6 Book Recommendations From Our Management Team

By: Alin - 15 July 2022

A lot of wisdom comes from experience. You learn by doing and that knowledge sticks with you forever. However, learning by doing takes an excruciatingly long time. Naturally, the next best thing is to learn it all from books and apply what you have learned wherever you need to.

If you ask us, books are the most valuable resource today as they can save you time and money on mistakes that others have made and documented before you. This is why we’ve asked our management team to recommend a book they found super insightful, useful, or with actionable approaches. 


1. The hard thing about hard things, by Ben Horowitz

– Recommended by Sorina Vlăsceanu, co-founder of Soleadify, and Drew Doherty, Vice President, Channel Partnerships at Soleadify

                                                     Image source: Goodreads

From Sorina’s point of view, the most refreshing thing about this book is the honesty with which Ben Horowitz talks about the challenges of being a CEO. His Opsware period is especially ruthless, but the whole book is an amazing collection of business & leadership lessons delivered in a very pragmatic way. There’s no fluff, no “how-to” magic recipes, just the open story of a CEO.

What Drew liked the most about this book is that Horowitz doesn’t glorify success or hard work. To him, it’s always about dealing with the realities of the situation, about not letting your dreams dictate all of your priorities. The book is a great combination of stories (personal experiences, anecdotes) with some recommendations. It’s a good balance. And the general feeling of the book is that Horowitz wants the reader to succeed in their own pursuits.

Valuable quotes: 

Quote1: “Almost all management books focus on how to do things correctly, so you don’t screw up, these lessons provide insight into what you must do after you have screwed up.”

Quote2: “There’s a saying in the military that if you see something below standard and do nothing, then you’ve set a new standard.”

Quote3: “Do you know the best thing about startups?”


“You only ever experience two emotions: euphoria and terror. And I find that lack of sleep enhances them both.”

Details and reviews here: 


2. Zero to One, by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

– Recommended by Riyaz Nakhooda, VP of Customer Solutions at Soleadify

                                                   Image source: Goodreads

Zero to One is one of the most popular books of this decade, probably because it is written by a known risk-taker. Peter Thiel shares from his vast experience and the book actually bounces a lot between brilliance and madness, which is pretty much how the life of any startup founder can be described. 

It’s an easy read, great for investing and entrepreneurs, and the most intriguing part is that the book focuses on contrarian thinking and the mental models for it. For any startup founder, this kind of thinking can be golden. It helps you cover all angles and make that business bulletproof. 

Valuable quotes:

Quote1: “Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as in the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.”

Quote2: “Every great company is unique, but there are a few things that every business must get right at the beginning. I stress this so often that friends have teasingly nicknamed it Thiel’s law: a startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed.”

Details and reviews here: 


3. Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, by Daniel Goleman

– Recommended by Livia Ionescu, Head of Sales, Partnerships and alliances at Soleadify

                                                   Image source: Goodreads

In this book, the author (a former science journalist at the New York Times) emphasizes the importance of developing social skills. He is particularly focused on how we can learn to read facial expressions. In fact, there is a science to deciphering every muscle movement and twitch. The most interesting part is that due to overusing smartphones, today’s young generations struggle with reading facial expressions due to having to interact very little with real people. 

Valuable quotes:

Quote1: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant,” Albert Einstein once said. “We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” 

Quote2: “The sweet spot for smart decisions, then, comes not just from being a domain expert, but also from having high self-awareness.”

Details and reviews here:


4. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight

– Recommended by Evan Abrahm, Head of Business Development at Soleadify

                                                     Image source: Goodreads

This is a fascinating, fast-moving memoir that follows the story of a startup company called Nike and its passionate CEO Phil Knight. It’s an unexpected journey into the history of the idea and then the company that is now known all over the world. It all started with a man and his “crazy” idea. Sure, he’s had plenty of challenges, but through pure determination, he managed to overcome them and fight for his dream. 

A few takeaways from the book about leadership, taking risks, and team empowerment:

  • Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and they’ll surprise you with their results.
  • Don’t wait for opportunities. Go and find opportunities.
  • Take risks and come up with quick solutions.
  • Keep Calm when the Odds are Against You.

Valuable quotes:

Quote1: “When you see only problems, you’re not seeing clearly.”

Quote2: “It’s never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad.” 

Details and reviews here: 


5. Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey A. Moore

– Recommended by Florin Tufan, co-founder & CEO at Soleadify 

                                                     Image source: Goodreads

If you want ot understand how to introduce a fundamentally new product to the marketplace, this book is the best thing you can read. It lays out everything you need to know about the strategy and it is filled with insightful and actionable bits of knowledge. Basically, the chasm is the process of transitioning between marketing and selling from early adopters to mainstream customers. It’s not something that happens easily and naturally. It needs to be intentional and planned if you want your product to succeed in an ever-growing market. 

Valuable quotes:

Quote1: “Chasm crossing is not the end, but rather the beginning, of mainstream market development.” 

Quote2: “Technologies from a prior era, once the focal point of innovation, now become the scaffolding upon which next-generation innovation will build.”

Details and reviews here:


6. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell 

– Recommended by Ștefan Gergely, Head of Growth at Soleadify

                                                     Image source: Goodreads

This book is all about that wonderful moment when an idea gets to that point where it starts spreading like wildfire. Gladwell does a great job in explaining this phenomenon which, in truth, we all want to replicate with all of our ideas or products. The Tipping Point is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand trends and try to start one. You’ll get to understand how early adopters work, and how a small number of personality types that exist in the world can get trends going and manage to spread them to us all. 

Respect the process, the dedication required, the “there’s no such thing as luck” and you’ll make it. 

Valuable quotes:

Quote1: “There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them.” 

Quote2: “Six degrees of separation doesn’t mean that everyone is linked to everyone else in just six steps. It means that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in a few steps, and the rest of us are linked to the world through those special few.”

Details and reviews here: 

While these six books are not all data related, they all offer precious information and insights every founder needs to give their startup the best chance to succeed in a world where competition is becoming increasingly tough to outrun. Ideas are easier to come by. With the right effort and dedication, even funding is easier to come by. But the one resource that’s become scarce with every progress in technology is time. So make the most of this list of books and get your lessons from them, not by learning through doing.