21 Books On Business, Design and Development Every Entrepreneur Should Read

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With holidays just around the corner, we decided to share with you a couple of our favourite tomes: the following list covers a broad range of topics and will be an excellent resource for everyone interested in modern technologies and how they change. The list was prepared by the entire Macoscope Team, so it will include recommendations from developers, designers, but also from the Macoscope founders, the latter focused more on operations, sales, and marketing. Hope you will find our listing inspirational!

The Classics

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends & Influence People

Offering simple yet substantial insights into human nature, the volume really captures the complexities of the relationships we create. A helpful read for anyone surrounded by human beings, really encourages the use of a more intuitive and empathetic approach in everyday interactions.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Covey’s bestseller offers a plethora of interesting and useful strategies for personal management collaborating with other people. It also provides inspiring thoughts on delegating tasks and covers the Stewardship Delegation idea, focusing on results instead of methods.

Donald C. Gause, Gerald M. Weinberg, Are Your Lights On: How to Figure Out What the Problem Really Is?

This well-written book doesn’t just focus on simple problem solving techniques, instead it teaches how to think critically to understand them thoroughly.

Building Organizations

Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness

A tremendously interesting classification of organizations from a historical perspective interspersed with thoughts for future development.

Peter Thiel, Blake Masters, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel, famous entrepreneur and investor, shares his thoughts on creating new things and provides a healthy look at the world of startups and building value for the future.

Ash Maurya, Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works

If you still don’t know what “product/market fit” is exactly and how you can achieve it, what a Lean Startup is and what role Customer Development plays in it, you should start reading this book right now. The book isn’t only for business owners or people planning on starting a business, developers and programmers will also greatly benefit from the precepts it espouses.

37signals, Getting Real

The book by 37signals, the team behind Basecamp, Campfire and Ruby on Rails provides details on their business, design, programming, and marketing principles. The authors explain how the Getting Real process helped them launch those successful projects in only two years, with a staff of 7, and without getting into debt or looking for outside funding.

Furthermore, the book is available for free, so get your copy now!

Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

A well-written, open, humble, and honest story on what being an entrepreneur really is, and how hard that reality can be. Quite the fresh read in a world brimming with platitudes on how great it is to start a company and how you should embrace your failures.

Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Business Model Generation

This book will teach you the basics of designing and implementing a business model as well as analyzing and re-designing old ones. Perfect for doers in a need of a strategy for adapting to new business realities.

Jurgen Appelo, Management 3.0

According to leading Agile manager Jurgen Appelo, today’s organizations are living, networked systems; in turn, management becomes centered around people and the relationships we have with them. The book provides a variety of tools that help with solving teamwork problems in Agile organizations.

Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace, Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two decades, you have probably seen at least a couple of movies by Pixar Animation Studios, the Academy Award-winning film studio co-founded (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) by Ed Catmull. His book is a must-read for managers who aspire to be leaders for their employees, but also for anyone interested in behind-the-scenes info on Pixar’s creative culture: their meetings, “Braintrust” sessions, and how they communicate, especially when it comes to critical feedback.

If you are a developer, you will be surprised to find out how similar the creative process in the studio is to your daily efforts creating software.

Leah Buley, The User Experience Team of One. A Research and Design Survival Guide

No matter whether you are already a seasoned practitioner or you’re just starting your journey with user-centered design, this book will guide you through range of approaches and helpful resources.

Design

Jennifer Visocky O’Grady, Ken O’Grady, A Designer’s Research Manual

Some people claim that all the difference between a great and a good design lies in doing proper research. This book provides a detailed manual for designers interested in learning about design research, why it’s necessary, the comprehensive process behind it, and how to apply its results to design work.

Mike Monteiro, Design Is a Job

A brilliant read by Monteiro that demystifies and demythologizes design as the “unicorn among the professions”, and demonstrates that it is occupation like any other, one which requires being honest and responsible in front of the customers.

You don’t have to be designer to enjoy it, though!

Development

Charles Petzold, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Even though we work in a mobile app design & development company, not all of us are developers or designers. For the “ordinary humans” who take care of marketing and sales, but still are interested in learning something about development, our coding staff recommends reading this excellent volume.

Jonathan Zdziarski, Hacking and Securing iOS Applications: Stealing Data, Hijacking Software, and How to Prevent It

This handy guide will provide you with the know-how on types of iOS attacks, the tools and techniques that hackers use, and how to secure your applications against those vulnerabilities.

Customer Service

Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose

Even though the whole holacracy system seems to be having many serious issues right now, Tony Hsieh’s assertion that focusing on company culture is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business is still holds absolutely true. Making your enterprise client-oriented makes the highest sense in every industry out there, regardless of whether you’re selling sneakers or high-end mobile apps.

Other

Alfred Lansing, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

One of the most amazing books on determination and bravery, covering the history of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s fateful trip. Lansing put incredible effort into researching the book, he consulted with ten of the surviving members of the expedition, and was able to gain access to diaries of eight others.

Michio Kaku, The Future of the Mind

Is there anything more fascinating and complex than the human brain? After reading this mind-blowing book you will be absolutely certain that there simply isn’t.

Yuval Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

An extensive overview of where we come from, what influences our contemporary reality, and how different the future can be from what we expect it to be.

Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Where Automation is Taking Us

Nicholas Carr demonstrates how the most important decisions of our lives are increasingly often being made by automation systems influencing our ability to learn and solve issues. Are we, by creating a more automated world, really devising a better future for mankind or is it quite the opposite and we are pushing the world in a direction that will fit us less and less?

Your turn! What are your favourite books? What recommendations would you give to our team?

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