5 Best Venture Capital Books Recommended by the World's Top VCs

One of the best things about investing and entrepreneurship is that you never stop learning.
Every day we talk to VCs around the world to learn about their workflow and how Dialllog can make it more efficient. We use every opportunity to learn from these conversations. Recently we asked dozens of VCs about their favorite venture capital books. Sharing with you the list of five books that came up again and again in our interviews with the most successful Venture Capitalists around the world.

#1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

Where better to start than with Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and the first outsider to invest in Facebook? This is a brief but informative book to change how you view Venture Capital. Forget everything you know about deal flow and stop listening to pitches that intend to enter an already competitive marketplace. Instead, pay attention to pitches that create a new market – these are the visionaries that might be worth supporting.

Of course, Thiel knows there's more to a pitch than identifying a new market, which is what makes this perhaps the best Venture Capital book out there. It's ruthless in demonstrating how even a good idea might not be worth funding without the right tech stack and people behind it. It explores the role of the Venture Capital by industry, helping readers understand how to choose an industry and understand the risk associated with their niche.

Zero to One is short but compelling, which makes it an excellent introduction for aspiring VCs before you move on to the denser material. Coming from someone with an intimate understanding of the tech stack and a proven history of managing deal flow successfully, this is simply one of the best books to learn about venture capital. You'll learn something new every time you revisit it.

#2. VC: An American History

VC: An American History by Tom Nicholas
Tom Nicholas

Are you a budding VC looking for the top venture capital books to give you an investing crash course? Get your groans out of the way because this book isn't it – it's time for a history lesson.

This is a history lesson you'll need if you want to hone your skills and understand the nature of a volatile and challenging industry. Remember: limited learning is a dangerous thing, and a crash course will most likely lead you to, well, a crash.

In a sense, VC: An American History is a brutal chronicle of the history of failure. It documents the rise of venture capital in the U.S. over centuries and relentlessly exposes how the pursuit of wild gains at long odds has ruined naive investors. This alone makes it one of the best books on venture capital investing for beginners: you need to know what you're getting into. You need to know how many fall by the wayside.

Like all good histories, it's also an essential practical guide. Tom Nicholas is the William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and knows his stuff – the book illustrates every type of mistake your predecessors have made and how these pitfalls are inviting for VCs and allows you to learn from them.

At every level of a deal flow, there's an error waiting to consign you to the wrong side of history, and there's always an example of someone who has made that mistake before. As you read, keep track of every time an investor has gone wrong and consider why it happened. As in chess, "no wrong moves" is the mantra of investing.

The story is carried by Nicholas' likable tone and fascination with VC's relationship with the American spirit. It's also a fair analysis, giving credit to the unbelievable success stories that have emerged along the way. This is one of the best books about venture capital because it's both a sobering history lesson and an inspiring call to action – VC: An American History is mandatory reading for anyone in the industry.

#3. Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It by Scott Kupor
Scott Kupor

With a title straight that compels you from the start and input from a breathtaking range of startup founders, Secrets of Sand Hill Road is jam-packed with useful information and is hands-down one of the best books on VC funding out there. It's essential reading both for investors and founders, as it explains the relationship between parties and describes how this has evolved. It helps each party understand the motives, needs, and behaviors of the other.

It describes how VCs are more involved than ever in the genesis of startups, but equally, this is less about their financial input and more about their ability to guide a business. It's a top book on startup funding because it observes that direct funding is only part of what a successful VC needs to bring to a startup: venture capitalists need to understand the tech stack if they want to work with the most promising startups rather than simply waving dollar bills in the air.

Scott Kupor is the managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz and a key player in the firm's continuing success. It would've been easy for this book to turn into a memoir, which still would've been full of helpful information – however, he goes out of his way to draw on the experience of a diverse range of experts to paint a complete picture of startup funding today.

This is for anyone who wants a better understanding of deal flow and how VCs and founders can work together for more profitable relationships today. It's filled with first-hand accounts from founders and insights demonstrating this relationship's changing nature and should be one of the first venture capital books in your shopping cart.

#4. The Art of Startup Fundraising: Pitching Investors, Negotiating the Deal, and Everything Else Entrepreneurs Need to Know

The Art of Startup Fundraising by Alejandro Cremades
Alejandro Cremades with Barbara Corcoran

This is a thoughtful and well-researched guide to negotiating deal flow in the digital age. As with many of the books for venture capital , it focuses on identifying and avoiding mistakes. What sets this book apart from the crowd is that it provides vital information on how legal and technological movements have simultaneously opened doors for VCs and presented a fresh set of hazards and pitfalls.

Cremades draws on his legal background and experience in digital fundraising to offer articulate, watertight guidance on why online fundraising is more viable than ever before and how it presents challenges to the unwary. This is one of the top books for venture capitalists regarding startup funding because it shows how easy it is for founders to find "bad money" online while offering a glimpse of the benefits if they understand how to negotiate the territory.

#5. Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Jason Mendelson and Brad Feld
Jason Mendelson and Brad Feld

No list of the top venture capital books would be complete without Venture Deals. Mendelson and Feld are founding partners at Foundry Group and know every trick in the book regarding funding startups and optimizing deal flow – and they've been kind enough to publish the book so that the rest of us can learn the tricks.

Take the title with a pinch of salt. The authors know and explain in detail that believing that you're smarter than your lawyer is one of the top pitfalls for aspiring entrepreneurs and VCs. This book is a practical guide to furnishing yourself with the kind of legal education that will help you work with your lawyer to find yourself negotiating with the right people and getting the best deal from those parties.

Venture Deals underlines a consistent theme of the best venture capital books – you need to know the deal from every angle. A VC needs to think like an entrepreneur and a lawyer. A founder must understand the tech stack and what a VC is interested in. This book is a fantastic starting point for developing that knowledge.

Best Books to Learn About Venture Capital: Final Thoughts

One of the Venture Capitalists we have spoken to told us "Here is my listed of five best venture capital books. Read them all and don't stop there: look for five more. Read and repeat." There's always more to learn because there are mistakes you haven't made yet. Get started with these titles and discover what you think the best book about venture capital is from these options.

June, 30 / 2022

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