8 books to read to fuel your entrepreneurial itch

So you have the itch.. the entrepreneur’s itch. Being in Silicon Valley it’s hard not to have it when you get to rub shoulders with many founders and investors on a weekly basis at the many meetup events organized by like minded individuals. There you hear many inspiring stories and adventures in entrepreneurship and how you too can walk that path when you set your mind to it. Read Cortney Fletcher’s eCom babes course reviews to get you rolling on this journey. I also have my top 8 books listed below which are sure to fuel your entrepreneurial itch!

Keys to the Vault: Lessons From the Pros on Raising Money and Igniting Your Business

by Keith J. Cunningham, the Real Rich Dad from Robert Kiyosaki’s popular series Rich Dad Poor Dad. Keith is also a speaker at Anthony Robbins Mastery University.

I purchased this book after being inspired by Keith during a presentation on business entrepreneurs. Keys to the Vault is The Formula, the recipe, for raising money and creating a successful business. No fat in this book, just pure step by step here’s how the industry works and here’s how you can do it yourself – step by step! My favorite of the lot.

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days

by Jessica Livingston, founding partner of the valley’s famous seed stage venture firm Y Combinator.

I purchased this book after being inspired at Startup School, by YCombinator. Founders at Work is a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days. Some of the companies in question include Apple, Flickr, PayPal, Gmail, Twitter etc. You will learn that these founders had no special human powers but persevered during hard times and worked hard towards their vision.

Never Get a “Real” Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke

by Scott Gerber, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, media personality, public speaker and the most-syndicated young entrepreneurship columnist in the world.

I purchased this book after being inspired by a very successful Silicon Valley CEO – his company is mentioned inside this book. Never Get a “Real” Job is straight to the point, no bullshit, that having a JOB (Just Over Broke) suxs! Being an employee is not rewarding enough as being an entrepreneur. This book is a wake up call and tells you how to make dramatic changes from an employee to an entrepreneur without going broke.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

by Peter F Drucker, who was a writer, management consultant, and self-described “social ecologist.”.

Peter shares with us an excellent framework for innovation providing some general guidelines for identifying innovative opportunities. The key take away is that successful entrepreneurs do not wait until having a “bright idea”; they go to work. He was ahead of his time, a man of pure genius!


by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of the very profitable and successful 37signals.

37signals business model of profits from the word go inspires me hence why I purchased this book. Rework is a collection of the best posts from Signal vs. Noise, a weblog by 37signals about design, business, experience, simplicity, the web, culture, and more. The book can be read in 2 hours and it damn straight to the point. It will make you extremely uncomfortable. But that’s why it’s so good because it breaks through all the bullshit and tells you how it really is.

The Monk and the Riddle : The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur

by Randy Komisar, a new breed of executives who have been called “virtual CEO’s with a wealth of experience under his belt.

Randy takes the reader through a hypothetical Silicon Valley start-up and what it takes to get a business running, funded and profitable. This books reminds me of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny with a focus on Silicon Valley startup.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

by Daniel H. Pink, an American writer, speechwriter, and motivational speaker.

The holy grail of people management. Daniel shares with us the surprising truth. People want Autonomy (control over their work), Mastery (get better at what they do) and Purpose (to be part of something that is bigger than they are). It’s that simple. Yet many employers fail to see this and use old aged approaches. Here’s a fantastic 10 minute animated cap by RSA of what the book is about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

by John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant whom publishes fascinating insights on his Brain Rules website about what’s really going on inside our heads.

I am also a life hacker, and as such, this book had to sit in my book shelf. If workplaces had nap rooms, multitasking was frowned upon, and meetings were held during walks, we’d be vastly more productive. Brain Rules reveals – in plain English – 12 ways our brains truly work. Killer killer killer content – it will reshape how you do business and function on a daily basis.

ReadingList – what else am I reading?

If you like my suggestion of books I highly recommend you run my Facebook App called ReadingList where I share with my followers all the cool books I’m reading, my reviews and comments. Give it a shot, it’s a FREE app. Go there now: http://apps.facebook.com/readinglist

I love comments so don’t forget to say G’day to this Aussie in Silicon Valley.

~ Ernest

Facebook App: ReadingList – share your books

Gain wisdom of the world. As the famous Jim Rohn stated ~ “All Leaders Are Readers”. If you are a book worm and also on Facebook then you should grab this free awesome Facebook Application I developed called ReadingList.

What is ReadingList?

ReadingList allows you to share the books you are reading or have read with your friends on Facebook. It also acts as your online library to store the list of your books. Simple, easy to use and it works! What better way to inspire your Facebook friends then by sharing the great books in your books library. Be a leader and start inspiring your friends on Facebook today and make a difference in their life.

Give ReadingList a try. Visit this URL:

ReadingList in detail

The product is simple. Both from ease of use to functionality.

Fig 1 screen shot below illustrates how your Facebook Wall will look when you add / update a book in the ReadingList application. Now your friends can see the cool book you are reading along with whether you recommend it and your personal comments about this book – cool hey!

Fig1. Your book activity gets posted to your Facebook wall to inspire your friends

Fig 2 screen shot below is of the main page where you search for a book you are reading or have read. The search mechanism automatically looks up Amazon books repository and presents the findings in a horizontally scrollable pane. When you locate the book you want to add click “Select book” button beneath the book image.

Fig2. Find a book and share it with your Facebook friends

Fig 3 screen shot below is of the community page where you can see what your friends and other users of ReadingList application are reading. This is a great page to learn about other new cool and exciting books.

Fig3. See what the ReadingList community is reading

Give ReadingList a try. Visit this URL:

Under the hood – for the tech savvy

Here’s a breakdown of the technology behind this Facebook Application ReadingList:

  • ReadingList was built on a LAMP stack – Linux (CentOS 5.5), Apache, MySQL 5 and PHP 5.2.
  • ReadingList runs through a powerful open source PHP web application Framework with a small footprint called CodeIgniter 1.7. (update: as of Feb 8, 2010 it is now upgraded to the better & faster 2.0)
  • On the front-end, latest version of jQuery is used to achieve UI behaviors.
  • The Software Architecture behind ReadingList is MVC (Model–View–Controller) with Active record pattern.
  • ReadingList also uses OAuth with Facebook Graph API and Amazon Web Services API.
  • Future performance (and fun) enhancements on the cards are Memcache, Apache Cassandra (NoSQL) and Facebook’s HipHop.

Toby Beresford did an informative presentation in London on CodeIgniter as a great framework for rapid application development. See it on Slideshare here.

If you have any ideas how I can further enhance this application especially around the product side please let me know in the “Discussions” area here: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=102322113161984 or drop a comment below.

~ Ernest

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