7 startup founders recommend their inspiring books

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*With the collaboration of Gabriela Del Carmen, Gustavo Brigatto, Leandro Souza and Stephanie Tondo

Much more than entertainment, books can also be an excellent way to gain repertoire. Whether it’s to follow trends, study the strategies that led a company to success (or failure), learn about a certain topic or even learn about a story of resilience, a good read is, for many entrepreneurs, one of the best and most effective sources of knowledge .

With that in mind, the Startups spoke with executives who are references in the innovation market and to understand which works have, in some way, marked their trajectories and helped them build a successful journey.

Below are reading tips from seven startup founders, books that can also inspire you as an entrepreneur:

Fabrício Bloisi, CEO of iFood

“The New Enlightenment is one of my favorite books. He brings a vision of the psychology of humanity — how we are advancing, how society works and how we face complex problems, such as wars and misinformation. It is an optimistic book, which shows that we are making progress with a lot of data, despite so many difficulties. It’s a very long book, but it’s worth reading!”

Mariana Dias, CEO and co-founder of Gupy

Book: Make it happen

Author: Sheryl Sandberg

Cover of the book Make It Happen, by Sheryl Sandberg (Photo: Reproduction/Amazon)

“This book was essential in my learning about the challenges faced by women in the corporate world. Leading a scale-up, I found valuable insights to overcome obstacles. Sheryl’s direct approach brought a new perspective on the barriers faced by women in business, of which there are many.

Highlighting social pressure and challenging the idea of ​​personal sacrifices for professional success, the book is an inspirational and practical mix. I recommend reading it for all leaders who seek to promote a more inclusive environment in their companies. And for female CEOs looking for guidance, Sheryl’s insights are a valuable compass for tackling specific challenges. The book is a personal source of inspiration for shaping a more equitable and inclusive corporate environment.”

Fabiano Cruz, CEO and co-founder of Zoop

Book: Letters to a Young Therapist

Author: Contardo Calligaris

“It is a work that reflects on the practice of psychotherapy through a series of letters written to a young colleague. In these letters, Calligaris shares his experience, offering insights into the complexity of human relationships, the importance of active listening, and the ability to remain open and questioning. He discusses the challenge of balancing empathy and detachment, as well as emphasizing the relevance of self-understanding and continuous development, both personal and professional.

Drawing a parallel with the life of an entrepreneur, Calligaris’ work highlights skills that are also essential for success in business. Just like a therapist, an entrepreneur needs to be a good listener, able to understand and respond to the needs of others (whether customers, partners or employees). The ability to adapt, continually learn, and keep an open mind are key in both fields. Furthermore, the balance between empathy and assertiveness, crucial in therapy, is equally important in entrepreneurship, where managing relationships and making assertive decisions are keys to success.”

Francisco Pereira, CEO and founder of Trademaster

Book: The Speed ​​of Trust

Author: Stephen MR Covey

“The book shows, through a practical and convincing vision, how trust is not just an intangible value, but the key to achieving more ambitious and lasting goals, in addition to enabling the flourishing of solid relationships and cohesive teams. It is essential reading for leaders seeking not only immediate success, but also a solid foundation for the sustainable growth of their teams and organizations.”

Gonzalo Parejo, CEO and co-founder of Kamino

Book: Extreme Responsibility: How Navy Seals Lead and Win

Authors: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

“The work inspired my journey and offers powerful leadership principles derived from military experiences that are highly applicable to the entrepreneurial context. The central concept of the book is precisely the idea that leaders must take responsibility for the failures and successes of their team, promoting a culture in which blame is not transferred and challenges are faced head-on. It also teaches CEOs to focus on the most critical issues first, making decisions and executing them effectively, thereby improving productivity and decision-making under pressure. Furthermore, the book presents leadership as a skill that can be developed and refined with practical strategies to improve team cohesion and overall company performance.”

Tatiana Pimenta, CEO and founder of Vittude

Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Author: Ben Horowitz

“I’m going to recommend a book that I’ve already read three times: once at the very beginning, when my daughter was 1 month old; then again when we raise the seed; and last time right after we raised the Series A round. A main point is that it shows that the entrepreneurial life, although rewarding, is extremely challenging. The author shares several moments of suffering and challenges, both in fundraising and also in people management. He narrates an episode where he needs to disconnect one of his friends, who worked with him, thinking about the good of the company. Entrepreneurship seems beautiful to those who see it from the outside, but the reality is that it is lonely, painful and requires great resilience. When I read the book, I feel like I’m not so alone.”

Pablo Cavalcanti, CEO and co-founder of Inmetrics

Book: The Mark of Victory

Author: Phil Knight

“I really like this story about courage, persistence and dreams. Firstly, because it is beautiful! The way it was written is exciting, it feels like a movie. Phil Knight, co-founder and former CEO of Nike, is an inspiring entrepreneur. He works hard, is very persistent, has a series of setbacks, betrayals. Anyway, he goes through a lot of difficulties, but he is a guy who doesn’t give up on his dream, who created a simple culture of work, of innovation, written in the Nike Manifesto, which is a masterpiece on organizational culture. The values ​​that are there are incredible and have everything to do with my personal values ​​and what I want in the Inmetrics culture.”


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: startup founders recommend inspiring books

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