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The Factory’s Favorite Summer Reads

It’s already cliché to say the summer of 2020 (or should we say the year 2020?) isn’t going quite as we planned it. Nevertheless, staying true to our optimistic spirit, we keep looking at the bright side! Let’s be honest: minimizing our social activities allows us to spend more time on other stuff, like nourishing our brains, for example. That’s why, in this article, we’ll help you complete your “to read” list with The Factory’s favorite summer reads!

The Factory’s team members looked into their bookshelves to share their favorite reads about entrepreneurship. Scroll down to read recommendations of Johnny, Jelle, Sam, Birgit, and Gloria! Do you disagree, or feel like your absolute nr 1 book is missing? Please send us your feedback!

Johnny Waterschoot
– Wavespace Manager

1. The hard thing about hard things – Ben Horowitz

This book is a must-read for startups and growth CEOs. Horowitz shares a compilation of the lessons learned at Netscape (who’s old enough to remember?) and Andreessen Horowitz, which he founded with Marc Andreessen. It’s not a book written by a management guru, but by someone who has been in the trenches and undoubtedly had a lot of sleepless nights figuring out how to make his company survive. There’s a lot of advice for CEOs in there, ranging from how to direct your company through rough times, to minimize politics in your company.”

2. Only the paranoid survive – Andy Grove

“Interesting because this is the book where Grove talks about strategic inflection points, which has been used ever since by others. Inflection points are often dramatic and enormous changes businesses are going through, and once it’s all over and the dust settles, there’s a whole new landscape… some will be stronger, others will have lost control and are sliding into oblivion… This is very interesting for both big and small companies, as it is usually the startups that jump onto those inflection points and leave corporates in the dust.”

3. Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore

“Back in the day (like, 1991), one of the “must-read” books for high-tech startups was “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers“. It was a book targeted to tech startups (yes, in the nineties we had those too) and focused on how to bridge the “chasm” between early adopters and mainstream customers. After crossing the chasm, came the ride up “inside the tornado” (yes, that was the follow-on book, still available on Amazon).”

Sam Michem
– Innovation Enabler

1. How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine . . . for Now – Stanislas Dehaene

This book inspires and equips you to use your brain in a more effective way to learn faster and better. This practical guide is not only relevant for entrepreneurs, but for anyone looking to get the full potential out of our mind and memory.”

2. Rework – Jason Fried

“What I like about this book is that it is very straightforward and can be applied for aspiring entrepreneurs, but also provides you with insights on creating a better, well-managed life in general. Instead of providing you with frameworks on how to approach things, the author focuses on establishing a productive work ethic.”

3. The Phoenix and The Unicorn – Peter Hinssen

“I’ve always been quite intrigued by Hinssen’s view on the topic of innovation. His newest release does certainly not disappoint. This book offers many inspiring innovation cases and can help you reinvent yourself like a “phoenix”, meaning companies that are able to rethink themselves in cycles. Especially relevant in these unusual times, this book may provide you with inspiration for your business.”

Jelle Jacobs
– Innovation Enabler

1. China’s new normal – How China sets the standard for innovation – Pascal Coppens

“A shocking wake up call to realize that Silicon Valley is not the only place where radical disruption is created. The book talks about 8 important industries and how the Chinese disruption is creating the new normal in these industries, with technologies and disruption that sounds like science fiction for us. While reading the book I became a little stressed about the speed of innovation in China. It gives (aspiring) entrepreneurs another big urge to start and keep building great products or services.”

2. 21 questions for the 21st century – Yuval Noah Harari

“While Harari’s other bestsellers ‘Sapiens’ and ‘Homo Deus’ are explaining history and future, this book is focusing more on the present of our 21st century. Although it is not a real business book, it gives some great ideas and insights about how we could solve our main societal challenges. I liked the book because it gives you some guidance about where our artificial intelligence and biotech revolutions can take us. Either you are on the right side of history, or you will become totally obsolete as a human being.”

3. Hooked: how to build habit-forming products – Nir Eyal

“Ever wondered why you can scroll multiple times a day through your Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin feed? And feel the urge to do this every day again and again? It’s all about intelligent design and making addictive products/services to keep customers engaged. My feeling when I read this book: God damn, they have been screwing me over for years!”

Birgit Everaert
– Marketing & People Lead

1. The new one minute manager – Spencer Johnson

“At first, I was quite uncomfortable with the unusual structure of this book. But I loved the very straightforward approach on how to motivate your team and adopt a scalable approach to people management! The content is all about efficiency and effectiveness. Even the book itself is made with efficiency in mind: only about 100 pages long, large font type, and easy to understand storytelling. Sometimes, I just quickly browse through the pages to remind myself of the key learnings. Johnson made that last one easy as they pop out so clearly in the layout of the book!”

2. The Brand Flip: Why customers now run companies, and how to profit from it – Marty Neumeier

“When your copy of a book is filled with notes, post-its, and dog-ears, you know it’s a good book. Marty Neumeier, a talented storyteller, explains how customers took over the ownership of brands and how you, as a marketeer, can help them take that ownership. Neumeier combines text with lots of visual support (images, tables, and schematics) which allows you to fully emerge with the content!”

Gloria Mathys
– Innovation Marketer

1. GRIP – Rick Pastoor

“Rick Pastoor is Head of Product of the Dutch startup Blendle. With his own experience in mind, he takes you by the hand and neatly dives into your (work) week, month, year, and life altogether. This book will help entrepreneurs to stay on top of things and not be overwhelmed by their many to-dos. Grip contains a lot of practical ready-to-implement tips and nice visual frameworks that stick. I enjoyed reading this so much, I got rid of inefficient work ways, and feel I’m more structured, not only at work but also in daily life.”

We hope this list of The Factory’s favorite Summer Reads inspired you to start reading about entrepreneurship! Did you know these lovely folks also support your startup in growing your business? Take a look at this page to discover how, or simply book a timeslot to share your questions with us!