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I reached out to some Nigerian startup founders, asking them to share some of their favourite reads that have influenced their entrepreneurial journey. With genres ranging from historical fiction, to business management, here are the thirty three books they recommended:

Mark Essien (Founder/CEO, Hotels.ng)

1. The Martian by Andy Wier

2. Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers by Gabriel Weinberg

3. Competition Demystified: A Radically Simplified Approach to Business Strategy by Bruce Greenwald

Tayo Oviosu (Founder/CEO, Pagatech Limited)

In Tayo’s words, “I am actually not a fan of most business books. My best advice to a startup founder is when it comes to books, read fiction so when you are reading, you really get your mind out of business and into another world.”

That said, here are the five business books he recommends:

4. Discover Your True North by Bill George and David Gergen

Tayo says “it’s a great book that helps you think about the directional path you want your life to take.”

5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

6. Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims

The book provides a good framework for approaching things in your business

7. Inbox Freedom: The Zen Master’s Guide to Tackling Your Email and Work by Mike Ghaffary and Charles Hudson

The book contains simple, practical but powerful lessons to gain control of your email inbox.

8. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown

This helps you understand how to get the best out of people.

These are four of his favorite fiction reads:

9. My Soul to Keep (African Immortal series) by Tananarive Due

10. About a Boy by Nick Hornby

11. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby

12. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Somto Ifezue (Co-founder/CEO, Push CV)

13. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Somto says that this book changed his perception about money and investments. He added that “It teaches you how to make your money or investments (or what you have within you) work for you and not vice versa.”

Sim Shagaya (Founder/CEO, Konga.com)

14. Marketplace 3.0: Rewriting the Rules of Borderless Business by Hiroshi Mikitani

This is about the building of Rakuten – Japan’s ecommerce juggernaut

15. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

16. Alibaba by Shiying Liu and Martha Avery

17. Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut by James Marcus

The history of Amazon told from an employee’s perspective

18. One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon by Richard Brandt

19. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

In this book, the author [and founder of Zappos] tells the story of the fashion ecommerce company.

20. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

21. Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton and John Huey

22. The Fortunes of Africa by Martin Meredith

23. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New technologies Cause New Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen

Sim says it’s the only real “theory” in business about disruption.

24. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, Or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

25. The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age by William Rees-Mogg and James Dale Davidson

For Sim, it’s a book that fundamentally changed his understanding of nation states, patriotism and nationalism.

26. Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

This is the book he was reading at the time he sent in his recommendations. It’s about what technology foretells for employment. He says that “If you think economic growth equals higher employment, think again! Technology destroys jobs. Scary stuff.”

Raphael Afeador (Cofounder/CEO, Supermart.ng)

27. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

28. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

29. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

This book helps Raphael think about levers to change, against the normal train of thought, to achieve results.

30. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit by Seth Godin

31. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore

Raphael says that this book helps understand how to roll out new ideas and innovation.

32. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt with Jeff Cox

33. The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki

This book is a short guide on how to start a startup.

Photo Credit: Hernan Piñera via Compfight cc

Update: This list has been updated with seven more books, to reflect Raphael Afeador’s recommendations.

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