Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder’s Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team. Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman reveals the common pitfalls founders face and how to avoid them. He looks at whether it is a good idea to cofound with friends or relatives, how and when to split the equity within the founding team, and how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired. Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas. He highlights the need at each step to strike a careful balance between controlling the startup and attracting the best resources to grow it, and demonstrates why the easy short-term choice is often the most perilous in the long term. The Founder’s Dilemmas draws on the inside stories of founders like Evan Williams of Twitter and Tim Westergren of Pandora, while mining quantitative data on almost ten thousand founders. People problems are the leading cause of failure in startups. This book offers solutions.
As each new generation of entrepreneurs emerges, there is a renewed interest in how venture capital deals come together. Yet there is little reliable information focused on venture capital deals. Nobody understands this better than authors Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson. For more than twenty years, they’ve been involved in hundreds of venture capital financings, and now, with the Second Edition of Venture Deals, they continue to share their experiences in this field with you.
Engaging and informative, this reliable resource skillfully outlines the essential elements of the venture capital term sheet–from terms related to economics to terms related to control. It strives to give a balanced view of the particular terms along with the strategies to getting to a fair deal. In addition to examining the nuts and bolts of the term sheet, Venture Deals, Second Edition also introduces you to the various participants in the process and discusses how fundraising works.
Fully updated to reflect the intricacies of startups and entrepreneurship in today’s dynamic economic environment
Offers valuable insights into venture capital deal structure and strategies
Brings a level of transparency to a process that is rarely well understood
Whether you’re an experienced or aspiring entrepreneur, venture capitalist, or lawyer who partakes in these particular types of deals, you will benefit from the insights found throughout this new book.
Steve McConnell’s Code Complete 2 is the Joy of Cooking for software developers. Reading it means that you enjoy your work, you’re serious about what you do, and you want to keep improving. In Code Complete, Steve notes that the average programmer reads less than one technical book per year. The very act of reading this book already sets you apart from probably ninety percent of your fellow developers. In a good way.
I like this book so much that the title of this very website is derived from it – the examples of what not to do are tagged with the “Coding Horror” icon. There’s nothing funnier than a Coding Horror – until you have to deal with one yourself. Then it’s suddenly not so funny any more. Do yourself a favor. Make this the first book you read, and the first book you recommend to your fellow developers.
Arguably the only classic book in our field. If you haven’t read it, shame on you.
I challenge any developer to pick up a copy of The Mythical Man Month and not find this tale of a long-defunct OS, and the long-defunct team that developed it, startlingly relevant. This twenty-five year old book boldly illustrates one point: computers may change, but people don’t.
Reading this classic work will certainly be a better use of your time than poring over the latest thousand page technical tome du jour.
The single best book on usability I’ve ever read. The title says “web usability” but don’t be fooled by its faux specificity. Steve Krug covers every important usability concept in this book, and covers it well. It’s almost fun. If you choose to read only one book on usability, choose this one. It’s chock full of great information, and it’s presented in a concise, approachable format. It’s suitable for any audience: technical, non-technical, user, developer, manager, you name it.
Er… yeah. Never been in a meeting like that. The solution to this problem, by the way, is quick and dirty usability testing. Imagine that: making decisions based on actual data instead of never ending, last man standing filibuster style religious debates. Revolutionary!
The full title of this book is Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Development Schedules, which isn’t just long-winded and vaguely ridiculous, it’s also an unfortunate misnomer.
Rapid Development isn’t about rapid development. It’s about* the reality of failure* . The vast majority of software development projects will fail: they will overrun their schedules, produce substandard results, or sometimes not even finish at all. This isn’t an argument; it’s a statistical fact. The unpleasant truth is that your team has to be very good to simply avoid failing, much less to succeed. While that may sound depressing – okay, it is depressing– you’ll still want to read this book.
Why? Because half* of success is not repeating the same mistakes you, or other people, have made. The epiphany offered in this book is that making mistakes is good– so long as they are all new, all singing, all dancing mistakes. If you’re making the same old classic mistakes, you’ve failed before you’ve even begun. And you probably have no idea how likely it is that you’re making one of these mistakes right now.
Our field is one of the few where change is the only constant, so it’s only natural to embrace that change and try different “Rapid” development techniques. But the converse isn’t true. We can’t assume that so much has changed since 1970 that all the old software development lessons are obsolete and irrelevant when compared to our hot new technology. It’s the same old story: computers have changed; people haven’t. At least have some idea of what works and what doesn’t before you start– in McConnell’s words, “read the instructions on the paint can before painting.” Sure, it sounds obvious enough until you read this book and realize how rarely that actually happens in our field.
* According to the book, technically, one-quarter. But I think it’s more than that.
If you’ve ever seen the performance of an all-star sports team suffer due to poor coaching, you’ll appreciate this book. It doesn’t matter how many “coding superstars” you’ve got when none of them can talk to each other, or agree on anything. And it no developer, however talented, can work effectively when constantly being barraged with minor interruptions. Developers aren’t known for their people skills, per se, but here’s the ironic part: the success of your project may hinge on just that. If you have any legitimate aspirations to be a “Team Leader” in practice instead of in name only, you need to pick up a copy of this book.
While Peopleware is full of great, totally valid points, it also implies a level of employee control over the workplace that is pure fantasy at most companies. But at least you’ll know when your work environment, or your team, are the real problem – and more importantly, what to do about it.
It can be incredibly frustrating to develop software, because so much can go wrong. A lot of what we do is defensive: trying to anticipate what will go wrong before it does. It’s mentally fatiguing, and can eventually manifest itself in some negative ways. I sometimes describe this to non-technical people as building a watch with a thousand moving parts, all of which can fail randomly at the slightest provocation. Good times!
Designing software is difficult, to be sure, but designing a door is difficult too. The nuances of design extend into every object you touch, whether it’s some hot new SQL engine, or a humble shoe. This book will give you a new appreciation of the “devil in the details.” If designing a door isn’t the no-brainer we thought it was, maybe it’s time to give ourselves a break for not being able to design software perfectly, either.
Alan Cooper, father of Visual Basic, godfather of usability. I’ve owned a few versions of this book now (this is version four), and it is the rare book which is getting better and better as it is revised, and more authors are added for different perspectives.
About Face is full of generally applicable guidelines for mobile and web. Of the GUI problems used for illustration – with examples from the hoary old Windows 95 UI – it’s interesting to compare which have been mostly resolved (using visual examples to show the effects of dialog selections before you make them), and which have not (stopping the proceedings with modal idiocy).
It’s a fantastically useful book; I’ve used whole chapters as guides for projects I worked on.
This is the book that introduced the world to the concept of personas: rather than thinking of users as an abstract, difficult-to-describe, amorphous group of people, personas instruct us to talk about specific users who have names, personalities, needs, and goals. Would our users want a print preview feature? Who knows? But if Gerry Manheim, Account Executive, has to print out his weekly expense report as a part of his job, you better believe print preview needs to be in there. There’s nothing magical here; as always, it boils down to knowing who your users are and what they really do – and the personas technique is a great way to get there.
There’s also an interesting analysis here of how developers tend to think themselves qualified to make usability decisions on behalf of “regular” users, when in reality they’re anything but. Developers are freakish, extreme users at best– “Homo Logicus” versus “Homo Sapiens.” Unless you happen to be writing a compiler where developers are the end users.
One hidden lesson in this book is that sometimes it doesn’t matter how good your design is: the scanner software and the web development software which Alan consulted on, and uses as examples in this book, both failed in the marketplace for reasons that had nothing to do with their usability– which was verifiably excellent.* Sometimes great products fail for reasons beyond your control, no matter how hard you try. Feel free to use this fact to counterbalance the sometimes bombastic tone of the book.
* I owned the exact model of “behind the keyboard” USB scanner pictured in the book, and I was quite impressed with the bundled scanning software. I eventually gave this scanner to my Dad. One time I was chatting on the phone with him and without any prompting at all, he mentioned to me how much he liked the scanning software. This was before the book had been published!
I hesitated to include Programming Pearls because it covers some fairly low-level coding techniques, but there are enough “pearls” of software craftsmanship embedded in this book to make it well worth any developer’s time. Any book containing this graph..
.. is worth its weight in gold. TRS-80 versus DEC Alpha to illustrate 48n versus n3 algorithms? Come on folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Programming Pearls is the next best thing to working side by side with a master programmer for a year or so. It is the collective wisdom of many journeyman coders distilled into succinct, digestible columns.
I won’t lie to you: there are entire chapters that can probably be ignored. For example, I can’t imagine implementing sorting, heap, or hash algorithms as documented in columns 11, 13, and 14 respectively, given today’s mature libraries of such basic primitives. But for every textbook-tedious exercise, there is real, practical advice alongside. Just scan through the book, ignoring the code sections, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Column 8, “Back of the Envelope” is essential, probably the best treatment of estimation I’ve seen anywhere. It also goes a long way towards explaining those crazy interview questions that companies love to annoy us with.
You can read sample sections of the book online if you’re still on the fence. I recently used the chapter on strings to illustrate the use of Markov chains in generating synthetic data to fill an empty database with – a performance estimation technique covered in “Back of the Envelope”.
This book reminds me a lot of Programming Pearls, but it’s actually better, because it’s less focused on code. Instead of worrying about code, the authors boiled down all the practical approaches that they’ve found to work in the real world into this one book. Not all of these things are technically programming. For example, asking yourself “why am I doing this? Is this even worth doing at all?” isn’t thinking outside the box; it’s something you should incorporate into your daily routine to keep yourself – and your co-workers – sane. And that’s what makes Pragmatic Programmer such a great book.
Jakob Neilsen is well known for his usability site, and his career as a usability expert extends back to 1989 when his first book was published. Designing Web Usability is of course a full-on web usability primer, so it’s a bit different than the GUI-oriented Cooper books.
UNIX has a well-deserved reputation for being complex and impenetrable. So do Regular Expressions.
I may be a card carrying member of the “Keep It Simple Stupid” club, but I’m making a meteor sized exception for regular expressions. Written properly, they will save you a tremendous amount of time in string manipulation, and I’ve never run across a project where they didn’t come in handy somewhere.
Once you delve into the world of regular expressions, you may become drunk with the amazing power and potential they have, which results in things like Perl. Remember, absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it also rocks absolutely.
I’ve been asked over and over for good books about mathematics for a layperson, someone who hasn’t taken advanced courses in university and is more simply interested in learning about what math is, and some of the more interesting historical figures and results from mathematics. Ironically, when you are a mathematics major at Waterloo, you get the opportunity in 4th year to take a course on the history of mathematics and you get introduced to a few really good books that start to explain the mindset and philosophy behind mathematics and not simply just the theorems and proofs.
Here are the 5 books about I most recommend to those who want to understand the mathematical mind and philosophy.
This is the textbook from the History of Mathematics course I took almost a decade ago now, and it is still one of the best and most thorough discussions of how mathematics developed over the past millenia. It starts in with Egyptian and pre-classical mathematics, explaining how simple tasks were complicated by a lack of mathematical tools and then how over time different tools were developed that led to quantum leaps in our understanding of the field. It’s quite a tome, with over 700 pages of details, but it is fully accessible to the non-technical reader.
This is well worth having in any library and it can be read in chunks as each chapter covers a different aspect of mathematical history.
I picked up this book at a secondhand store many years back simply because it caught my attention and was a good price. I thought it would be an enjoyable read, but I never expected to be as amazed and excited by the contents as I started to dig through it. This book takes some of the most important and paradigm-shifting theorems of mathematics and explains them in a clear and accessible fashion. Historical artifacts around the development of the theorems are displayed in a fun and pleasing fashion, keeping the importance of the discovery in context with the time. As well, most importantly, beyond explaining the theorems, the characters behind the work as shown and their lives are taken into context with the immensity of their work. This is a beautiful read and worth picking up if you want to learn more about the biggest theorems in mathematics.
My professor for the history of mathematics course lent me his copy of this book and it was probably one of the most eye-opening reads I’ve ever had. I spent an entire weekend reading it cover-to-cover and then re-reading it again, devouring and absorbing all of the ideas and concepts within it.
Without a doubt, this is the best book I’ve got on my library from the perspective of discussion what it means to be a mathematician and the experience shared by mathematicians worldwide. This book covers the entire gamut, from the philosophical to the social-emotional experience of a mathematician. It is well-written, concise and strikes a real chord with me. In this book I really felt that I was reading someone who got what it meant to love mathematics and get excited by it without delving really deep into difficult to process material. If there is one book on this entire list that I recommend going and purchasing right now, it is this one.
Paul Erdös, one of the most prolific mathematicians of the 20th century would commonly refer to a proof that was singularly beautiful as being “from the book.” As in, “from the book of God himself.” This book is a collection of some of the proofs that many mathematicians think to be essential and important, while still be uniquely beautiful in their elegance. If you want a book which is still accessible, but allows for exploration of the theorems themselves in am ore rigourous fashion, this is the book for you. It’s clean and covers some of the best proofs in a very wide variety of fields.
This books is probably the most advanced of the books on this list. It is however brilliantly written in the form of a discussion between a professor and their students. Lakatos weaves in and out over the process of mathematics, covering how mathematics is really done and evolves as theorems adapt based on a variety of very easy to understand techniques.
If you, or anyone you know, is actually considering to go into mathematics as a profession, I would recommend reading this book. This especially includes teachers as it explains how working through the technique and philosophy can help with overall understanding and creative use of the new tools learned as you move forward. This is a truly wonderful book and can be a very quick read.
大多数程序员并不需要从头编写一个编译器或解释器，因此龙书（编译原理）就显得过于重量级；然而多数程序员还是需要解析文本，处理配置文件，或者写一个小语言，编程语言实现模式很好的满足了这个需求。它把常用的文本解析/代码生成方法组织成一个个模式，并为每个模式给出了实例和应用场景。这本书既会提高你的动手能力，也会加深你对编程语言的理解。Python发明者Guido van Rossum甚至为这本书给出了“Throw away your compiler theory book!”这样的超高评价。
无论在哪个版本的程序员必读书单，代码大全都会高居首位。和其它程序设计书籍不同，代码大全用通俗清晰的语言覆盖了软件构建（Software Construction）中各个层次上所有的重要概念——从变量命名到类型设计，从控制循环到代码结构，从测试和调试到构建和集成，代码大全可谓无所不包，你可以把这本书看作为程序员的一站式（Once and for all）阅读手册。更珍贵的是，代码大全在每一章末尾都给出了价值很高的参考书目（参考我之前的如何阅读书籍一文），如果你是一个初出茅庐的程序员，代码大全是绝好的阅读起点。
很多程序员都向往成为横扫千军（One-man Army）式的“编程英雄”，但卓越的软件并非一人之力，而是由团队合力而成。极客与团队就是这样一本写给程序员的如何在团队中工作的绝好书籍，它围绕着HRT三大原则（Humility谦逊，Respect尊重，和Trust信任），系统的介绍了如何融入团队，如何打造优秀的团队，如何领导团队，以及如何应对团队中的害群之马（Poisonous People）。这本书实用性极强，以至于Python之父Guido van Rossum都盛赞这本书“说出了我一直在做但总结不出来的东西”。
Mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives.
牛津英语用法指南（第3版）：全面且权威的英语用法指南，它覆盖语法，词汇，发音，以及修辞等方面，并兼顾口语和书面语，以帮助读者掌握合理的英语用法（Proper English Usage）。不要被这本书的篇幅（1000多页）吓到——原书并没有这么厚，因为这本书被翻译成中文但又得保留原有的英文内容，所以它的篇幅几乎翻了一倍。考虑到这本书使用的词汇都很基础，所以我认为具有英语基础的读者直接阅读原版（Practical English Usage）会更合适；
The roots of entrepreneurship are old. But, the fruits were never so lucrative as they have been recently. Until 2010, not many of us had heard of the term ‘start-up’. And now, not a day goes by when business newspapers don’t quote them. There is sudden gush in the level of courage which people possess.
Today, I see 1 out of 5 person talking about a new business idea. Some of them even succeed too in establishing their dream company. But, only the determined ones sustain. In data science, the story is bit different.
The success in data science is mainly driven by knowledge of the subject. Entrepreneurs are not required to work at ground level, but must have sound knowledge of how it is being done. What algorithms, tools, techniques are being used to create products & services.
In order to gain this knowledge, you have two ways:
You work for 5-6 years in data science, get to know things around and then start your business.
You start reading books along the way and become confident to start in first few years.
I would opt for second option.
Why read books ?
Think of our brain as a library. And, it’s a HUGE library.
How would an empty library look like? If I close my eyes and imagine, I see dust, spider webs, brownian movement of dust particles and darkness. If this imagination horrifies you, then start reading books.
The books listed below gives immense knowledge and motivation in technology arena. Reading these books will give you the chance to live many different entrepreneurial lives. Take them one by one. Don’t get overwhelmed. I’ve displayed a mix of technical and motivational books for entrepreneurs in data science. Happy Reading!
List of Books
Data Science For Business
This book is written by Foster Provost & Tom Fawcett. It gives a great head start to anyone, who is serious about doing business with big data analytics. It makes you believe, data is now business. No business in the world, can now sustain without leveraging the power of data. This books introduces you to real side of data analysis principles and algorithms without technical stuff. It gives you enough intuition and confidence to lead a team of data scientists and recommend what’s required. More importantly, it teaches you the winning approach to become a master at business problem solving.
This book is written by Thomas H. Davenport. It reveals the increasing importance of big data in organizations. It talks with interesting numbers, researches and statistics. So until 2009, companies worked on data samples. But with advent of powerful devices and data storage capabilities, companies now work on whole data. They don’t want to miss even a single bit of information. This book unveils the real side of big data, it’s influence on our daily lives, on companies and our jobs. As an entrepreneur, it is extremely important for you understand big data and its related terminologies.
This book is written by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz. It’s one of the most appreciated books on data startups. It consist of practical & detailed researches, advice, guidance which can help you to build your startup faster. It gives enough intuition to build data driven products and market them. The language is simple to understand. There are enough real world examples to make you believe, a business needs data analytics like a human needs air. To an entrepreneur, this will introduce the practical side of product development and what it takes to succeed in a red ocean market.
This book is written by Michael Lewis. It’s a brilliant tale which sprinkles some serious inspiration. A guy named billy bean does what most of the world failed to imagine, just by using data and statistics. He paved the path to victory when situations weren’t favorable. Running a business needs continuous motivation. This can be a good place to start with. However, this book involves technical aspects of baseball. Hence, if you don’t know baseball, chances are you might struggle in initial chapters. A movie also has been made on this book. Do watch it!
This book is written by Ashlee Vance. I’m sure none of us are fortunate to live the life of Elon Musk, but this book let’s us dive in his life and experience rise of fantastic future. Elon is the face behind Paypal, Tesla and SpaceX. He has dreamed of making space travel easy and cheap. Recently, he was applauded by Barack Obama for the successful landing of his spaceship in an ocean. People admire him. They want to know his secrets and this is where you can look for. As on entrepreneur, you will learn about must have ingredients which you need to a become successful in technology space.
This book is written by Thomas H Davenport and Jinho Kim. As we all know, data science is driven by numbers & maths (quants). Inspired from moneyball, this book teaches you the methods of using quantitative analysis for decision making. An entrepreneur is a terminal of decision making. One must learn to make decisions using numbers & analysis, rather than intuition. The language of this book is easy to understand and suited for non-maths background people too. Also, this book will make you comfortable with basics statistics and quantitative calculations in the world of business.
The author of this book is Nate Silver, the famous statistician who correctly predicted US Presidential elections in 2012. This books shows the real art and science of making predictions from data. This art involves developing the ability to filter out noise and make correct predictions. It includes interesting examples which conveys the ultimate reason behind success and failure of predictions. With more and more data, predictions have become prone to noise errors. Hence, it is increasingly important to understand the science behind making predictions using big data science. The chapters of this book are interesting and intuitive.
This book is written by Roger Lowenstein. It is an epic story of rise and failure of a hedge fund. For an entrepreneur, this book has ample lessons on investing, market conditions and capital management. It’s a story of a small bank, which used quantitative techniques for bond pricing throughout the world and ensured every invested made gives a profitable results. However, they didn’t sustain for long. Their quick rise was succeeded by failure. And, the impact of their failure was so devastating that US Federal bank stepped in to rescue the bank, because the fund’a bankruptcy would have large negative influence on world’s economy.
This book is written by Eric Ries. In one line, it teaches how to not to fail at the start of your business. It reveals proven strategies which are followed by startups around the world. It has abundance of stories to make you walk on the right path. An entrepreneur should read it when he/she feel like draining out of motivation. It teaches to you to learn quickly, implement new methods and act quickly if something doesn’t work out. This book applies to all industries and is not specific to data science.
This book is written by Avinash Kaushik. It is one of the best book to learn about web analytics. Internet is the fastest mode of collecting data. And, every entrepreneur must learn the art of internet accounting. Most of the businesses today face the challenge of weak presence on social media and internet platforms. Using various proven strategies and actionable insights, this book helps you to solve various challenges which could hamper your way. It also provides a winning template which can be applied in most of the situations. It focuses on choosing the right metric and ways to keep them in control.
This book is written by Eric Seigel. It is a good follow up book after web analytics 2.0. So, once you’ve understood the underlying concept of internet data, metrics and key strategies. This book teaches you the methods of using that knowledge to make predictions. It’s simple to understand and covers many interesting case studies displaying how companies predict our behavior and sell us products. It doesn’t cover technical aspects, but explains the general working on predictive analytics and its applications. You can also check out this funny rap video by Dr. Eric Seigel:
This book is written by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner. It shows the importance of numbers, data, quantitative analysis using various interesting stories. It says, there is a logic is everything which happens around us. Reading this book will make you aware of the unexplored depth at which data affects our real lives. It draws interesting analogy between school teachers and sumo wrestlers. Also, the bizarre stories featuring cases of criminal acts, real-estate, drug dealers will certainly add up to your exciting moments.
This book is written by Jessica Livingston. Again, this isn’t data science specific but a source of motivation to get you moving forward. It’s a collection of interviews with the founders of various startups across the world. The focus has been kept on early days i.e. how did they act when they started. This book will give you enough proven ideas, strategies and lessons to anticipate and avoid pitfalls in your initial days of business. It consist of stories by Steve Wozniak (Apple), Max Levchin (Paypal), Caterina Fake (Flikr) and many more. In total, there are 32 interviews listed which means you have the chance to learn from 32 mentors in one single book. Must read for entrepreneurs.
This book is written by Greg Gianforte and Marcus Gibson. It teaches about the things to do when you are running short of money and still don’t want to stop. This is a must read book for every entrepreneur. Considering the amount of investment required in data science startups, this book should have a special space in an entrepreneur’s heart. It reveals various eye opening truths and strategies which can help you build a great company. Greg and Marcus proves that money is not always the reason for startup failure, it’s all about founder’s perspective. This book has stories of success and failures, again a great chance for you to live many lives by reading this book.
This book is written by Thomas H Davenport, Jeanne G Harris and Robert Morrison. This books reveals the increased use of analytical tools & concepts by managers to make informed business decisions. The decision making process has accelerated. For a greater impact, it also consists of examples from popular companies like hotels.com, best buy and many more. It talks about recruiting, coordination with people and the use of data and analytics at an enterprise level. Many of us are aware of data and analytics. But, only a few know how to use them together. This quick book has it all !
This marks the end of this list. While compiling this list, I realized most of these books are about sharing experience and learning from the mistake of others. Also, it is immensely important to posses quantitative ability to become good in data science. I would suggest you to make a reading list and stick to it throughout the year. You can take up any book to start. I’d suggest to start with a motivational book.
Have you read any other book ? What were your key takeaways? Did you like reading this article? Do share your knowledge & experiences in the comments below.