Books I Recommend : Deepinder Goyal

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them“, [Mark Twain].

In our attempt to bring different perspectives and enable the NextBigWhat audience to learn new new things, we have started a series called ‘Books I Recommend‘. This is the second installment*.

This week, we have Deepinder Goyal, Zomato cofounder and CEO share books he’d like you to read.

* : If you are a founder willing to share the books you’d recommend to India’s tech and startup community, hop here.

Books I Recommend: Kunal Shah

Books I Recommend : Kunal Shah
Books I Recommend : Kunal Shah

“… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” [ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones]

Today, NextBigWhat is announcing a weekly series #BooksIRecommend wherein we get founders / DOERs to share the books they recommend to the world.

The first founder in the series is Kunal Shah, Freecharge cofounder. Hear it out from Kunal Shah on books he recommends to ye all.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going. Sapiens is a thrilling account of humankind’s extraordinary history – from the Stone Age to the Silicon Age – and our journey from insignificant apes to rulers of the world.

Buy from Amazon

Zero to One: Note on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future

The book Zero To One is about nurturing the next big idea to build a valuable global company. The author recalls how certain innovative ideas were incubated and how people behind them dared to dream big and even did realize some of them.

This book also compiles the startups culture as discussed by Peter Thiel in his lecture for Stanford University students in 2012 with details about various other aspects of entrepreneurship.[Buy from Amazon].

Tools of Titans

Tools of Titans contains the distilled tools, tactics, and ‘inside baseball’ you won’t find anywhere else.

It also includes new tips from past guests, and life lessons from new ‘guests’ you haven’t met.

Buy from Amazon

Thinking, Fast and Slow

The book takes the readers on a fascinating journey by dissecting the mind and goes onto explain two distinct systems that affects our way of thinking and making choices.

In this book, Kahneman exposes certain extraordinary capabilities of fast thinking along with its flaws and biases and explains how it shapes a person’s behaviour and thoughts.

Buy from Amazon

Best Books of 2016, You May Have Missed

With the New Year just around the corner, we’ve compiled a list of 5 books, ranging from business to innovation, to economy that reflect a breadth of scope and passion, that will leave you inspired.

Bookmark this list and get reading.

Book Review : The Hard Thing About Hard Things [Don’t Read This If You Romanticize Entrepreneurship]

Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with rejections, failure and a whole lot of personal trauma (note : if you aren’t facing any of these as an entrepreneur, you aren’t just pushing the envelope enough).

The Hard Thing About Hard Things
The Hard Thing About Hard Things

And while most of the talks about startups and entrepreneurship are about successes and tend to celebrate all-that-went-well, very few talk about startup failures.

No, it’s not just about talking failure. It’s about talking the shit that goes inside building a company – be it about firing your team to taking tough decisions.

Imagine yourself in the shoes of Kevin Rose, Digg founder – who decided not to sell Digg at its peak. And later got peanuts. Imagine yourself laying off your team just because the ship is about to sink and you want to hold on that for as long as possible. Sometimes startups are like that only. And all of the times, the founder/CEO is responsible for all the (bad) decisions.

And once you make a bad decision, you are fucked. By employees / investors / media –  everybody writes you off. It’s tough sticking your neck and deciding on anything.

Review : The Hard Thing About Hard Things

If you thought starting up was all about getting media attention and raising funding, you need to read ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things‘, probably the most amazing book I have ever read on startup space.

Written by Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz VC firm and software company Loudcloud (Ops-ware), Ben offers an UnPluggd/ blunt/ straight piece of advice on working through the startup life.

Ben nicely shares a lot of anecdotes on hiring/firing/sales and how a founder needs to follow his/her guts than go by general advice. And ofcourse, a lot of practical advice – for e.g. how much of using rough language (like fuck) is allowed in a corporate setup? How do you differentiate between a genuinely fucked up feeling vs. somebody passing a sexist remark? Where and how do you draw the line?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things : What It Is Not

For sure, the book does NOT offer any gassy advice on ‘how to run a business’.  Or ‘success tips’ from a successful entrepreneur. The book is NOT meant for a bedtime reading.

The book is something you will probably read when you are wide awake and in a deep shit mode! In fact, read it when you are in a never-ending-roller-coaster-ride because you will atleast have something to relate to (I have!).

For instance, Ben nicely describes the two types of CEOs – Peacetime CEO and Wartime CEO. That is, Eric Schmidt who Vs Larry Page.

Peacetime CEO knows that proper protocol leads to winning. Wartime CEO violates protocol in order to win.

Peacetime CEO focuses on the big picture and empowers her people to make detailed decisions. Wartime CEO cares about a speck of dust on a gnat’s ass if it interferes with the prime directive.

Peacetime CEO sets big, hairy audacious goals. Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.

Peacetime CEO does not raise her voice. Wartime CEO rarely speaks in a normal tone.

Peacetime CEO has rules like “we’re going to exit all businesses where we’re not number 1 or 2.”  Wartime CEO often has no businesses that are number 1 or 2 and therefore does not have the luxury of following that rule. [Ben’s blog]

Most of the startup founders (including myself) tend to be the wartime CEO (just that we don’t know the right term to describe that emotion). And till date, nobody has written any book on wartime CEOs, maybe because most of the wartime CEOs lose the battle and in general, aren’t considered a darling.

But for most of the wartime CEOs, the focus needs to be on the road and not the wall – and that’s one BIG perspective Ben Horowitz leaves you with.

Grab a copy and read it. Skip, if you are in the romantic phase of your startup life and everything around you looks beautiful.

Book : The Perfectly Executed Startup. Grab It For Free [NextBigWhat Offer]

Have you failed at starting a business or failed trying?perfect-startup-book

With ‘The Perfectly Executed Startup’ book you’ll learn how to validate, properly execute and how start a profitable business without wasting a lot of time and money.

The book is written by Yann Girard, an entrepreneur. Yann has started, run and advised several startups and has worked in the Venture Capital scene in Berlin & New York.

The book is free for NextBigWhat readers for the next 48 hours (otherwise costs Rs. 399 on Amazon). Grab your copy here.

And once you have done that, please do share the book review with us (id :

2013 in Books: Something For Everyone

For all those who missed out on their reading this year, here’s a curated list of some of the most interesting books released on entrepreneurship to help catch up. Books include the controversial ‘The Everything Store’ and the life of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, how to make an effective presentation using ‘Presenting With Credibility’ and an examination of women’s progress in leadership roles with ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg, all guaranteed to provide entertainment and depth.

For Beginning with Inspiration

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

How Did Amazon Manage to do it? How did it start with mail-order books and literally become the go to for everything imaginable – the everything store? Amazon started out as a small, relatively unknown, Seattle based online bookseller in 1995, and according to the author, in 2012, it cleared $61 billion in sales.

The evrything store

Written by Brad Stone, the book details Bezos’ journey to build Amazon from scratch, with inputs from more than 300 of Bezos’ former and current employees. The Everything Store also gives a detailed account of strategies that Bezos used to outfox bookstore, Barnes & Noble and peers eBay and  Apple. The book received reviews from Bezos’ wife, Mackenzie, who gave the a book a 1-star on Amazon, and in a 900 writeup complained of the many inaccuracies in the book. Despite that, this is a must read, just for the sheer value of being persevering and relentless that it inspires. And if employee accounts are to be believed, probably, how NOT to behave with your employees.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

For The Love of Making a Presentation

Presenting with Credibility – Practical Tools and Techniques for Effective Presentations by Bruna Martinuzzi

This one book has been added, because it has come to be observed that no matter how grand a person you are in the startup world, one is never too

presenting with credibility upload

old to improve their presentations. Too many startups, especially those who have just begun,  underestimate the value of a good presentation in helping get your pitch right – to be credible and concise.

The book by Bruna Martunuzzi seeks to help “capture your audience within 2 minutes of presentation, to speaking before an audience of senior executives or delivering a keynote..” The book contains useful and practical advice along with examples on how to present to an audience. Pointers detailed across 5 sections of the book include: when you should use factual evidence, and when anecdotal, handling questions, presenting to execs and giving a keynote among others.

Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist at Apple said this of the book – “Presenting with Credibility will make you an enchanting presenter. Read it if you want to take your presentation skills to the next level.”

For Those Wondering Where The Women Are at

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

This one is just for the all the women entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs out there.

lean in

 Chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has examined the how and why of  women’s progress in leadership roles. In Lean In, Sheryl recounts experiences from her own life as well as uses anecdotal evidence to uncover the truth behind choices that women make in their professional careers.

Sheryl also gives readers practical advice, negotiation tips as well as the inspiration to build a long, successful career with the book. This will definitely call to action women leaders who were dormant so far.

And, For The Bigger Picture

Brand Breakout: How Emerging Market Brands Will Go Global by Nirmalya Kumar and Jan-Benedict E.M. Steenkamp

“While consumers are surrounded by “Made in China” products, if you ask a person on the street in the West to name a Chinese brand, you will draw a blank.” – Brand Breakout brand breakout

And Brand Breakout will aid these brands from emerging markets who are all set to go global and make their presence felt. Professors of Marketing, Kumar and Steenkamp have provided a roadmap with strategies for all those who seek to take their brand to international markets in this book.

The duo outline 8 strategies employed by emerging market brands who have begun to compete on the global arena. The book details the 8 strategies used by companies like Haier, Huawei, Lenovo, Tata and others to make themselves a global brand. Strategies range from B2B to B2C, brand acquisition and leveraging cultural resources among others. Definitely a must read for anyone who wants their EM company to make a mark internationally, where so few have made it.

Lessons From World’s Largest E-Commerce Company: What Makes Amazon Amazon?

Bloomberg Businessweek has published an excerpt from “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” Brad Stone’s upcoming book on the multi billion online retailer. Here’s an excerpt of the 10 page excerpt, focusing on a few attributes described by Brad Stone, behind the success of Amazon.


1. Obssessive Customer Focus

Jeff Bezos has a public e-mail address on which customers can complain. When Amazon employees get a Bezos question mark e-mail, they react as though they’ve discovered a ticking bomb. They’ve typically got a few hours to solve whatever issue the CEO has flagged and prepare a thorough explanation for how it occurred, a response that will be reviewed by a succession of managers before the answer is presented to Bezos himself. Such escalations, as these e-mails are known, are Bezos’s way of ensuring that the customer’s voice is constantly heard inside the company.

2. Amazon’s Berlin Wall approach to public relations

John Doerr, the venture capitalist who backed Amazon early and was on its board of directors for a decade, calls Amazon’s Berlin Wall approach to public relations “the Bezos Theory of Communicating.” It’s really just a disciplined form of editing. Bezos takes a red pen to press releases, product descriptions, speeches, and shareholder letters, crossing out anything that doesn’t convey a simple message: You won’t find a cheaper, friendlier place to get everything you need than Amazon.

3. Cold & Rational Bezos

Some Amazon employees advance the theory that Bezos, like Jobs, Gates, and Oracle (ORCL) co-founder Larry Ellison, lacks empathy. As a result, he treats workers as expendable resources without taking into account their contributions. That in turn allows him to coldly allocate capital and manpower and make hyperrational business decisions, where another executive might let emotion and personal relationships figure into the equation. They also acknowledge that Bezos is primarily consumed with improving the company’s performance and customer service and that personnel issues are secondary. “This is not somebody who takes pleasure at tearing someone a new a-?-hole,” says Kim Rachmeler, an executive who worked at Amazon for more than a decade. “He is not that kind of person. Jeff doesn’t tolerate stupidity, even accidental stupidity.”

4. Adversarial Atmosphere

The people who do well at Amazon are often those who thrive in an adversarial atmosphere with almost constant friction. Bezos abhors what he calls “social cohesion,” the natural impulse to seek consensus. He’d rather his minions battle it out backed by numbers and passion, and he has codified this approach in one of Amazon’s 14 leadership principles—the company’s highly prized values that are often discussed and inculcated into new hires: Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit. Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.

You can read the 10 page excerpt here.