A startup founder’s summer reading list

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A Startup Founder's Summer Reading List - Paubox

After reading president Barack Obama’s summer reading list on Facebook today, I figured a small experiment would be worth doing.

My experiment thesis:
Do people care about what startup founders are reading?

As for the five books I’ve read this summer, I believe their common theme is relevance.

Relevance for me as a startup CEO, relevance for being a Silicon Valley startup, and relevance for the stage of our business.

So let’s get started: Here is my summer reading list for 2018.


Pitch Anything

by Oren Klaff
I read Pitch Anything on a suggestion from Suraj Mehta (500 Startups) to help with our fundraising strategy.

It’s proven to be one of the more relevant and useful books I’ve read this year so far.

In a nutshell: Own the room with frame control, it really is about status, and eradicate neediness.

See also: Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff: My Takeaways


Customer Success

by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman and Lincoln Murphy

On a recommendation from Roger Manson, our Senior Director of Customer Excellence, I picked up Customer Success.

I found it to be timely and useful for where we are as a business.

For example, it answered my questions about Revenue Churn and how to develop a Customer Health Score.


High Growth Handbook

by Elad Gil

I first heard about High Growth Handbook from a Justin Kan tweet. After pre-ordering it on Amazon, I ingested the book less than a week after its arrival, which for me is a fast clip.

In a nutshell: If your startup has customers, revenue and traction- it’s a must read. Also, Stripe is also a book publisher?

Caveat: I found five or six typos in the book. I think it was rushed to print.


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

by John Carreyrou

This book was hard to put down!

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup is written by WSJ reporter John Carreyrou.

Once valued at $9B, it was Carreyrou’s October 2015 article in the Journal that first blew the lid off the Theranos scandal.

I devoured it in three days, most of it at Caffe Trieste in San Francisco’s North Beach.

In a nutshell: The situation at Theranos was much worse than I thought and the movie promises to be superb.


The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership

by Richard Branson

A division of Virgin recently became a customer of ours, so I figured it would be a good idea to learn how Sir Richard Branson thinks.

Turns out I already had The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership on hand, so I picked it out of my book queue and finished it.

In a nutshell:

  • The Virgin Way really is ‘Screw it, let’s do it!’
  • Greatly admires Steve Jobs and Sir Winston Churchill
  • April Fools pranks can only be done between midnight and noon on April 1st (official fool rules)
  • Is dyslexic

Pro tip: If the day ever arrives, bring a notebook when you meet with Richard.


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About the author

Hoala Greevy

Founder of Paubox. Kayak fishing when I can. Native Hawaiian CEO.

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