideas and opportunities in a competitive free-market framework.

Sull, Donald N. “Strategy as Active Waiting.” Harvard Business Review, September 2005. In this article, Sull provides insights and tactics for monitoring and responding to market forces, including scan­ning for market “anomalies.”

Seth Godin Blog, The. Http://sethgodin. typepad. com. Also check out Godin’s book, The Dip (New York: Portfolio, 2007), for a quick, useful immersion into the question of when to stay the course or change direction.

Steven Blank Blog, The. Http://steveblank. com. I think of Steve Blank as the godfather of market focus. His first book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany (San Mateo, CA: Cafepress, 2005), is not for the ca­sual reader, but it introduced the groundbreaking notion of “cus­tomer development” (vs. product development).

Ries, Eric. “The Five Whys for Start-Ups.” Harvard Business Review, Http://blogs. hbr. org/cs/2010/04/the_five_whys_for_startups. html. Borrowing from lean manufacturing techniques, Ries illustrates a simple, powerful tool for fixing the root causes of business prob­lems.


Chapter Five - Your Math Story

Berry, Tim. The Plan-as-You-Go Business Plan. Irvine, CA: Entrepre­neur Press, 2008. A flexible, commonsense approach to planning from a planning guru. Favorite quote: “If you dread planning your startup, don’t start it.”

Osterwalder, Alexander, and Yves Pigneur. Business Model Generation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. The definitive framework for getting clear on what you are attempting to do with your ven­ture.

Buffett, Warren E. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., Chairman’s Letters to Shareholders (1977-2009), http://www. berkshirehathaway. com/ Letters/letters. html. Although Buffett is famous for proclaiming “we don’t do startups,” the fundamental business logic repre­sented in more than two decades of his letters to Berkshire Hath­away shareholders is invaluable for any aspiring entrepreneur who wants to ground a business model in proven fundamentals of venture success.

Reiss, Bob, and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank. Low Risk, High Reward: Practical Prescriptions for Starting and GrowingYour Business. New York: The Free Press, 2000. Bob Reiss is a timeless entrepreneur, whose in­sights apply across new and old school industries. Chapter 2, on numeracy, and Chapter 3, on managing risk, will help you develop a clear, compelling math story.

Wilson, Fred. http://www. avc. com. The principal of Union Square Ventures, offers a refreshing take on VC funding issues and op­portunities.

Charan, Ram, and Noel M. Tichy. Every Business Is a Growth Business. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Insight into universal market principles that endure over time and apply across industries. Cha - ran and Tichy outline simple, powerful ways of thinking about growth and return. (See especially Chapter 3.)

Graham, Paul. A Fundraising Survival Guide (Essay). http://www. paul Graham. com/fundraising. html. A humorous, unvarnished look at the rigors of raising money, with tips on bootstrapping.

The Angel Capital Association. http://www. angelcapital

Association. org/.

Venture Beat. www. venturebeat. com.


Chapter Six - Startup Agility

Sull, Donald N. The Upside of Turbulence: Seizing Opportunity in an Un­certain World. New York: Harper Collins, 2009, and Www. donald Sull. com. Sull is one of my favorite thinkers and strategists. His work on the nature of managerial commitments directly trans­lates to tough choices facing new founders.

Ries, Eric. www. startuplessonslearned. com. Eric Ries has led a revo­lutionary wave of work on the concept of “the lean startup.” An­other technology-oriented entrepreneur and thought leader whose ideas apply to new ventures of all types and sizes.

Ries, Eric. “The Five Whys for Start-Ups.” Harvard Business Review, Http://blogs. hbr. org/cs/2010/04/the_five_whys_for_startups. html. Borrowing from lean manufacturing techniques, Ries illustrates a simple, powerful tool for fixing the root causes of business problems.

Senge, Peter, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard Ross, and Bryan Smith. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. New York: Doubleday, 1994. A treasure trove of ideas and tools for learning and mastery in team and organizational contexts. (See “the wheel of learning,” “systems thinking,” and “team learning” concepts for agility - and learning-oriented content.)

Spear, Steven J. The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Op­erational Excellence to Beat the Competition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Spear is a talented thinker and writer whose work is all about problem-solving speed, continuous improvement, and how to leverage mistakes and “not knowing” for high performance.

After Action Review Process (AAR). http://www. fireleadership. gov /toolbox/after_action_review/aar. pdf. Originated in the U. S. Army and now widely used to incorporate lessons from any event into an ongoing cycle of learning.

Chapter Seven - Integrity of Communication

Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York. Random House, 2007. An instant classic on how to ensure that your ideas cut through the clutter of the information age.

Collins, Jim. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don’t. New York. Harper Collins, 2001 and www. jim Collins. com. Collins has made many contributions to leadership and organizational excellence. Most relevant here are his ideas on the value of “confronting the brutal facts.”

Tedlow, Richard S. Denial: Why Business Leaders Fail to Look Facts in the Face—and What to Do About It. New York. Portfolio, 2010. Tedlow explores how denial trips up many over-optimistic entrepreneurs in this classic book.

Finkelstein, Sydney, Jo Whitehead, and Andrew Campbell. Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it from Happening to You. Boston. Harvard Business Press, 2008. The authors provide cases and anecdotes confirming the powerful ef­fect of cognitive and emotional biases in human decision-making.

Macher, Ken. http.//www. managementadvances. com. Ken Macher is one of the best at teaching venture teams to talk skillfully about their most critical issues.

Senge, Peter, et al. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. New York. Doubleday, 1994. This work deserves another mention for its section on “mental models,” outlining several powerful tools for talking skillfully about things that matter most.

Scott, Susan. Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time. New York. Berkley Publishing Group, 2002. A simple, powerful set of tools and approaches for ensuring that communication is a competitive advantage in your venture team.

Chapter Eight - Staying Power

Crenshaw, Dave. The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing It All Gets Nothing Done. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008.

Human Performance Institute. Http://hpinstitute. com/index. html. Training programs and tools for gaining and managing energy for the challenges of building a business over time. Founded by Jim Loehr (see below).

Loehr, Jim, and Tony Schwartz. The Power of Full Engagement:: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. New York: The Free Press, 2003. A full treatment of the concepts first offered in the Loehr and Schwartz article “The Corporate Athlete” (Harvard Business Review, January 2001).

Stallard, Michael. Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity, and Productivity. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007. Emphasizes the importance of a “connection culture” in building sustainable performance and resilience among any team or workplace.


For basic checklists and tools for getting started, see www. inc. com and www. entrepreneur. com.

Ready Founder Services. www. readyfounder. com. Provides a frame­work and tools for evaluating and improving a venture idea, or for elevating the performance of an already existing business.

Women Entrepreneur. Http://www. womenentrepreneur. com/. Full slate of content, tools, and advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs from publishers of Entrepreneur magazine.

Leonard, George. Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfill­ment. New York. Penguin, 1992. This brief gem of a book will re­ward anyone interested in timeless and practical insights into how to achieve and sustain high performance.

Bygrave, William, and Andrew Zacharakis. Entrepreneurship. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, 2008. A soup-to-nuts tour of the entre­preneurial process that blends academic findings with accessible cases and practical tools.

Kawasaki, Guy. The Art of the Start. New York. Portfolio, 2004. Helpful advice from a serial entrepreneur/guru and digital age connector.

Harvard Business Review on Entrepreneurship (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series). This compendium is a bit dated (most articles were written in the 1990s), but Amar Bhide’s featured pieces are timeless, capturing key issues and approaches for launching and managing new ventures.

Graham, Paul. www. paulgraham. com. Any time digesting Graham’s essays is time well spent for an aspiring founder. A hacker at heart with universal appeal.

Drucker, Peter, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. New York. Harper & Row, 1985. Written in 1985 when the Internet was still a seed, so Drucker’s wisdom must be filtered to apply in the digital age. But his core tenets continue to resonate.

SCORE. Counselors to America’s Small Business.

Http.//www. score. org/index. html.

Small Business Administration (SBA). http.//www. sba. gov/.

Kauffman Foundation, The. http.//www. kauffman. org/.


Startup Readiness Tool

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The deepest form of entrepreneurial commitment acknowledges and accepts that there are forces in the marketplace that are beyond the founder’s control, forces that will impact the venture’s destiny for …

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