Top 10 Venture Capital Books for Your Next Venture 

Raising capital can be daunting, but there are foundational guides available to help founders navigate the process. We’ve collected a list of resources that draw from top experts and authors that can help you understand and master the world of venture capital and be successful in your next raise.

From beginner books to traditional guidebooks, venture into the world of startups and investments with these top 10 venture capital books for your next business venture!

Venture Capital Strategy: How to Think Like a Venture Capitalist


Author: Patrick Vernon

In Venture Capital Strategy, Patrick Vernon focuses on the frameworks that go into the decision-making process between founders and venture capitalists. 

Vernon gives practical tips on how to mitigate investment risks and alleviate the uncertainties of investing in startups. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to focus on long-term perspectives when planning and building their startups. A practical and sustainable business model is a driving force behind great investment deals, which is why Vernon draws from other disciplines such as finance and economics. 

Introducing the basics of finance and economics in a venture capital guidebook can provide a more holistic understanding of economic growth and what drives long-term value creation for investors. This is a unique aspect of Venture Capital Strategy where investors can learn how to identify sustainable startups with great potential for economic growth. For better investment decisions and an overall understanding of the framework of venture capital, readers can get a good grasp of how to think like a venture capitalist. 

Breakfast With Pops: A Venture Capital Handbook 


Author: Adam Draper, William H. Draper 

Perfectly titled, this book is the conversation you’d have over (an extremely long) breakfast if your pops or mentor was a seasoned Venture Capitalist. If you like your reads less dry, you’ll enjoy this buttered-up book with the tone of two friends chatting.

Breakfast with Pops derives from the authors’ personal experiences and sets a conversational tone when explaining the basics of venture capital. Its engaging style of language helps readers understand complex concepts, made more entertaining by including humor and relatable language. Breakfast with Pops provides a broader but well-rounded approach, and benefits both founders and venture capitalists by going into the venture capital process from start to finish.

Adam and William Draper also highlight the importance of building great founder-investor relationships. Trust, integrity, and transparency are vital qualities between founders and investors. Entrepreneurs can learn how investors operate and make decisions so that they can better position themselves for success.  From structuring deals to portfolio management, founders are able to learn about venture capital in an approachable way. The candid language used in Breakfast with Pops is also great for beginners who are just starting in the venture capital industry as founders or investors. It is for eager learners who seek a basic understanding of the venture capital world and the relationship between founders and investors. 

Founder VS Investor: The Honest Truth About Venture Capital from Startup to IPO (Audiobook) 


Author: Elizabeth Zalman, Jerry Neumann 

The founder-investor relationship is the primary topic of Founder VS Investor. This audiobook by Zalman and Neuman sheds light on the challenges and tensions that founders and investors may face when developing a relationship. It gives practical advice on negotiating term sheets, managing investor relations, and resolving conflict. Listeners are able to gather valuable insights on how to build strong founder-investor relationships and, most importantly, how to negotiate deals that will benefit both parties. Zalman and Neuman stress the importance of harmony and understanding between founders and investors by analyzing the features of a successful founder-investor dynamic. 

Zalman and Neuman include various interviews with experts, thought leaders, and industry insiders, providing well-rounded insights from all perspectives of the venture capital world. These experts help listeners gain a broader understanding of the systems in venture capital and what makes these systems work. These insights are what makes Founder Vs Investor unique to its listeners.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future Hardcover 


Author: Peter Thiel 

Beyond the bank; a book that is worth a read for all aspects of building a startup, including fundraising.

Zero to One introduces conventional ways of learning about entrepreneurship and innovation by catering to founders who seek to build groundbreaking businesses that go from zero to hero. Thiel has been quoted as saying, “We wanted flying cars. Instead, we got 140 characters” In this book, he explores how we got here and how we are capable of building the future we want. The book explores the foundations of a successful and innovative startup. It also serves as a guide for product development, where founders can learn how their product can stand out and resonate with their target audience. Peter Thiel emphasizes the importance of identifying products that offer significant value and solve real-life problems. 

Thiel encourages his readers to build a sustainable business that has potential to change the future.  Zero to One also targets VCs that want to identify promising investment opportunities. Thiel puts due diligence at the forefront when offering advice for venture capitalists. From identifying a startup’s growth potential, risk management, and maximizing returns while minimizing downside risks, Zero to One not only offers strategic guidance for founders and venture capitalists but it also analyzes the trends and dynamics of the venture capital world. 

In Search of Thursday: Diary of an Undergraduate at the University of Venture Capital 


Author: Paul Traynor 

If you prefer to “walk a mile” (or 278 pages) in the shoes of someone else’s journey as they discover the world of venture capital, this book is for you.

In Search of Thursday is written from the perspective of an undergraduate student who is newly exploring the world of venture capital. The author makes this book unique to readers because it offers an amateur perspective on the subject compared to traditional “expert” books. Paul Traynor chose to write about venture capital in a diary format and draws from personal experiences and reflections as he navigates the venture capital industry. The reader experiences the author’s journey through successes, failures, and the reality of going into venture capital.

 Although Traynor offers a more informal approach to understanding venture capital, he also covers key terms, concepts, and practices making this book a valuable source for beginners and students. While the entertainment value is certainly present in In Search of Thursday, it is full of practical advice from deal sourcing and due diligence to understanding the venture capital world overall. 

Super Founders: What Data Reveals About Million Dollar Startups 


Author: Ali Tamaseb

This book scientifically debunks the myth that you need a “perfectly matched 2 person team” – a techie and a business person – to have your best chance at a unicorn.  There is no significant difference in the rate of success if there are 2 “balanced” founders or 3 technical founders, or a single business founder.  If you can get over your emotional reaction and follow the numbers – your aperture will be blown wide open.

Super Founders is a data driven guide on how to have a successful startup and identifies the common features that the most successful startups have. Tamaseb uses a quantitative approach to analyze the main predictors of successful high-growth startups.  Super Founders also emphasizes what it truly takes to build a million-dollar startup. Smart founders will take inspiration from his conclusions and strive to focus on the key metrics revealed by his data. 

Although the topics and advice are centered around founders, venture capitalists can also benefit from the book. With the data-driven analysis, venture capitalists can better assess which startups will likely have successful outcomes, generating  better returns. By prioritizing empirical evidence in decision-making, venture capitalists and founders increase their chances of building and investing in successful startups. 

Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms


Author: Jeffrey Bussgang

Learn both sides of the chessboard with this book.

Jeffrey Bussgang offers a unique take on venture capital and building a successful startup by having experience as both an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist himself. This book does a deep dive into the relationship and dynamic between investors and founders and what a successful business venture looks like. Mastering the VC Game includes real-life experiences as well as case studies to give its readers relevant and actionable advice when understanding the stages of a startup journey. Bussgang also sheds light on the importance of practical skills such as networking, pitching, and building credibility with potential investors. 

Mastering the VC Game is also useful when identifying the weaknesses of a startup. How can founders overcome common obstacles? How can they navigate the inevitable ups and downs of building a successful startup? Investors can use this knowledge to build better investment strategies that attract the most returns. Bussgang gives deep insight into not only the successes, but the challenges of being on both sides of the table.

   The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future


Author: Sebastian Mallaby

Moonshots and Moon landings: case studies and key insights into successful startups and what sets them apart.

The Power Law is unique in its historical perspective of the venture capital world by describing trends and developments that have influenced the industry to what it is today. It also takes on a global perspective when it comes to understanding innovation and economic development, including the differences and history in China, India, and Europe, where venture capital also has a prominent role in the business world. 

Sebastian Mallaby includes case studies as a key aspect when analyzing successful startups and venture capital firms. By drawing from real-world examples, The Power Law helps its readers connect with and digest the lessons and advice it gives. Mallaby takes inspiration from iconic companies like Google and Facebook and legendary investors like Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins to tell success stories. The Power Law explores a much broader spectrum of venture capital making this book beneficial for understanding the startup world as a whole. 

“The entire VC industry works from the Power Law principle — just a few of your cohort of investment will make nearly all of your returns. This has HUGE implications for how and how many startup investments you should make. Ignore this “law” at your own peril — but better to read about and understand it.” -Jeff Saling, StartUpNV 

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get it


Author: Scott Kupor 

Capital Culture: A book that emphasizes the ecosystem and history behind venture capital: A critical read for anyone seeking to understand how it all began and where it’s going.

In Secrets of Sand Hill Road, Scott Kupor draws from his personal expertise as an experienced venture capitalist. While strongly emphasizing the entrepreneurial perspective, Secrets of Sand Hill Road highlights the experiences, challenges, and successes of raising venture capital. The book provides an inside look at the venture capital ecosystem by covering a wide range of topics, including the most prominent venture capital firms, fundraising strategies, valuation methods, and portfolio management. 

Kupor paints a vivid yet informative picture of the ins and outs of the relationship between venture capitalists and startup founders. The language used in Secrets of Sand Hill Road is comprehensive and straightforward for readers with varying knowledge of venture capital. Readers are able to gain a deeper understanding of the motivation and concerns behind the venture capital industry. 

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (4th Edition)


Author: Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson 

Often referred to as the “Holy Grail” of VC books, Venture Deals can serve as a friendly go-to handbook for founders on all things VC.

Venture Deals is an incredibly detailed and educational book from both the founder’s and the  venture capitalist’s perspective. Feld and Mendelson offer the ultimate guide to understanding raising capital and navigating the legalese and motivations of the fundraising process. From preparing for fundraising to closing the deal, founders will learn the best ways to pitch to investors and negotiate deals. Venture Deals also explores concepts of valuation and dilution which is especially useful for founders in early-stage startups. Founders can learn what factors influence the valuation and the strategies that might be helpful when negotiating a valuation that aligns with their business goals. 

Attracting investments is essential to the growth and success of startups so it is important for founders to understand the criteria investors use to evaluate in which startups they will invest. Feld and Mendelson offer a guide on how to navigate and build a strong relationship with potential investors. By including perspectives from venture capitalists, the book ensures that both parties benefit from the investment deals. Venture capitalists can gain a deeper understanding of the trends that are constantly developing in the industry in order to adapt and stay competitive. With the combination of insights from both founders and venture capitalists, Venture Deals is a valuable resource to the venture capital and startup world.

“Don’t make your second investment until you read and understand the material in this book.  You can be forgiven for making a first investment without it, but not a second, third, or more.” – Jeff Saling, StartUpNV 


For founders and investors that need an extra hand in understanding the ins and outs of the venture capital industry, this list is curated to offer perspectives new and old from various points of view. 

Founders and entrepreneurs can gain insight to the minds of investors and break the barrier of knowledge. This can enable them to create better business models and build successful and sustainable startups. Venture capitalists can also identify potential in startups and choose which ones can yield the best returns. 

The approaches of investors to venture capital are limitless but the resources are not, so it’s essential to choose the right venture capital books to help with your next great business venture. 

For additional resources, check out StartUpNV’s Youtube channel and stay updated on our most recent posts and events on our Linkedin page. Find our Founders Reading list here. 

Written By: Ericka Estacio, Staff Writer