Leaders and readers. That rings true, and it is especially important for start-up founders and executives who want to avoid the pitfalls of failure—especially the ones with messy endings. Our books below illustrate not only important lessons from failed start-ups, but also work by beloved author Bernadette Jiwa, who impounds the importance of meaning behind your brand, as well as best sales communications by expert Phil M. Jones. Check them out!


Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

The Wall Street Journal investigative reporter John Carreyrou deftly investigates the truth behind Theranos, a company that started off with the aim of changing the pharmaceutical industry. In the end, John reveals that it was all a lie, as the revolutionary handheld box that was claimed to be able to administer a number of medical tests with a single prick turned out to be non-existent.

John proves his worth as a journalist through an exhaustive investigation that includes interviews with more than 150 people, most of them ex-Theranos employees. The most important message from the book is not just about the scam and the impact it had on patients, it is also actually about the promise of the tech industry itself, where there is a culture of overpromising to attract investors. Overpromising, abusing employees as the norm for “start-up culture”, and avoiding laws and morality with the promise of innovation are things that should be observed and possibly changed for a healthier start-up environment.


Meaningful by Bernadette Jiwa

Bernadette Jiwa provides a compelling view on brand marketing through her book Meaningful, in which she emphasis on how marketing starts by understanding a customer’s lives and how companies can help them find solutions. She says that most businesses that succeed do not start with the best idea or biggest budget, but they start with the story of someone who wants to do something and they can’t.

Meaningful showers us with many examples of businesses that truly understand somebody’s problem before they get started on a product or service. She captivates our imagination through the stories of companies like Black Milk Clothing, Canva, GoPro, Flow Hive, Khan Academy, and Nike Flyease. From each story, you will start to understand that how your product or service impacts your customers’ feelings is what matters in the end.


Exactly What To Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact by Phil M. Jones

Wanting to make an impact on investors, employees, or potential clients? Then this book will help you choose the right words. As a leading sales expert, Phil M. Jones trains people in the art of communication. His message is that oftentimes the decision between a customer choosing you over your competitor is your knowledge on what to say, as well as when and how to make it really counts. With so many ideas and easy-to-implement suggestions, this book will assist you to get the outcomes you need from the conversations you have.


Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath

Authors Chip and Dan Heath take us through stories of ideas that stuck and explain to us ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Throughout the book, you will be entertained with discoveries of “sticky” messages in different kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a vision for a new product at Sony. Readees are taken on a tour of interesting success stories from the Novel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria just to prove a point about stomach ulcers to an elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Not only provocative, Made to Stick shows us the essential principles of winning ideas that we can use to make our own messages stick.


The Smartest Guys In The Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

A few years ago, Enron was seen as the epitome of a successful New Economy company, with sky-high profits and share prices. However, journalist Bethany McLean was sharp enough to ask how exactly they made money, and, since then, Enron’s real issues started to surface. Fortune senior writers Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind then started their meticulous research on the truth behind Enron and the book successfully takes the reader behind Enron’s closed doors of private meetings.

Talking to a range of unique sources, the book takes us from Enron’s rise to its disastrous end. The book reveals a story of greed, arrogance, and lies—an encapsulation of all that is wrong with many businesses today. Aside from the fascinating human drama, hopefully this will be an account that will prove to contain valuable lessons for growing start-ups.


 See Also: 10 Non-Fiction Books To Read In 2018

Tags: Books, Startups, Learning, Autumn Reads, 2018 Books To Rea