10 Books All Software Startup Founders Should Read

Are you looking for advice on how to grow and scale your new software startup? Maybe you’re looking for tips on how to pitch potential investors or how to form a solid business plan?

As the founder of a software startup, you can never get too much knowledge or information to help your business succeed. Of course, one of the best ways to educate yourself and build your business is through books.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top 10 best startup books for any new software founder.

Let’s get our read on!

1. The Mythical Man-Month

Although this book is a classic, it’s still utterly relevant to software product development today. Plus, it has been recently revised and corrected. The best lesson in this book is the “plan to throw out” prototype chapter. It’s essential to plan to throw out so you can migrate your users to what comes next because every software product will inevitably evolve. For anyone involved in the software industry, this book tops our list as a definite must-read.

2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Ben Horowitz, the author of our #2 must-read book, is a powerhouse responsible for Netscape, Loudcloud (one of the first businesses to use the software-as-a-service model), and Andreessen Horowitz (one of the most prosperous VC firms). He is more than qualified to talk about the challenges of growing a startup. In this book, he uses a mix of humour and straight-talk to inform readers about software development, management, investment, and how to sell a business. Any SaaS founder will want to read this.

3. Programming Pearls (2nd Edition)

As a software startup founder, you’ll need to think like a programmer, and there’s no better book out there to help you do just that then Programming Pearls. This book is a collection of 15 columns that cover a wide range of topics related to programming. But this book isn’t your typical read on how to learn something new instead it’s all about helping you become a better problem solver.

4. Crossing The Chasm

As a software startup founder, you’ll want to understand the ins and outs of high-tech marketing. No one does it better than Geoffrey Moore, who offers excellent strategies and advice for taking your business from early adopters to mainstream consumers.

5. Zero to One

Although this book applies to any startup founder, the insights and lessons contained in the pages will be just as beneficial to those starting a software-related company. One of the best lessons here is how great companies are built from unconventional insights and contradictory beliefs.

6. Product Leadership

As a software startup founder, it’s imperative to understand how to launch your product and run a team successfully. Product Leadership will help you do just that through tested and proven advice. No matter the size of your startup this book will have something for you.

7. Contagious

As the founder of a software startup, you probably have a good understanding of the online world but if you’re looking for ways to make your company go viral you’ll want to read this book by Jonah Berger. In it, he looks at the qualities that viral things share and the psychology behind it.

8. Lean Analytics

Software startup founders are sure to love this book! At its core, the book talks about how to prioritise properly by choosing a single, key performance metric and running experiments until it's improved enough to move on to the next task.

For those getting tired of trying to improve everything at once, you’ll love the straightforward and simple guidance that Lean Analytics and its 30+ case studies provide.

9. CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Chances are you’re going to need to dive deep and figure out how to fix a pesky bug at some point in your startups’ career, and this book might really come in handy. It details how to create and develop complex systems and talks about various programming concepts including decimal, octal, and binary number systems and high-level languages. It’s a great read to gain an understanding of what you are building on top of and how the whole system works.

10. The Innovator's Dilemma

Startups are all about disruption but when your startup succeeds how can you avoid being disrupted? This essential question is answered in Clayton Christensen’s book along with other important questions like why do large corporations leave themselves open to being interrupted? As a Harvard Business School professor, you’ll want to listen to Christensen’s expertise. Chock full of examples from various industries, The Innovator's Dilemma is an actionable handbook and a helpful guide for any SaaS founder eager to disrupt the status-quo.

Hungry for More?

Now that you’ve read our top ten favourite books that all software startup founders should read (or at least added them to your list) you might want to really sink your teeth in!

Fortunately, Udemy offers some top-notch online programming courses from programming languages to software testing to web development and everything in between while Coursera offers master’s degrees in Computer Science and Computer and Information Technology among other shorter courses if you’re really looking to go the distance.

Naturally, CodeFirst is also here to help you on your software startup journey. We provide access to top software developers, and we can help you deliver second-to-none solutions. So don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and see how we can scale your startup together.