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5 amazing business books I read this year

5 amazing business books I read this year

As described by Ben Horowitz in his book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, I often wonder: What is it I don't know? And perhaps even more disconcerting: What should I already know? It can be a lonely place for a startup founder. Reading however, appeases my appetite for learning new strategies, new playbooks and new ideas. It's one of my methods for leveling up.

Maybe someday I'll have time for reading fiction again but for now, it's strictly business. Without further ado, here are the Top 5 books I read in 2017. They are listed in the order I'm holding them in the picture above. If you’re looking for a great business read this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with one of these.


Only the Paranoid Survive, by Andy Grove. This was my favorite strategic book of the year. Andy Grove, who served as Intel CEO for 11 years, dives deep into a term he coined: The Strategic Inflection Point. I got special value out of running the theoretical exercise: “If I got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO tomorrow, what's the first thing they'd do?”


Inbound Marketing, by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. Brian and Dharmesh are the co-founders of Hubspot and the book is a must read for Content Marketers. A central theme to Inbound marketing is making it as easy as possible for prospects to find your company online. This boils down to consistently publishing content. A lot of it. Among a bevy of useful tips and strategies, I really liked the concept of, "How do you get your customers, partners and vendors to create remarkable content for you?"


The Sales Acceleration Formula, by Mark Roberge. Mark was the SVP of global sales and services at Hubspot and its fourth employee. He scaled the company’s annual revenues from $0 to $100M in seven years. To top it off, he joined the team with zero sales experience (he was formerly a quant). His book revolves around the phrase that causes any VC to salivate like Pavlov's dogs: “Scalable, predictable revenue growth.” I especially liked how he systemized the hiring, interviewing, and scaling of sales teams.


How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, by Guy Kawasaki. A veritable Smithsonian classic in internet years, Guy published this book back in 1995. He even listed his AOL email address (! In case you're wondering, I already checked- it no longer works. I got value out of his emphasis on focusing competitive efforts on yourself and not other companies. To truly drive your competition crazy, simply delight your customers and avoid confrontation. I also really like this: “Know your customers well enough to satisfy the needs they cannot even express. Then get to know your customers again to satisfy the changes and upgrades they can express.” I'd like to think we are doing precisely that at Paubox.


From Impossible to Inevitable, by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin. This was my favorite playbook of the year. Aaron and Jason concisely describe and expound on the three revenue drivers for any B2B SaaS business: Nets (Inbound Marketing), Seeds (Referrals and Customer Success), and Spears (Outbound Marketing). I especially liked this sentence in the book- “Predictable lead generation is the lever to creating hypergrowth.”


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