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Recommended by SEE leaders: Top business books for marketers

Top business books for marketers
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As it’s starting to get chilly in our part of the world, why not cozy up with a book. Here’s a round-up of 10 books that today’s marketers are reading for building and promoting tomorrow’s startups, tech products, or solutions. 

We reached out to a few savvy marketers in SEE, entrepreneurs, founders, investors, and managers to see what reads they learned from during their professional journey. Below are recommendations about creating the right products, companies, and teams, but also building the pillars of the right mindset to lead and succeed. 

Andrei Negrau… 

Is the co-founder and CEO of Cartloop, an e-commerce marketing platform that helps brands connect with their customers. He is passionate about hiking and riding his bike, and he likes a wide variety of books both on how to be a manager and build a company’s culture, but also how to scale a startup with actionable insights.

Recommended by SEE leaders: Top business books for marketers, TheRecursive.com

#1 No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

Why he likes it: “It gives a unique perspective on how to build the company culture. It goes against what a lot of people are preaching these days.”

#2 From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

Why he likes it: “It provides a simple overview of what a SaaS business should do to achieve hyper-growth. It has some great actionable tips.”

#3 Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet  

Why he likes it: “This is a fundamental book for leaders and managers. Simple principles which can be applied both in business and personal life.”

Dragos Stanca

Is a Managing Partner at Thinkdigital, a performance marketing agency. He is passionate about digital media, with over two decades of experience in the field, as well as tech startups, where he acts as both a mentor and an early-stage Angel Investor.

Read more:  Tatyana Ivanova's Path to the Stars. The 19-year-old with a Dream of Becoming Bulgaria's First Female Astronaut.

Recommended by SEE leaders: Top business books for marketers, TheRecursive.com

#4 Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Why he likes it: “It’s a book I think any tech entrepreneur looking to start a disruptive business model should read. Beyond the main thesis of the book, the impressive structure of the arguments, and the fact that it does not take into account any preconceived ideas, what I like the most is the fact that it dares to invent concepts, new ways of thinking.

My favorite quote is connected with my passion for journalism, investigative journalism to be more precise, not only about technology. That quote, which is especially relevant for SEE, is: ‘First ethical rule: If you see fraud and don’t say fraud, you are a fraud.’” 

Gabriela Karamalakova

Is a Marketing Manager at Gtmhub, a startup building an Objective and Key Results software. She is passionate about B2B marketing, content creation, and communication strategies for the tech industry. And although she is skeptical about business books, she is recommending the one she received as a suggestion from Gtmhub’s CMO last year. 

Recommended by SEE leaders: Top business books for marketers, TheRecursive.com

#5 Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon

Why she likes it: “It’s a book about companies that have stood out by being genuinely different (e.g. Google, IKEA, Cirque du Soleil). They’ve rejected the traditional approaches to ‘differentiation’ that lead to conformity and imitation. Instead, they’ve relied on creativity and inventiveness to build a strong emotional bond with customers.

There are three main ways to escape the competitive herd – Reversal, Breakaway, and Hostility. The hostile brands (not playing the persuasion game) fascinate me the most – my favorite example is Birkenstock. Without spoiling the book more than I already have, becoming truly ‘different’ requires a lot of commitment, reflection, and imagination.”

Ionut Patrascoiu

Is the founder and CEO of FameUp, a micro-influencers platform where people can create content and be remunerated for it. He is passionate about democratizing access to marketing budgets and for companies to access different targets. 

Read more:  From goals to tools: reducing the stress of achieving at any cost

Recommended by SEE leaders: Top business books for marketers, TheRecursive.com

#6 The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank

Why he likes it: “If you want to found a startup, before you lose some years, dedicate three days to reading this book. It will help you along the way.”

#7 The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

The second book the founder recommends is one about running a business. The author is an experienced entrepreneur and he shares his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies. 

Florin Grozea… 

Is the founder of Mocapp, an influencer ads platform for brands to optimize their marketing campaigns and boost ROI. He is passionate about creators, as he also manages a talent agency. He also writes and has a background in music and TV. 

Recommended by SEE leaders: Top business books for marketers, TheRecursive.com

#8 Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne 

This book aims to challenge what you think you need for success. It analyses 150 strategic business moves, spanning over 100 years and across 30 industries, to show that the key lies in tapping the right markets for growth. 

#9 Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup by Bill Aulet

This is a book best read before starting a company. It is set to show how to build an innovative product in 24 steps by the author with an MIT Entrepreneurship and Management background. 

#10 Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

The book aims to do what it says in the title, motivate you with actionable insights. It provides tools to improve ourselves and the world, as well as learn and create new things. 

…UPDATE…

–> Miruna Dragomir, CMO of Planable, which is a content collaboration platform for social media teams, is passionate about social media, growth marketing, and teamwork efficiency. The book she recommends is “Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business” by Anne Morriss and Frances Frei.

Read more:  Women in VC: The SEE leading ladies and their take on why diversity matters

Why she likes it: “What I loved about it was that it really helps you understand what customer experience is about and how it can be a huge driver of growth. It’s not just inspirational but realistic as well — it talks a lot about making trade-offs and how to reach those decisions. It is also filled with examples, numbers, interesting case studies, and facts. It’s not just about stories, but proven tactics and experiments.”

Read more about the books the SEE ecosystem leaders recommend

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive with 10+ years of experience as a freelance writer based in Bucharest, Romania. Her mission is to report internationally on the amazing progress of the local startup ecosystems while bringing into focus exponential projects developed in niches like health and education or by female entrepreneurs.
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