No Shortcuts - Startup Books

It's very smart to go into the startup world eyes wide open.  You can set proper expectations and prepare yourself for what's to come.  I read a lot in the space and have a few favorite books.  I've read all of these while I've been running Sloane and think they really capture what startup life is REALLY like.  

Shoe Dog - Phil Knight 

This book is about the beginnings of Nike.  The journey the founder took from a track runner at University of Oregon to the founder of one of the most iconic brands ever is incredible.  He was running the brand as a side gig while he worked as an accountant to pay the bills....for YEARS.  He said he didn't make any real money from Nike until they went public.  The struggle for him and his team was constant and they came close to dying many times.  

Lost and Founder - Rand Fishkin 

This book gives you a look into a "successful" startup that grew to a very solid level.  They beat the odds.  The founder hasn't been able to reap the rewards of the success because they haven't exited or went public.  His wealth is tied up in the company, so he hasn't attained any material wealth despite years of struggle as he's grown the company. 

Disrupted - Daniel Lyons 

I just read this one over the weekend.  The book was about two main things.  One was how a 50 year old former journalist at Newsweek restarted his career at a young startup, Hubspot, surrounded by employees half his age.  The second was a very raw view at what fast growing (unprofitable) companies have to do make it.  Low pay for workers.  Long hours.  Cut throat mentality.  Creation of a culture where these three things are somewhat disguised as FUN.  Hubspot went public in the book and it coincided with disaster for some of their top employees. 

All of these books are super entertaining.  I like reading about companies who are in it.  Not the theorizing what the startup world is like.  These books show the ups and downs of the life if an entrepreneur.  All three companies end up doing very well, but the sacrifices the founders and employees had to make was a lot. 

I run Sloane on a much smaller scale, but the challenges are similar.  You need to really want to beat the odds starting your own business.  These books give you a glimpse of what you have in front of you.