Renowned VCs Marc Andreessen, Ann Miura-Ko, Chris Sacca, and Ben Horowitz recommend their favorite books.
Ann Miura-Ko is one of the early investors of Lyft, TaskRabbit, Refinery29, and companies in machine intelligence like Ayasdi and Xamarin which were quickly acquired by Microsoft (and just to number drop… for a speculated $400 mill). And to top it off, she backs women hard, as a founding member of All Raise, the venture fund that is trying to get more female funders and female founders into the startup space that has too-long been dominated by men. These achievements put her on the Midas list, which is Forbes’ definitive list of the top 100 venture capitalists that year in high-tech and life sciences (how? Here).
This book centers around the critical societal question, “what is education?”. The book discovers that the answers are already there with teachers who are at the center of the chasm. She said the book gave her hope and a desire to see change in the public school system, and believes that this is a discussion that we should all engage in. (Miura-Ko, Tim Ferriss Podcast 2018)
Miura-Ko said this book gave her a sense of Afghanistan’s incredible history, the role that women have played in that story, and a greater perspective that she wants our society to have. (Miura-Ko, Tim Ferriss Podcast, 2018)
Since its original publication nearly thirty years ago, Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate. One of the primary business texts of the modern era, it is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution. Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict.
Ben Horowitz is the Co-Founder of one of the leading venture firms in the Valley, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The firm is known for being early investors in Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Foursquare, and the likes. Ben is also the author of best-seller, The Hard Thing about Hard Things. Previously, he was the Co-Founder and CEO of Opsware, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007. If you should take business book recommendations from anyone, it should definitely be Ben Horowitz. Some of his recommendations are listed below:
This book is about how businesses get disrupted even though there are big competitors that could just wipe them clean. A Wall Street Journal and Businessweek bestseller. Named by Fast Company as one of the most influential leadership books in its Leadership Hall of Fame. An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen’s work continues to underpin today’s most innovative leaders and organizations.
This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined.
Under Andy Grove's leadership, Intel became the world's largest chip maker and one of the most admired companies in the world. In Only the Paranoid Survive, Grove reveals his strategy for measuring the nightmare moment every leader dreads--when massive change occurs and a company must, virtually overnight, adapt or fall by the wayside--in a new way.
What's the secret to a company's continued growth and prosperity? Internationally known marketing expert Al Ries has the answer: focus. His commonsense approach to business management is founded on the premise that long-lasting success depends on focusing on core products and eschewing the temptation to diversify into unrelated enterprises.
My Years with General Motors became an instant bestseller when it was first published in 1963. It has since been used as a manual for managers, offering personal glimpses into the practice of the "discipline of management" by the man who perfected it. This is the story no other businessman could tell—a distillation of half a century of intimate leadership experience with a giant industry and an inside look at dramatic events and creative business management.
Chris is an early-stage investor and has success stories by being one of the first few investors in companies like Twitter, Instagram, Uber, Gimlet, Kickstarter, and the list goes on. He owns what will likely be the most successful VC fund in history. His fund is called LOWERCASE Capital.
Chris has many books and resources to recommend that have helped him become a better investor but not all of them are business books. He didn’t get a business degree, no MBA, no law degree, no formal business training. He’s looked at “a few of those Instant MBA books, and stuff like that, I even bought some books on venture capital, and they’re just…so goofy. And by the way, part of that is because we now have so many great venture capitalist bloggers who are just an open book about the industry, who teach it”.
“A longtime friend and mentor, Brad at Feldthoughts, has done series over the years, where he breaks down each aspect of a term sheet, and how to understand it, and then deal documents, and this is what we think is important, these are things we think could go away. Josh Koppleman, his team has done a lot of work. We’ve now seen Y-Combinator, and the guys at Fenwick and West and Cooley, building templated documents that are really really watered down, and pro-entrepreneur – And, just kind of have taken out a lot of the legacy bullshit that didn’t need to be in those documents... -Chris Sacca on the Tim Ferriss Podcast
“It’s an exercise in, okay, what’s on the mind of the person who’s dying, and how is he thinking about the impact of his death on his family, on his friends, on his business partners, on his legacy, on the continuing responsibilities as a dad, even in the absence of – even though he’s passed on to the next life,... -Chris Sacca on the Tim Ferriss Podcast
His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world’s pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation—and exceeds it. The astonishing and riveting tale of a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon, it steals its shape from the business self-help books devoured by ambitious youths all over “rising Asia.”
Marc Andreessen is first and foremost, the hero who brought the Internet’s World Wide Web to the masses with his company, Netscape, in 1995. He is also a VC powerhouse- his firm, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), has an astounding portfolio of Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Airbnb, and more unicorns. He was on the 2012 Forbes Midas List of Tech’s Top Investors and in the same year, named in the Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Andreessen co-founded Netscape, which became the de facto web browser in early 1995, ruling 75% of the market. With Netscape’s IPO, he was featured on the cover of Time and other publications, putting Andreessen in the public eye. When Netscape was acquired by AOL for $4.2bn, he immediately moved onto his next successful business, Opsware, which was one of the first companies to offer software as a service and to attempt cloud hosting. Opsware was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6bn in 2007.
Is the future knowable, and by whom? All pundits and commentators should publish their prediction track records, yet don't. What to pay attention to and what to ignore. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Captivating dive into human decision making, marred by inclusion of several/many? psychology studies that fail to replicate. Will stand as a cautionary tale? (Andreessen's Twitter)
Compact guide to probabilistic domains like poker, or venture capital. Best articulation of 'resulting', drawing bad conclusions from confusing process and outcome. Recommend for people operating in the real world. (Andreessen's Twitter)
‘Billions’-esque saga of global financial market manipulation, at mind-boggling scale and hiding in plain sight, by a small cabal of bankers in London. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Best (?) walk through the ancient/current philosophy of Stoicism. You can't control other people but you can control yourself, so do that. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Smash hit in Japan, and easy to see why. Adlerian psychology meets Stoic philosophy in Socratic dialogue. Compelling from front to back. Highly recommend. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Inside story of how Britain decided to exit the EU. Economic self-destruction or national liberation? Repercussions to play out for decades. (Andreessen's Twitter)
‘Wall Street’-esque battle between Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn over unlikely target Herbalife. Sip a delicious Herbal Aloe Shake while reading. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Wide-ranging meditation on how to think about the reality that we're probably wrong about most things we believe. Hard to read and not emerge humbled. (Andreessen's Twitter)
On the bus/in the plane with the Hillary campaign. Revealing in many dimensions at once, and highly entertaining. Best book on the 2016 campaign so far? (Andreessen's Twitter)
One perspective on the politics of immgiration in Europe, playing out in real time, e.g. Merkel almost getting deposed days ago. Confusing on multiple levels from US perspective. (Andreessen's Twitter)
How cities drive the development of civilization, by putting people together. Highly relevant to the future of the Internet! (Andreessen's Twitter)
Sparkling explanation of how the economy evolves, producing the glorious cornucopia of goods and services available all around us. How to feel good about the future even in dark times.
True, chilling saga of straight up, profoundly deep treason and betrayal. Sociopaths in high positions of power and influence. Hair curling. (Andreessen's Twitter)
'How to get along with people, how to deal with violence, how to adjust to losing someone you love—All versions of a bigger question: How do you live?' (Andreessen's Twitter)
The film was fine but the book is unreal; incredibly vivid story of superlative American heroes. (Andreessen's Twitter)
The astonishing story of the Litvinenko and Perepilichnyy assassinations in the UK; reads like a Lee Child thriller; plenty topical now. (Andreessen's Twitter)
'The median American is a moderate national socialist – statist to the core on both economic and social policy. Given public opinion, the policies of First World democracies are surprisingly libertarian.' (Andreessen's Twitter)
What's it like to train with a Navy SEAL in winter in New York for a whole month? (Andreessen's Twitter)
Best (?) book so far on the Democratic side of the 2016 race, most provocatively on the impact of the press coverage of the email hacks on the last stages of the race. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Spellbinding creative and business history of the incredibly imaginative comic book industry in the decades before it ate Hollywood. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Visceral, raw, you-are-there recounting of living through the hack attacks and resulting meltdown of the DNC in 2016. (Andreessen's Twitter)
How 1960s racial politics descended into 1970s terrorist bombings, thanks to privileged college students breaking very bad. (Andreessen's Twitter)
The founding and growth of military contractor Blackwater as told by its founder and CEO; newly relevant due to the Mueller investigation. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Startling walk through a series of domains where peak human performance is rising at remarkable rates due to 'flow state'. Thought provoking and then some. (Andreessen's Twitter)
Best (?) book so far on the Republican side of the 2016 race, and a deep dive into the intellectual origins of Bannonism and to some extent Trumpism. (Andreessen's Twitter)