Okay, everyone on this site is impressive, but try keeping your cool as you read this massive mic-drop intro: Drew Houston is the American internet billionaire who founded Dropbox, which was estimated to be worth a full $3 billion before the company IPO’d in 2013, and is often touted as Y Combinator’s most successful investment ever (also the first to IPO), among the likes of Airbnb, Twitter, Stripe, Coinbase, and more. He was listed as a top 30-under-30 entrepreneur on Inc.com and Dropbox was named one of the best 20 Silicon Valley startups.
Houston experienced unbearable annoyance at the need for USBs and emailing himself files when sharing information. This small pain led him and his co-founder Arash Ferdowsi, whom he met at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), to create Dropbox. It was just a simple idea, but now it’s being used by over 500 million people around the world, with 11 million paying subscribers, and almost 2000 employees around the world.
He still operates as the company’s Chief Executive Officer after 12 years.
Here are the books that have really had an impact on him over the years, have guided him during certain points of his life and he continuously revisits:
This was a non-fiction book that spelled out something he didn’t know and was broken down to him in a logical way which was really important because this was an early example to him of everything being trainable; that you can learn anything where you don’t have expertise. It shattered this image to him that an engineer and a business person are separate categories. (Houston's Notes, Tim Ferriss Podcast)
He read this in his negotiations class at MIT, which was a lot on principles negotiations; the very foundations. Houston says he still frequently uses the content in his life today. (Houston's Notes, Tim Ferriss Podcast)
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.
How tech products make their way from the early adopters’ market to the mainstream. The bible for bringing cutting-edge products to larger markets—now revised and updated with new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing.
By the CEO and one of the founding engineers at Intel. Houston, and others, have often referred to this as one of the best books on management ever written.
It’s easy to mistake effort for effectiveness, and Houston says the book helped him introduce tactics to prevent mistaking the two.The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to 'get the right things done.'
This book is more on the experience of running a company. Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.
This book was more philosophical, written by Warren Buffett's business partner. Poor Charlie's Almanack is a collection of speeches and talks by Charlie Munger, compiled by Peter D. Kaufman.
One of the most important and influential books written in the past half-century, Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a powerful, moving, and penetrating examination of how we live . . . and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better. Here is the book that transformed a generation: an unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America's Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son.
Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.