The Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf: 5 Books You Need to Own



What should you read to better prepare yourself to work at ZX Ventures? We asked Pedro Earp, Chief Disruptive Growth Officer for AB InBev, to tell us what books he has on his shelf. Each offers insight into the key principles that guide our day-to-day operations. 

The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win by Steve Blank

The Four Steps to the Epiphany is a classic that has helped to launch thousands upon thousands of new ventures. This influential book spearheaded the lean startup approach to business, recognizing that the needs of startups differ significantly from those of existing and large businesses. Blank introduces a four-step customer development process and shares real-world examples of its use in thriving startups. Just as The Lean Startup is crucial to understanding how ZX Ventures has made decisions, so too is this text.

The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf

Uncertainty plays a role in almost any startup enterprise; this 608-page reference manual can provide some clarity when obstacles arise. The Startup Owner’s Manual employs a rigorous approach to entrepreneurship, highlighting how important it is to use the scientific method of repeated and stringent testing to determine results. It describes an innovative customer acquisition process and explains how the right metrics can fuel business growth. 

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (and What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail

Technology is the key to successful performance in almost any type of business. Ismail identifies a new type of organization that has recently evolved—the Exponential Organization—that experiences accelerated growth by leveraging tools such as big data and algorithms. We have incorporated Ismail’s 10 main characteristics of Exponential Organizations into our work at ZX Ventures.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Failure is preventable. In The Lean Startup, Ries outlines a novel approach to erecting sustainable startups that make faster, better decisions. Through a process of continuous re-evaluation, these businesses can ensure greater efficiency and optimal success. The Lean Startup is a key book for many employees at ZX Ventures and has influenced many of the decisions we’ve made over the years. It is also a seminal text for participants in our ZxLerator program, as it functions as a primer for many of the decisions they will need to make when working with startups.

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen

In this book, innovation expert Christensen focuses on disruptive technologies and how companies miss out on innovation because they are not working to their full disruptive potential. From exploring how companies have failed or succeeded, Christensen synthesizes a set of rules for using disruptive technology. At ZX Ventures, we are trying to redefine the world of beer. We are following the rules outlined in this book to make faster progress toward our own goals.