Proust Venture

A List For Your Next Tech-Friendly Book Club

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. 

  1. 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.) 
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.)
  6. A Beautiful Question by Frank Wilczek (As recommended by Alex Marshall, who works on special projects with First Round Capital.)
  7. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. (As recommended by Rachel Murray, the co-founder of She+ Geeks Out.)
  8. The Bible and Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (As recommended by Jody Rose, the president of the New England Venture Capital Association.)
  9. Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss. (As recommended by Andrea Walne, a partner at Manhattan Venture Partners.)
  10. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. (As recommended by Maia Bittner, co-founder of Chime-owned Pinch.)
  11. Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. (As recommended by Sarah Kunst, the managing director at Cleo Capital.)
  12. 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


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