“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein thought so. There is a rather easy way to increase our value as people before that as entrepreneurs: to read and learn. What is quite more difficult, though, is to understand what we should pick out from the sea of available books. This is why we have put together what we think are the 10 books and appointments you shouldn’t miss in 2018 if you run a start-up, if you want to found one, if you are an entrepreneur and want to innovate your business, or simply because you are interested.
1.Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation – Steven Johnson
Ideas are the fuel that allow companies to get started. The thesis of this book is that the so-called stroke of genius is actually a false myth and that great inventions do not come from the solitary work of an individual. Open environments and shared platforms help creativity flow and become concrete and, possibly, change the course of history. Convergence and sharing make the difference: Steven Johnson demonstrates this by retracing the steps leading to the ideas that have changed the world, from Gutenberg’s press to Google.
2.Business Adventures – John Brooks
A classic, first published in 1969, this book contains 12 articles by the American financial journalist John Brooks, written for the literary magazine New Yorker. Warren Buffer and Bill Gates read it: legend has it that the former gave it to the latter in 1991 and that both believe it is the best economics book ever written. This book is not a vademecum, it does not contain lists of things to do nor lessons: rather, it tells in-depth stories of companies, the stories of the success and fall of names such as General Electric, Ford, or Xerox, with irony and without technicalities. For all of them, human capital has been a key factor for success.
3.The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries
From the most complicated concepts to practical advice, Eric Ries – entrepreneur and start-up expert, born in 1978 – explains how to create a “light” start-up, inspired to Toyota’s lean enterprise. The milestone is the same: to increase the efficiency of production processes by reducing waste and, when possible, removing it altogether. Applied to start-ups, it means that everything that does not contribute to the satisfaction of customers’ primary needs can be considered as waste. Indeed, when creating a company from scratch, communication with customers plays a fundamental role in defining strategic choices.
4.Guides to start a business
What are the steps to start up a company? There are many guides. A classic one is “Business Model Generation” by Alex Osterwalder, which has sold 400,000 copies and has been translated into 23 languages. Method and creativity are at the basis of the technical tools that the most successful companies and start-ups use and the author reveals them to the reader.
A fast and schematic guide is that by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf titled ” The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company”. It contains instructions to start and grow companies and the rules for putting each phase into practice: from market research to business plans; from customer surveys to product testing to launching. Or, in Italian, “Start-up. Manuale per giovani imprenditori nell’era della globalizzazione” (Start-up. Handbook for young entrepreneurs in the era of globalization) by Claudio F. Fava focuses on the essential information to evaluate an entrepreneurial idea, organize the factors that can make it work and calibrate marketing, production and finance activities in the best possible way in the context of globalization.
5.Guides to write a business plan
At the core of every good business there is a good business plan – a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. The Italian “Creare un Business Plan For Dummies” (How to create a Business Plan. For Dummies) by Vecchi Curtis is a guide to develop a business plan with realistic goals, written in a simple and fun way. While “Il business plan: Guida alla costruzione di un business plan vincente con la metodologia dei 7 step” (Business plan: Guide to the construction of a winning business plan using the 7 step methodology) by Antonello Bove – expert in project management, corporate strategy and internationalization processes – presents a structured, 7-steps planning methodology that analyses all the main strategic elements of a business.
6.How to think out of the box
So now we have read the stories of those who made it, we have studied all the basic rules, what else can we do? We can practice our lateral thinking. Two books teach us how: ” Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, published for the first time 10 years ago, read by 3.5 million people in 43 languages. How can you win without competing? The authors create a model that helps us discover the “blue ocean” of pristine markets that are ready to grow, subverting traditional thinking about strategy. And, last but not least, if playing by the rules and not risking is the path that most of us would follow, only with courage and rebellion can we fly high: it’s the teaching of the marketing guru Seth Godin in ” The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?”.
7.Future Festival 2018. If you wish to learn what is new in the start-up industry, a good strategy is to follow the events that act as a trait d’union between innovators and venture capitalists. Undoubtedly one of the main events is the Future Festival 2018, organized by TrendHunter.com – which, with its 60 million monthly visits, is the most important community in the world in terms of trends, a point of reference for the innovation of over 500 brands including Coca-Cola , Adidas, Victoria’s Secret, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft and NASA. The Festival will gather over 600 innovators from all over the world, to “prototype the future” by unveiling from 5 to 10 disruptive ideas. It takes place in Toronto from 18 to 20 September, after a tour in the US (the first stop being Orlando on 18 January) and an episode in London (5 July).
8.Tech Tour. It starts in Paris on February 13th and 14th and ends in December in Dusseldorf. The Tech Tour is made up of 25 events in Europe, focussing on creating a transparent environment in which experts can share best practices and transfer knowledge to the network, in order to identify and support the best emerging technologies on the continent. The Italian stop is not yet known, but last year it took place in Rome in September.
9.Web Summit. The Davos of the geeks will be held from 5 to 8 November in Lisbon. It was born in 2010 from a simple idea: connecting the tech community to the industrial world. Rapidly, the conference became a reference point for entrepreneurs who focus on innovation, as well as being the world’s largest tech convention.
10.The latest edition of the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival took place in September 2017: next year’s dates are not yet known, but if you wish to keep yourself updated, this is the official website. In Tel Aviv, which is a true hi-tech hub, you will meet the best tech talents, major venture capitalists and global industries.