From 1 website in 1990 to 1.26 billion in 2017 at the time of writing this post, there has been a stupendous growth in information on the internet. (Curious to know which was the first one? It was a website at CERN research lab invented by Tim Berners Lee)
In fact, a new website is added every fraction of a second. It’s fascinating to see the live counter for websites.
Scanning the deluge of information in cyberspace for meaningful and actionable advice is a herculean task and very frustrating at times. So, where to go for credible information?
You need to approach the experts and pick their mind. Are you worried about how will they respond to your call? Don’t bother, you can get all their wisdom from their books.
Why Follow This List When There Are So Many Lists Out There?
But there are so many reading lists for mobile app entrepreneurs. How do we decide which one to follow? You are not suggesting we read all of them, are you? No!
The best way to decide is to know the reason a particular book has been placed on the list, the credentials of the author of the book, Amazon rank + customer reviews and Goodreads ratings. I have included all these parameters below to help you take a better call.
10 Must-Read Books for Every Mobile App Entrepreneur
Here is a curated list of the top 10 books which I feel every mobile app entrepreneur must read to take their game to the A-level. I myself have read 8 of these and the other 2 come recommended from master entrepreneurs.
Reason for Inclusion
|1||The Lean Startup||Eric Ries||Developed a science for creating a successful startup||927 in books||4.5, 1975 reviews||4.04, 95k ratings|
|2||Hooked||Nir Eyal||Great insights on consumer psychology for hooking users to your product||2359 in books, 1 in Product Management||4.5, 1011 reviews||4.05, 9k ratings|
|3||The Four Hour Work Week||Tim Ferris||Realize the immensity of the 80-20 rule and power of outsourcing to build your lifestyle||333 in books, 2 in Time Management||4.5, 4999 reviews||3.84, 81k ratings|
|4||The App Empire||Chad Mureta||Great story of how an accident transformed Chad into an app millionaire||236,580 in books, 232 in computers and technology||4.2, 137 reviews||3.76, 265 ratings|
|5||Zero to One||Peter Thiel||Broadens your mindset to go exponential rather than incremental||2196 in books, 2 in economic policy||4.5, 1771 reviews||4.17, 57k ratings|
|6||The Appreneur Playbook||Charlyn Keating||Distilled advice from 32 app experts at one place||234,338 in Kindle Store||4.9, 20 reviews||4.57, 14 ratings|
|7||The One Thing||Gary Keller||Supercharge your productivity by doing only one thing at a time||14,898 in books, 276 in management||4.7, 2169 reviews||4.16, 17k ratings|
|8||How to Build a Billion Dollar App||George Berkowski||Actual experience from the Hailo’s Product Hhead on scaling an app to a billion-dollar level||49,864 in books, 73 in computers and technology||4.7, 53 reviews||4.25, 223 ratings|
|9||The Design of Everyday Things||Dan Norman||The bible on product design||1062 in books, 1 in retailing||4.4, 259 reviews||4.18, 15k ratings|
|10||Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook||Gary Vaynerchuk||Lessons from a marketing genius on using social media||2685 in books, 3 in marketing||4.7, 837 reviews||4.09, 4378 ratings|
1) The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, a serial entrepreneur, is the first book of its kind that has developed a science for creating a successful startup.
By applying the lean principles of the Toyota manufacturing system to startups, he provides a method to quickly test your ideas using the ‘Build-Measure-Learn’ feedback loop.
Highly relevant for app entrepreneurs looking to build an MVP and in deciding what features to build first.
A great rank on Amazon and an insane (95k) number of good ratings on Goodreads justify the pick.
2) Hooked – How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Hooked is the result of years of research by Nir Eyal as a professor of applied consumer psychology in Stanford Graduate School of Business and his practical experience in selling 2 startups in the video game and advertising industries.
By using riveting examples from iPhone, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest he has deciphered how to influence consumer psyche to make them keep coming back to your product.
It is rated number 1 in product management category on Amazon and has 9k great ratings on Goodreads which makes it a must for app entrepreneurs.
You can read my full book review here.
Nir Eyal also has a great course on Skillshare based on this book. If you are more of a visual learner then this is a great chance of learning directly from the master on how to build great products. You also get to network with an existing community of 1000+ like-minded people.
3) The Four Hour Work Week
The Four Hour Work Week is the story of how Tim Ferris used the power of the 80-20 rule and outsourcing to managed his six-figure business by just spending 4 hours a week.
You might think that’s a lot of bullshit but think again. Tim Ferris is an acclaimed motorcycle racer, award-winning tango dancer, ju-jitsu champion, an angel investor in Uber, Facebook, Twitter, and author of 3 New York Times bestsellers.
In fact, there is an entire community of people who have changed their lifestyle and managed to work while traveling around the world.
With an Amazon rank of 333 and a spectacular number of 81k good ratings on Goodreads, it falls into the must-read bucket.
4) The App Empire
The App Empire by Chad Mureta is the popular dream of every app entrepreneur – creating a million-dollar app business.
Apart from his fascinating story of how an accident turned a real estate guy to a millionaire app entrepreneur, his ninja hacks of discovering an app idea and launching it on the app store make it worthwhile.
He has followed it up with a great course for aspiring app entrepreneurs looking to make it big in the app domain.
It is not ranked well on Amazon or Goodreads as a lot of people don’t know about it. But this was the book that got me interested in the app domain and is highly relevant for app entrepreneurs. So, it does deserve a mention.
5) Zero to One
Zero to One by Peter Thiel, the legendary co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, is a kick in your guts to think big. His message is powerful enough to create a mindset shift.
As per Thiel, future will not be created by entrepreneurs who go from 1 to n (incremental thinking). But by those who go from 0 to 1 (exponential thinking).
For me, the best takeaway from the book was his interview question. If there is just one question that can help you figure out if you should hire the next person, what will it be? No, I am not giving it away. Read the book to find out.
A great (2196) rank on Amazon and phenomenal (57k) reviews on Goodreads makes it a great choice. It has also been rated as the most gifted book on Product Hunt.
6) The Appreneur Playbook
The Appreneur Playbook by Charlyn Keating, a digital marketer turned indie app developer, has golden nuggets of information which is useful for both an amateur as well as experienced app entrepreneur.
Charlyn developed multiple apps but real success eluded her. So, she interviewed app experts to know the secrets behind making money on the app store. This book is the distilled advice of 32 app experts at one place.
It is available only in Kindle format and has a few reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. That’s because it’s a solo effort by an indie developer without the marketing muscle of publishing giants. Don’t let that fool you.
The expert tips in this book are so effective that you can’t help but keep referencing it from time to time.
7) The One Thing – The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
The One Thing by Gary Keller, founder of one the world’s larger real estate companies, is based on increasing your productivity by doing only one thing at a time.
In a world where a lot of importance is given to multi-tasking, this might sound shocking. But it’s backed by solid research. You have to try it to experience the power of it.
It is especially relevant for an app entrepreneur where you have to wear so many hats at once – development, marketing, operations, and have trouble prioritizing.
Backed by a high rating score of 4.7 on Amazon and 17k good ratings on Goodreads it deserves a place here. The counterintuitive advice of focusing on one thing might have something to do with the low rank on Amazon.
8) How to Build a Billion Dollar App
How to Build a Billion Dollar App by George Berkowski, a serial entrepreneur and Chief Product Officer of the taxi-hailing app Hailo, is a front-seat ticket to the roller-coaster ride of a successful startup.
You also get behind the scenes scoop of stories from other billion-dollar startups like Instagram, Whatsapp, Candy Crush, and others.
It’s not that popular on Amazon or Goodreads as the subject is very niche. The practical insights on converting an idea to an app, hiring a team and scaling it to a million users guarantees this book a position on this list.
9) The Design of Everyday Things
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman, a cognitive scientist and usability engineer, is a bible for product design. You can find this book on every reading list for product managers.
Though I myself haven’t read it, it comes recommended from all UX designers that I know. Norman is a usability genius and has done a fabulous job of using design as a means to solve problems.
It is a number 1 bestseller in Industrial Design on Amazon and has 15k great ratings on Goodreads.
10) Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk, a New York Times bestselling author and social media expert, is a blueprint to social media marketing strategies that actually work.
Gary Vee, as he is popularly known, grew his family wine business from $3M to $60M in just 5 years. He runs a successful digital marketing agency VaynerMedia and is an investor in Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and others. He is also one of the judges for Apple’s Shark Tank-esque reality TV show about app developers – Planet of the Apps.
But why the boxing lingo for a marketing book? He got you hooked, didn’t he? He is good. If you are looking to market your app on social media, you got to listen to his advice.
This book is ranked number 3 in entrepreneurship marketing and has a great rating on Goodreads.
I hope these books are useful to you in your journey from an app disciple to becoming an app master. Can you think of any great book you have read that deserves to be on this list for app entrepreneurs? Let me know in the comments below. I will be happy to add it to my reading list.