But suppose you do decide to show up after all, what should you do first? Raise capital? Hone your business plan? I would, and did, read a few books. I still read half a dozen business books a year, but most are not aimed at the sort of small start-ups I'm interested in. Here are three that helped me:
- Growing a Business by Paul Hawken is the book that helped me more than any other. If you want to start a company just read this book. Read it twice.
- Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson is not so much about what you need to start a company, but about what you don't need. That knowledge can be even more valuable.
- Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. Part memoir, part environmental screed, and part philosophy, this is probably not a good example of a business how-to book. Yet every time I read it I feel inspired to make my company better.