Reading List for Young Entrepreneurs

Next week I am going on a short vacation. Which, after six months of working full-time, has allowed me to understand why adults have always loved taking time off at the beach.

The beach is a place where you can lay out, read a book, and do nothing. You can simply relax. Now more than ever have I looked forward to this prospect.

Relaxing and taking time away from work presents the perfect opportunity to focus on personal development. For a few days you can forget about the client project you need to build and solely concentrate on yourself. For me, this means reading.

Books are great (I would have never said this while I was still in college). Taking a few down to the beach while on vacation is a must, and for the past week I have been researching, reading reviews, and deliberating on what books I would purchase and take with me this year. Finally I came up with a list – the theme, entrepreneurship.

Zero to One – Peter Thiel

During my research I found a variety of different reading lists. On every list that was geared towards start-ups, entrepreneurship, or business Thiel’s Zero to One was on it.

After researching further, this book seemed like a must read. A paragraph from the websites about page sealed the deal;

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Copying others takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace; they will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

How Breakthroughs Happen – Andrew Hargadon

Hargadon is a graduate professor of technology management at University of California, Davis. Reading his How Breakthroughs Happen will serve as a substitute for no longer attending college classes. A short summary of his publication convinced me to purchase the book;

How Breakthroughs Happen takes us beyond the simple recognition that revolutionary innovations do not result from flashes of brilliance by lone inventors or organizations. In fact, innovation is really about creatively recombining ideas, people, and objects from past technologies in ways that spark new technological revolutions.

The American Challenge – Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber

Published in 1967, The American Challenge is by far the oldest book on my summer reading list. I came across it while reading an article on Peter Thiel’s book recommendations. Thiel said of the book, “[it] got a lot things right, but certainly there were things that didn’t quite happen, and you always have to ask yourselves why they didn’t. This whole category of past books about the future is a very interesting one, and that is one that I always recommend very strongly.”

Hooked – Nir Eyal

I came across Nir Eyal’s Hooked while researching books related to product development. Eyal is a successful business man who presents the “hook model” of engagement. A short summary of the book says;

Hooked is based on Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience. He wrote the book he wished had been available to him as a start-up founder—not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.


There are plenty of places online to find other reading suggestions. Here are a few tools I used to help create this reading list for young entrepreneurs.

About the author

I'm Zach Shefska, welcome to my personal website. I'm currently working on CarEdge. I like to travel, write, and make pottery.