4 books every cybersecurity startup founder needs to read (and 15 more that can be helpful)
I believe there are only a few books that everyone starting a cybersecurity startup should read; the rest will depend on their unique areas of focus and areas of weaknesses, and their company.
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4 books every cybersecurity founder needs to read
Whenever I read the so-called book recommendations for startup founders, it always amazes me that authors of these lists think founders have time to read 30-50 books. Sure, it would be great, but it is also hard to do when you are trying to get an early-stage venture off the ground.
I believe there are only a few books that everyone starting a cybersecurity startup should read; the rest will depend on their unique areas of focus and areas of weaknesses, and the company they are building.
While there are no playbooks for building a startup, there are a number of resources that have proven to be incredibly useful for startup founders and leadership teams. With that, here are the four books I believe every cybersecurity founder should read:
If you only read one book, make it The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Core principles for life, work, and business: Principles: Life and Work
To get into the mindset of creating the company that will shape the future, get Zero to One
Learn about ways to see if your business idea makes sense when everyone - our friends and people you ask will say things to make you feel good: The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you
15 books cybersecurity startup founders can benefit from reading
In the part that follows, you can find a larger list of recommended reads divided by category. Most of the books are short, light, and practical. If you feel like you would benefit from diving deeper into a specific topic or if you are trying to solve a particular problem (i.e., raise capital), books in this section offer lots of invaluable advice.
Think about the future of the industry
Get a framework to identify where new opportunities in cybersecurity can come from and what to build: Cyber Defense Matrix: The Essential Guide to Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape
Reflect on the future of cybersecurity: Rethinking InfoSec: Thoughts on why today's Information Security doesn't work, and how we can do better
Learn about influencing the industry analysts: UP and to the RIGHT: Strategy and Tactics of Analyst Influence: A complete guide to analyst influence
Learn about raising capital from angel investors - how angels think and make decisions, and how to work with them: Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups--Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000
Learn about raising capital from VCs - how venture capital works, what makes a startup a fit for the VC model, how to structure the fundraising process, and what parts of the term sheet matter: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist
Learn a step-by-step process to position your product, service, or company: Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It
Learn about the stages of startup growth, the types of users (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards), and how to get your product beyond a small circle of early enthusiasts: Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers
Learn about ways to break through to new customers and grow your startup: Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
Build company culture
Learn about giving feedback and building a culture of transparency: Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
Learn about hiring the right people: Who
Design your business model
Learn how to experiment with and design new business models: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
Learn practical frameworks for designing a viable business model, validating ideas & generating insights: The Real Startup Book
Learn about building open source products: Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software
Become more effective
Learn how to build genuine relationships with people and form a community around yourself and your mission: Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
Learn about effective negotiations strategies for high-stakes conversations: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the authors, and links to the books do not have any tracking. I do not get paid or otherwise benefit from recommending anything.