Are you also bored of reading strictly business books? I definitely have enough of experiments based on American students so we could know how to develop a company in Poland.

I have no more interest in theory, let’s see how it works in practice. These are the stories that inspired me – real stories of real companies.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz.

The author is a founder of well-known and active found called VC Andreessen Horowitz. This book is like a psychologist visit for entrepreneur. It has a description of many very difficult business moments for Horowitz.

So if you think you have it tough get to the point when Ben, as CEO, had a meeting with Supervisory Board and was asked: “When are you planning to hire a real director?”. And it gets worse.

There’s a great conclusion at the end, that most of business book are written for companies that already settled down on a market, but it has nothing to do with startups.  Horowitz writes about many situations and the way they handle them.

 Hatching Twitter: A True Story Of Money , Power, Friendship and Betrayal by Nick Bilton.

It’s a story of Twitter’s development, that I wasn’t familiar with. Very interesting. If you were impressed by what you saw in Social Network, movie about Facebook’s beginnings as a startup, you’ll find this book far more detailed. No morals, but it’s a good material for analysis and “if I were you” questions. A lot about VC founds too.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

I read a book about Amazon before and I had to put a thought into reaching for another one, but Stone’s book brings a totally new quality. Well written, with eyewitness statements gives a picture of how Amazon really works. You will find stories about price war and subsidy on sale worth millions of dollars, just to companies could be acquired by Amazon – like Diaspers and Zappos, and that’s just a beginning.

You might think, after reading this book, that only psychopaths with a lot of luck can built companies. Amazon, just like Apple or Microsoft, puts all eggs in one basket and risks a lot to fulfil founder’s idea. It’s also a great example of companies lead not by hired CEOs  but by their founders. It gives you love- hate feelings every few pages.

Groupon’s Biggest Deal Ever: The Inside Story of How One Insane Gamble, Tons of Unbelievable Hype, and Millions of Wild Deals Made Billions for One Ballsy Joker by Frank Sennett.

A book recommended by a friend, Marcin Chwalik. We were introduced to Groupon when it was already on fast growth track, and here you can read about how it all started, what the founders inspirations were. You will also find a bit about the Samwer Brothers. One of interesting points for me was that, what makes Groupon so valuable for all the American dot-coms, is that it was a first very strong ground mercantile network, which allowed to get deeper into a market than Google or Yahoo. Impressive.

Tomasz Karwatka

Supervisory Board Member at Divante. Leading industry voice who believes eCommerce can improve our world. Co-founder of Vue Storefront and Open Loyalty, angel investor, and founder of Tech To The Rescue. CEO at Divante eCommerce Technology Company | LinkedIn | Twitter

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