Top 15 must read books for SaaS founders for 2019:

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Spencer Coon
Jan 02, 2019

The new year calls for a new start and some new inspiration. To see everything with fresh eyes, look to the words and experiences of others in your shoes. With uncharted waters like the SaaS ecosystem which is always changing, experience is key.

You may want to look into downloading a few new and old books from those who have navigated the waters before. Some of the books on this list are new and offer a fresh perfective and others are classic with inspiration and guidance that will always ring true.

Here are the top 15 must read books for SaaS founders for 2019:

Sales:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

It’s been over ten years since this selling bible hit the shelves, but it’s principles and concrete advice is still relevant and helpful for any founder beginning their journey of selling their creation. Dr. Robert Cialdini is a persuasion expert and shares his perspective on selling by building influence and getting to the heart of what matters to your customers. Stock full of plenty of evidence based research, this book gives you concrete ideas to incorporate into your 2019 strategy that are tried and true.

The Sales Acceleration Formula:

For those of your more technical founders moving into sales for the first time as you take on many hats, this is the book for you. Mark Roberge uses nothing but data to show you how to create a foolproof strategy for exponential sales. He covers everything from hiring, training, managing, and generating demand with a focus on data, technology, and inbound selling. For those of your who are analytically minded, this book will resonate well with you and inspire you.

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

This book is more philosophical in its approach and analysis of sales. Daniel H. Pink explores all the ways in which we as employees and entrepreneurs (and humans, really) sell everyday to each other. He explores the different ways in which we can make our approach to selling more human and approachable and less of an over-the-top persuasion focused machine. For a founder in the “relationship era” of sales and marketing, this book is a must.

Top 15 must read books for SaaS founders

Product Development:

Hooked: How To Build Habit Forming Products

So our team actually had the opportunity to speak to the author Nir Eyal and this book is actually quite altruistic in its approach to design despite the name. Eyal delves deep into why certain products are “sticky” and engaging and helpful and how others can create the same effect when building products. His approach is not that products should be addictive or have a negative effect on the user but rather that they should be intuitive and inherently helpful to where they work flawlessly to improve the user’s life.

Steal Like An Artist:

For those of you who are finding yourself in a creative position and working with creatives very closely to build products, this book will help you see creativity from a different perspective. The focus of the book is showing you that creativity doesn’t require you to be a master artist (or designer) or a genius, it just requires that you think critically about your audience (or users) and build off of all the information you already have. It puts you in a fresh mindset to approach to building a product and user experience.

Don’t Make Me Think:

Steve Krug, a usability consultant, teaches how to build products that actually help and improve the lives of users by building something that doesn’t make users confused and having to think at any point. With great humor and case studies, Steve shows you how simplicity is something that can be learned and easily implemented into an intuitive product that sells itself. It’s as technical as it is philosophical as well so you can apply what you learn right away.

The Lean Product Playbook:

If you’re an anything-founder, you’ve heard the term “lean” and likely live by it. Here’s another way to apply the concept to your business! In this book, Dan Olsen, gives you a practical and straightforward guide to building products that customers love through a lean and experimental method designed to not blow your budget and improve every step of the way. There’s a very clear guide to follow in this book you can work through as you go.

Top 15 must read books for SaaS founders

Marketing:

They Ask, You Answer:

This is a completely straightforward guide to fixing your marketing struggles and strategy. Marcus Sheridan harps on the fact that it’s no longer enough to just be technical about marketing strategy and it’s time to put creativity in to create quality content that truly answers your customers’ questions and problems; hence the name. This book will inspire you and give you an actionable path to creating a value-centric content plan that serves your target customers and brings qualified leads.

Growth Hacker Marketing:  

This is the ultimate guide a new era of guerilla marketing full of tips and tricks you can put to action while you’re working your way through the book. Ryan Holiday shares all the actionable tricks he and others have used to gain organic exposure online through all the little viral and niche ways that are proven to really work. There are plenty you can gain inspiration from and try right now with little investment or work.

All Marketers Tell Stories:

If you’ve been doing your research, you’ve definitely heard the term “storytelling” in reference to marketing. This “new” approach means using personal appeal and authenticity to sell and speak to your target audience. This guide from Seth Godin shows you how to do that effectively with your brand’s voice to create personal connection that your target audience appreciates, remembers, and buys into.

Top 15 must read books for SaaS founders

Leadership and entrepreneurship:

The Hard Thing About Hard Things:

Sometimes you need the hard hitting truth and this book delivers that for anyone who needs a kick to keep on track (we all do). Written by a silicon valley startup founder, this is a no-BS look at what it takes to build a successful company, particularly SaaS. It’s both inspiring and sobering, which is really the perfect combination for a book for startup founders. There is a lot of practical wisdom as well; nuggets of advice you can apply to your management style and personal approach. It’s great to have on hand to keep your mind in the right place.

Rework:

Another great read from a seasoned tech founder! Jason Fried offers a new perspective on the typical “business plan” approach to starting and building a business. Jason throws business plans, staff, offices, and workaholism out the window and presents you with a new perspective on work and your business that focuses on true productivity and organic exposure and growth. It’s a must read for a different perspective and counterintuitive ideas that have worked for some of the fastest growing companies.

The Lean Startup:

What used to be a concept has now become a bible in the startup/founder world. Eric Ries founds the book on the premise that most startup failure is preventable by shifting business strategy to a system of validated learning, rapid scientific experimentation, and measuring true progress. He stresses keeping operations and costs “lean” throughout this process (hence the name) so early companies and their founders can make quick decisions and move with agility to adapt to inevitable changing circumstance; the key to survival and growth.

Top 15 must read books for SaaS founders

If you’re starting the new year looking for inspiration and a fresh start, download any of these books from Amazon to be read when you get a break from work for new perspectives, ideas, and inspiration from those who have been there!