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World Book Day: 5 books every entrepreneur should have

Vinnett Taylor, O2’s Head of IoT, shares a few inspiring reads for entrepreneurs on World Book Day

Today is World Book Day. If you have primary aged children then you’ve probably spotted the £1 book tokens coming home in their book bags, or got caught up in the debate about what book-themed costume they should wear. If you can tear yourself away from the last minute sewing, then maybe it’s time to consider your own next read?

Here are five inspiring, must read business books for the entrepreneur in all of us:


How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days

Author: Jake Knapp

Publisher: Bantam Press, 2016

If you get frustrated by endless project meetings that seem only to slow down the creative process then this book is for you. It’s a detailed guide to Google’s own Design Sprint, a one-week formula used by teams to compress months of work when launching a new product or service. In just five days this book will get your team from initial concept through to design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.

We use the Design Sprint process ourselves. Last year we were proud to be part of Northumbria Water Group’s (NWG) Innovation Festival, where we hosted a Sprint for six teams focused on innovative ways to create a “happier, healthier and more productive workforce”. You can find out how we got on here.


Hashtag Authentic

Finding creativity and building a community on Instagram and beyond

Author: Sara Tasker

Publisher: White Lion Publishing, 2019

I love this new book by podcaster, Instagram guru and Cosmopolitan Magazine’s content creator of the year, 2018. Sara Tasker outlines her tips, advice and guidance on how to turn a personal Instagram account into a profitable creative outlet. There are sections on visual storytelling, improving your photography skills, archiving your day-to-day life and choosing how and what to share. Not only is this book inspiring it will help you to find your online voice, grow your tribe and become an influencer.


The Lean Startup

How constant innovation creates radically successful businesses

Author: Eric Ries

Publisher: Penguin, 2011

A book that advocates constant innovation was bound to catch my eye. It claims to be the number one book recommended by entrepreneurs and it’s easy to see why.

The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers really want, creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), testing your vision continuously, and adapting and adjusting before it’s too late. Most startups fail, according to the author, Eric Ries. But adopt the lean startup methodology and yours needn’t be one of them.



The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

Author: Reid Hoffman and Chris Yea

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2018

Blitzscaling illustrates how businesses can accelerate quickly to the stage in a company’s life cycle where the most value is generated.

I’ve been talking about this book a lot lately. We all want to know the reason why so many startups don’t scale and this book felt more like a self-help book with a twist of visual literacy from ethical pirates. This book showed me the “scares” I carry from my mistakes of not knowing what I didn’t know.

This is not just a book for leaders of companies looking to scale. This is a ‘must read’ for anyone that wants to grow people, teams, departments or companies.


The Multi-Hyphen Method

Work less, create more, and design a career that works for you

Author: Emma Gannon

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, 2018

The Independent described The Multi-Hyphen Method as “a must-read for women who love what they do and don’t want to define themselves by one role.” Writer and broadcaster Emma Gannon outlines how, with internet access and a smartphone, we can work wherever and whenever we choose to, doing the things that most inspire us.

With an ageing population, and with new and increasingly accessible technology, Emma Gannon shows how the portfolio career is a viable option for anyone.


What are the books that have inspired the entrepreneur in you? Tweet us your favourites at @o2businessuk.


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