Share this post

The Ultimate Winter Reading List for Startups

The Ultimate Winter Reading List for Startups

Home Blog Digital Marketing Content Marketing The Ultimate Winter Reading List for Startups

It’s officially the time of year when no one north of Georgia wants to leave their house. When it’s cold out, who doesn’t like getting cozy with a book next to a fire…or radiator if you’re a Brooklynite like myself?

With this in mind — and because books are a great gift for the holidays — we built on the Definitive Summer Reading List for Startups and created a Winter Reading List. Although the title may be for startups, this list is really for any business person looking for some quality books to dive into.

We tapped our pool of incredibly smart friends to collect an excellent assortment of books that will keep you busy through the cold months — and maybe even longer– covering everything from marketing to growth, and running a business to habits and economics.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

But first, my personal suggestion

Everything I KnowPaul Jarvis is a designer and one of my favorite writers on the Internet….and he has written books! So far, I’ve only read Everything I Know and it’s pretty fantastic. Paul cuts to the chase in the most entertaining way and isn’t afraid to share well…everything he knows. I especially admire his advice to focus on internal values over extrinsic rewards, such as money or fame in all areas of work. If you only read one section (which would be silly of you), make it the “Work is sacrifice” section in Book Two. Paul shares insight that all of us “too busy” people really need to hear.

Paul JarvisPaul Jarvis, Designer, Course Maker, Author @

Speaking of Paul, he suggested:

noah-fpNoah Kagan, Founder & CEO @ AppSumo, SumoMe

drownNoah said:

Morgan Desaturated ShotMorgan Brown, Head of Growth @ Qualaroo

Morgan suggested:

janetJane Choi, Marketing @

Janet suggests:

  • To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink clarified how I think about and approach my job as a marketer. It helped me understand that selling is about understanding people and their needs in order to persuade and move them — and I think that’s pretty empowering. I’m down for any research and advice that advocates for more human and empathetic communication.
  • Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath
  • The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile & Steven Kramer
  • bird by birdBird by Bird by Anne Lamott is an oldie but goodie that I return to regularly for inspiration and motivation. She understands the particular pain that writing can be, and her kindness and humor always snaps me back to my senses when I feel overwhelmed or blocked. Even just saying the title is helpful, a reminder that progress is made step by step, even if they are crappy steps (an idea that Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer’s The Progress Principle also covers).

garrett moonGarrett Moon, Founder @ CoSchedule

Garrett added:

David-circle-2heroDavid Spinks, CEO @ CMX

David says: Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares is a great read for anyone who wants a quick overview of all of the different growth channels that are out there today and a system for choosing the right ones for your startup.

meghan murphy

Meghan Murphy, Marketing & Community @ Handup

Meghan said: I love Small Giants by Bo Burlingham. It profiles a handful of companies who focused on being great vs. huge (not that the two are mutually exclusive), looking at Anchor Steam and Clif Bar, for example. (Editor’s note: Personally cannot wait to read this one!)

sjwSarah Judd Welch, Founder & CEO @

Sarah suggests The Circle by Dave Eggers “for some fiction that could be real life in our tech world soon.”


Rachel Medanic, Founder @ Communituity

I really loved Dataclysm by Christian Rudder. I’m a bit fascinated with the study of “trolls” and wished that chapter that touched on it has been longer. How will we will handle these folks over time. Issues of anger and identity playing out online are the juiciest aspects of online work to me.

LauraGluLaura Gluhanich, Cofounder @ Single Camp

Laura suggests Thinking Fast and Slow by Dean Kahneman is a solid pop psych/econ book.

image04Steli Efti, CEO @

Steli suggests:

  • wherever you areWherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn because it teaches one of the most important things in life: The art of presence and the practice of meditation.
  • Founders At Work by Jessica Livingston. Some of the best tell-all founder stories every written down by the one and only Jessica Livingston.
  • The PayPal Wars by Eric M Jackson because it tells the story of an iconic startup from the perspective of an early stage employee who witnessed and was part of their turbulent high-growth phase.

victor ramirezVictor Ramirez, Founder @ An Abstract Agency

Victor suggests:

CarrieJones-circle-2Carrie Jones, Editorial Director @ CMX

Carrie says: I’ve been reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Great book on the psychology of customer behavior and pricing for products/services.

The complete list

Your turn!

What book would you suggest for everyone to dig into this winter? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Share this post
Shannon Byrne

Guest Blogger @Mention