What good bootstrapping related books can you recommend in 2016?

More than half of 2016 has gone by and I am wondering what outstanding bootstrapped or business related book have you read (or written) that you can recommend to us fellow bootstrappers?

You learn by doing it, not by reading about it. Everyone’s path to success is different and you can read those books indefinitely.

The idea that you can’t learn something that will help you from books is ridiculous. Yes just reading without implementing what you learn is useless but there is huge value (and to be fair also a lot of sh*t) to be had.

It’s not from this year but something I read earlier this year and really liked was Small Giants by Bo Burlingham.

I sort of agree with this, as most books on “entrepreneurship” are written for Fortune 500 companies, or for people going for VC funding (money is no issue! Hire salesmen!)

That said, there are a few books for bootstrappers:

1 Just Fuckin’ Ship by Amy Hoy is where you should start, as most people never start

2 The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick is the only book I would read about customer interviews

3 Secrets of Consulting by Gerry Weinberg is one of the best books I’ve read, and useful for bootstrappers too.

4 Something on copywriting. Copybloggers have a few free pdfs (you have to register). Their free pdfs are much better than many paid books I bought.

“May I have your attention please” by Mish Slade is what I read recently and isn’t bad.

5 The Brain Audit by Sean DSouza- Wow, is this a great book. Easy to read, every page with actionable stuff

That’s it. I wouldn’t read too many books.

Edit: Forgot a great book I read just recently. It was so good, I immediately read it again, this time making notes on almost every other page. Baddass: Making Users Awesome by Kathy Sierra.


The books will help you clarify what it is you actually need do.

I found http://www.singlefounderhandbook.com/ helpful, http://www.leanb2bbook.com/ is worth looking into, http://www.startupbook.net/ has been around for a while and Rob has a proven track record on the subject matter. Books like Crossing the Chasm and that sort of thing may also help. Seth Godin could fill a moderate-sized library. Different books will mean different things to different people. Cherry-pick the bits you can relate to and skip the rest. There is no startup Bible.

Other information sources include podcasts, Business of Software, Microconf etc videos. You could spend the rest of your life reading, watching and listening. Don’t. Learn the least you need to start doing damage and that’s when the real learning starts. Then you will learn what it is you need to learn, then focus on that.

It’s my belief that it’s best to mix action and education.

If you only read books and never act, you’ll of course never accomplish anything.

On the other hand, if you only act and never read anything, it’ll take you forever to accomplish anything (unless you get really lucky) because you’re trying to figure everything out yourself.

I’d be curious to know exactly what you’re interested in learning. The idea of a “bootstrapping-related” book is pretty broad.

These days I usually don’t read “business” books; they’re usually too high-level to be helpful to me. (I mean books like Good to Great, Purple Cow, etc.) Most of what I read now is tactical stuff. Here’s a list of business-ey books I’ve read lately:

  • Landing Page Optimization
  • The Boron Letters (a copywriting book)
  • Your First 1000 Copies (a book about how to market and sell a book)
  • Hourly Billing is Nuts

I used to listen to a lot of podcasts but I’m burnt out on podcasts these days because it’s mostly just a bunch of mouth diarrhea with very little substance.

I believe podcasts are like blog posts in that they were mainly created for the sake of “putting out content” as opposed to books which are more often written because the author has something genuinely useful to share, with the content presented in a cohesive, linear format.

But I also haven’t been able to find many good tactical business books on Audible, so I usually listen to biographies. I want to put something educational in my ears while I’m driving and I figure it’s better to consume something high-quality that’s indirectly related to business than something that’s more business-oriented but mostly noise.

I’m probably not speaking to your question anymore but hopefully that rambling is somewhat useful.