We talk a lot about startups, especially the dollars they raise (and burn). But what actually runs a startup are the people, and Season 3 of Proust Goes Tech looked beyond the numbers to find out what really makes founders and operators in startupland tick.
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This season, we talked to 12 entrepreneurs—11 of which happened to be women in tech—and there’s one question I asked of every Proust participant that stood above all else (at least for this writer): What’s your favorite book?
In return, I got the names of comic strips, and self help books, and fiction books that have inspired a wave of tech professionals in some way. Long story short, if you’re new to tech and need inspiration and knowledge, these books may contain the lessons you need.
- East of Eden, By John Steinbeck (As recommended by Paola Santana, the founder of Social Glass, a software startup to help government organizations communicate better.)
- The Alchemist by Paul Coelho and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz (As recommended by Lolita Taub, the chief of staff at Catalyte and a previous principal at Backstage Capital.)
- How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie (As recommended by Kaan Gunay, the CEO and founder of Firefly, a car advertisement startup.)
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Be Fierce: Stop Harassment And Take Your Power Back by Gretchen Carlson (As recommended by Elizabeth Ashford, the senior director of communications at Eaze, a cannabis delivery startup.)
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. (As recommended by Erin Bury, the CEO of Willful, a Toronto startup that helps people make wills online without seeing a lawyer.)
- A Beautiful Question by Frank Wilczek (As recommended by Alex Marshall, who works on special projects with First Round Capital.)
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. (As recommended by Rachel Murray, the co-founder of She+ Geeks Out.)
- The Bible and Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (As recommended by Jody Rose, the president of the New England Venture Capital Association.)
- Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss. (As recommended by Andrea Walne, a partner at Manhattan Venture Partners.)
- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. (As recommended by Maia Bittner, co-founder of Chime-owned Pinch.)
- Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. (As recommended by Sarah Kunst, the managing director at Cleo Capital.)
- Mafalda by Quino. (As recommended by Natalia Oberti Noguera, the CEO and founder of Pipeline Angels.)
Bottom line: this would be an awesome place to start if you’re interested in starting a book club of your own, or just want a masterclass on what it takes to raise your hand as a tech professional. I’m going to read some myself, too, starting with Kunst-recommended Attached. Let me know what reads end up being your favorites.
Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias