These days, anyone can drop out of college or quit their job, start a company (or more specifically, build a product), and sell it to Facebook 22 months later for $1 billion. Well, not anyone, but there's precedence now thanks to Instagram. I don't imagine anyone will follow quite the same trajectory, but reading about Silicon Valley - the epicenter of modern entrepreneurism - can be educational, invigorating, and just plain interesting. The following list of books includes entertaining tales and practical advice from successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. All contain common themes like individualism, hard work, fun, and, dare I say it, unconventional thinking!
You may have heard about Peter Thiel, or even seen him (well, an actor playing a caricature of him) on HBO's Silicon Valley. He's an uber-successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist, most notable for starting Paypal and investing in Facebook. In this book, he shares all his wisdom and learnings in his characteristic pull-no-punches manner.
Like Peter Thiel, Ben Horowitz doesn't sugar-coat anything. Also like Thiel, Horowitz is an amazingly prescient entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist. In this book, he intersperses his own business advice with hilarious real-life stories. It's an unoriginal formula, but it ain't broke. Don't fix it, just read it. (Wow that's corny, haha. Oof.)
Note: At points, this book gets heavy on business advice, so if that's not your cup of tea, keep scrolling.
If you've heard about Reddit or Hipmunk, than you know Alexis Ohanian: he started both. He's a relatively young guy compared to Horowitz and Thiel, and he's a lot more "bash-against-the-walls" than that older generation. Impossible is nothing to him, and after reading this book, you'll feel the same way.
It's hard not to like Mark Cuban. If you've ever seen "Shark Tank," you know he's practical, outspoken, and extremely smart. He's definitely a "non-conformist," and this quick read (it's short!) cements that. In it, he explains why you should think twice about college and graduate school (sound familiar), why money really isn't important in life, and more.
Google may be old and bloated in Silicon Valley terms, but that doesn't make it any less innovative and interesting to read about. It's unlike any of the traditional "corporations" you probably know, and hearing it directly from the former CEO Eric Schmidt makes it all the more interesting to learn about. After reading this, you'll start to question why certain things are the way they are in your own organization (unless, of course, you work at Google.)
This is the Liar's Poker of Silicon Valley. Antonio Martinez is a guy who worked as a quant for JP Morgan, started a company that he later sold to Twitter, and then joined Facebook during its formative years. Fortunately for us, he decided to write a tell-all book about the inner workings of Silicon Valley companies! It's a little gossipy, but it's a super-fun read, and Martinez's blistering commentary on everything from Wall Street to middle management in general will have you cracking up.