Updated Dec 17, 2022

Best Books on Venture Capital

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— Are you interested in learning about venture capital and the world of startup investing? Check out our list of the best books on the subject! From practical guides on how to pitch and work with venture capitalists to in-depth looks at the history and inner workings of the industry, these books have something for every level of knowledge. Whether you're looking to raise funding for your own startup or just want to learn more about the world of venture capital, these books have you covered.


If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. Tomorrow's champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today's marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

Our favourite quote from Zero to One

The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.

VC tells the riveting story of how the industry arose from the United States’ long-running orientation toward entrepreneurship. Venture capital has been driven from the start by the pull of outsized returns through a skewed distribution of payoffs―a faith in low-probability but substantial financial rewards that rarely materialize. Whether the gamble is a whaling voyage setting sail from New Bedford or the newest startup in Silicon Valley, VC is not just a model of finance that has proven difficult to replicate in other countries. It is a state of mind exemplified by an appetite for risk-taking, a bold spirit of adventure, and an unbridled quest for improbable wealth through investment in innovation.

Tom Nicholas’s history of the venture capital industry offers readers a ride on the roller coaster of setbacks and success in America’s pursuit of financial gain.

Our favourite quote from VC

What are venture capitalists saying about your startup behind closed doors? And what can you do to influence that conversation?

If Silicon Valley is the greatest wealth-generating machine in the world, Sand Hill Road is its humming engine. That's where you'll find the biggest names in venture capital, including famed VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, where lawyer-turned-entrepreneur-turned-VC Scott Kupor serves as managing partner.

Whether you're trying to get a new company off the ground or scale an existing business to the next level, you need to understand how VCs think. In Secrets of Sand Hill Road, Kupor explains exactly how VCs decide where and how much to invest, and how entrepreneurs can get the best possible deal and make the most of their relationships with VCs. Kupor explains, for instance:

  • Why most VCs typically invest in only one startup in a given business category.
  • Why the skill you need most when raising venture capital is the ability to tell a compelling story.
  • How to handle a "down round," when startups have to raise funds at a lower valuation than in the previous round.
  • What to do when VCs get too entangled in the day-to-day operations of the business.
  • Why you need to build relationships with potential acquirers long before you decide to sell.

Filled with Kupor's firsthand experiences, insider advice, and practical takeaways, Secrets of Sand Hill Road is the guide every entrepreneur needs to turn their startup into the next unicorn.

Our favourite quote from Secrets of Sand Hill Road

In fact, you’ll often hear VCs say that they like founders who have strong opinions but ones that are weakly held, that is, the ability to incorporate compelling market data and allow it to evolve your product thinking. Have conviction and a well-vetted process, but allow yourself to “pivot” (to invoke one of the great euphemisms in venture capital speak) based on real-world feedback.

Get the inside scoop on what venture capitalists want to see in your startup as you hit the fundraising trail.

This is the highly anticipated third edition of the best-selling book which has become the definitive resource for understanding venture capital fundraising. Whether you are an entrepreneur, lawyer, student or just have an interest in the venture capital ecosystem, Venture Deals is for you. The book dives deeply into how deals are constructed, why certain terms matter (and others don’t), and more importantly, what motivates venture capitalists to propose certain outcomes. You’ll see the process of negotiating from the eyes of two seasoned venture capitalists who have over 40 years of investing experience as VCs, LPs, angels, and founders. They will teach you how to develop a fundraising strategy that will be a win for all parties involved.

This book is designed to bring transparency to the venture capital funding process and includes such topics as:

  • How to raise money;
  • What terms matter and which ones don’t;
  • How to negotiate a fair deal for everyone;
  • What makes venture capitalists tick, including how they are compensated and motivated;
  • How companies are valued by venture capitalists;
  • How all current structures of funding work, including convertible debt, crowdfunding, pre-sales and other non-traditional methods;
  • How these particular issues change through different stages of financing (seed, early, mid and late); and
  • How to avoid business and legal pitfalls that many entrepreneurs make.

And as in the previous editions, this book isn’t just a one-sided opinion from venture capitalists, but also has helpful commentary throughout from a veteran CEO who has raised many rounds of financing from many different investors.

If you are ready to learn all the secrets and ins and outs of fundraising, Venture Deals is an essential read.

Our favourite quote from Venture Deals

Failure is a key part of entrepreneurship, but, as with many things in life, attitude impacts outcome.

You negotiate every day of your life, and The Art of Negotiating is the definitive book on the subject. Gerard I. Nierenberg, president of the Negatiation Institute, is the world's foremost authority on negotiating. Over 100,000 top executives have attended the Art of Negotiating seminars conducted by Mr. Nierenberg, and his clients include world leaders, corporations, and successful individuals. This invaluable book will show you how to make your negotiating experiences easier, more enjoyable, and more profitable. The Art of Negotiating will teach you how to:

  • analyze your opponent's motivation
  • negotiate toward mutually satisfying terms
  • effectually influence your associates
  • divide complex issues into simpler, more manageable issues
  • watch your opponent's body language -- it will tell you when to switch tactics

Whether you are buying a house, asking your boss for a raise, or getting your car repaired, everything in life is a negotiation. Gerard I. Nierenberg's The Art of Negotiating will make you a master of it.

Our favourite quote from The Art of Negotiating

"Experts" are rarely the source of new ideas. Elon Musk was not a "electric car guy" prior to founding Tesla. A prominent tech VC once told Sebastian Mallaby that when it comes to implausible inventions, the future cannot be foretold; it can only be discovered. Most attempts at discovery fail due to the nature of the venture-capital game, but a few few succeed on such a large scale that they more than compensate for everything else. That extraordinary success-to-failure ratio is the power law that drives the venture capital industry, all of Silicon Valley, the broader tech sector, and, by extension, the globe.

In The Power Law, Sebastian Mallaby has parlayed unprecedented access to the most celebrated venture capitalists of all time—key figures at Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, Accel, Benchmark, and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as Chinese partnerships like Qiming and Capital Today—into a riveting blend of storytelling and analysis that unravels the history of tech incubation, first in Silicon Valley and then globally. We hear the unvarnished truth, often for the first time, about some of the Valley's most iconic triumphs and infamous failures, from the comedy of errors at Apple's inception to the avalanche of venture capital that nurtured hubris at WeWork and Uber.

The continuous pursuit of grand slams by venture capitalists breeds an infatuation with the notion of the lone entrepreneur-genius, and firms viewed as potential "unicorns" are granted dizzying levels of power, often with devastating repercussions. On a broader level, the necessity to make large bets on untested talent promotes bias, with women and minorities remaining underrepresented. This has ramifications beyond social justice: as Mallaby points out, China's domestic VC industry, having learnt at the Valley's feet, is expanding, with more women VC luminaries than America has ever had. Nonetheless, Silicon Valley venture capital remains the world's leading incubator of business innovation—it is not so much where ideas originate from as it is where they go to become the products and businesses that shape the future. The Power Law lets us think about our own destiny through the perspective of VCs by immersing us so fully in their game.

Our favourite quote from The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog. While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies.

A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in. Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences.

Our favourite quote from The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.” The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal. The hard thing isn’t hiring great people. The hard thing is when those “great people” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things. The hard thing isn’t setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed. The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.

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Even today, what to study and how to study it are more important than where to study it and for how long. The best teachers are on the Internet. The best books are on the Internet. The best peers are on the Internet. The tools for learning are abundant. It’s the desire to learn that’s scarce.
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