The book I always recommend is “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel. This book is, just as the subtitle says, a collection of notes by Peter Thiel, former PayPal co-founder and early investor in Facebook.
The reason I recommend this book is because Peter Thiel is a seasoned investor and most start-ups’ main goal is to acquire funding. Even if that is not your goal this book will teach you to think like an investor and outline what investors look for. Why is this important even if you are not looking for funding? Because investors look at things that point towards a healthy business and you definitely want to be a healthy business.
Peter Thiel encourages you to ask questions about your business that will uncover whether or not you are headed towards success or a fiasco. It will help you avoid very basic mistakes a lot of new founders make. It’s a short book that you can finish fairly quickly, yet comprehensive enough to leave you with a lot of new found knowledge.
Questions Thiel will encourage to ask yourself range from whether or not you are creating a breakthrough technological improvement or just an incremental change, whether or not it is the right time to begin your business, whether or not you have the right team, market and the right delivery /distribution systems to market your product, whether or not your position will be defendable against big competitors now and in the future. Fundamental questions every business owner should be able to answer but my experience shows that most are not.