It’s been said that people often give the gifts they want to receive. Perhaps that’s why I’m so often attracted to bookstores when I’m doing my holiday shopping. As my family will attest, if I get a book for Hannukah and one under our Christmas tree, I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve collected a list of my favorite, worn and well-loved copies of books that have altered or furthered my thinking in some way, and that I would recommend for any entrepreneur. While some are business books, and some are specifically about my area of business (food), others have a much broader appeal. Some have been around forever, and some will be.
· The Founder’s Dilemmas, by Noam Wasserman. Quite simply, this is a groundbreaking book. Based on extensive research, Wasserman chronicles founders’ most common mistakes and why they make them.
· The Hero’s Journey, by Joseph Campbell. Everyone should read this book no matter what their profession or life story. It’s mind-blowingly thoughtful about the essence of life. It also happens to be unbelievably on point for what the entrepreneurial road holds.
· High Hanging Fruit, by Mark Rampolla. Full disclosure: Mark is a friend and a REBBL board member and investor, but when you read his book, you’ll see the appeal for yourself. He’s a descriptive writer who really makes you feel what it’s like to start a beverage company, and then takes you through the nuts and bolts of building it.
· The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries. An unbelievably practical book that changed—and improved—the way companies come to life.
· Raising the Bar, by Gary Erickson. Gary, Clif Bar’s cofounder, was one of my greatest mentors, so it’s no surprise his book makes my list. He showed me what it looks like to run a business thoughtfully and with a larger purpose, and his book does the same for all readers.
· Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, by Brené Brown. I couldn’t choose just one of Brené’s books. She powerfully captures the importance of vulnerability, of what it means to fall in the arena and get back up again.
· The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Cooked, by Michael Pollan. Though they are not business books, Pollan’s works are crucial to understanding the food world and how people think about their relationship with food. As I am in the business of food, I feel qualified to say that his contribution to our field is invaluable.
· Blessed Unrest, by Paul Hawken. Hawken is a visionary who explores the social and environmental change movement. He helped me understand what it takes to create change and build a movement. As we chart new territory as entrepreneurs, this is an insightful read.