The best business books to help your startup succeed in 2020


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Business books are a source of inspiration; providing startup owners with a cost-effective way of developing skills and learning new business strategies without having to take a professional course.

Here are the most impactful business books that we have read this year, all of which introduce new ways of thinking and provide essential insights to help your startup succeed in 2020.

  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Measure What Matters by John Doerr
  • The Right It by Alberto Savoia
  • Hooked by Nir Eyal 


The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Deemed an essential read for new startup ventures, Eric Ries introduces a new but popular approach to building successful companies that hinges on leveraging human creativity across all aspects of business management.

From lean manufacturing to counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, Ries explores the key determiners of business success and failure in today’s world.

According to Ries, innovative entrepreneurs learn what their customers really want and measure real progress rather than wasting time on elaborate business plans and vanity metrics.

As a startup entrepreneur, you’ll appreciate that there is an abundance of advice out there on which sales metrics to measure, and tips on where you should really be focusing your time.

The Lean Startup encourages you to adapt and adjust continuously and to challenge antiquated business standards if they aren’t working for you. That means introducing new methods of business management so you place innovation at the heart of everything you do. 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Hailed as “the biggest selling and most influential management book of the new millennium” by Financial Times, Jim Collins’ latest book, Good to Great, presents five years of comprehensive research into how good companies become great ones.

Collins’ 21-person research team successfully unearthed a set of approaches and characteristics that differentiate outstanding companies from mediocre ones, challenging conventional notions of corporate success.

Collins claims that becoming great does not necessarily require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, or rigorous change management. Interestingly, truly great companies are built on a corporate culture that hires and promotes disciplined people.

Researchers were shocked to discover the type of leadership approach adopted in these good-to-great organisations, which centres on personal humility.

Good to Great is an excellent business book for startup owners as it provides a detailed look at how other companies have taken their business to the next level, highlighting the fundamental concepts of success that all entrepreneurs should attempt to emulate in their own organisations.

This worldwide bestseller is a great choice of business book for startup owners seeking inspiration and tips on how to transform a good business into a great one.

Measure What Matters

“I wish I had had this book nineteen years ago, when we founded Google. Or even before that, when I was only managing myself! As much as I hate process, good ideas with great execution are how you make magic. And that’s where OKRs come in.” Larry Page, Alphabet CEO and Google Cofounder.

In this #1 New York Times Bestseller, venture capitalist and author, John Doerr, reveals how his goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) have helped tech giants such as Google achieve unimaginable growth, and how the same approach can help any organisation thrive.

With some great examples in the form of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, Measure What Mattersdives into the history of some of the most successful companies in the world today to show that any startup based on good ideas (that are well executed and properly managed) has the potential to skyrocket to success.

This book is an absolute must for startup owners or small business managers, as it offers a unique opportunity to hear first-hand from some of the most successful companies and individuals in the business world today.

Measure What Matters is said to be “a handbook for setting and achieving audacious goals”, a statement likely to resonate with ambitious startup owners who have lots of incredible ideas but need support in implementing them and making them really work.

The Right It – Why So Many Ideas Fail and How to Make Sure Yours Succeed

Most of us believe that our business will be successful. But according to Alberto Savoia, the law of market failure suggests that up to 90% of most new products, services, businesses, and initiatives will fail soon after they launch, no matter how well executed.

In The Right It, Savoia combines data-driven decision making with killer tactics to empower startup owners to adopt a proven formula for ensuring that ideas, products, services, and businesses succeed.

Savoia urges readers to “make sure you are building The Right It before you build It right.”

This business book combines case studies with insights from Savoia’s time at Google, as well as drawing on his experience as an entrepreneur and as a lecturer at Stanford University.

A valuable read for startup owners seeking actionable advice to manage new ideas.

Hooked – A Guide to Building Habit-Forming Products

Hooked is a guide for startup founders, marketers and designers who are looking to create and develop products that people can’t put down.

This book introduces a four-step process that successful companies use to build customer habits and bring users back repeatedly without the need for costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

Eyal helps the reader to learn more about what influences human behavior, providing practical insights on user habits and exploring the behavioral techniques used by the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Startup owners looking to understand the psychology behind user behaviour and why some products do incredibly well (while others don’t) will find Hooked a highly valuable read.

After all, understanding your customers and what satisfies them is one of the most important, non-financial sales metrics that an organisation can measure.