Book Club (Austin)

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Book Club Yahoo Group

Lead Contributors


To help bootstrap subgroups lead discussions on bootstrap-related books amongst ourselves and with the authors and share the learning with the Bootstrap community.

Upcoming Books Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, organized by the Marketing Subgroup, August 12, 6:30 - 9pm,TopRight,11,-14_OU01_.jpg Selling the Wheel: Choosing The best Way To Sell For You, Your Company, Your Customers

Books by Bootstrap Map

The Bootstrap Map outlines the stages, principles and actions of the bootstrap journey. Books are listed on the wiki page of each stage: [1], Preideation, Ideation, Valley of Death, Growth, Rebootstrap


Book Club meets every 6 weeks or so and invitations are sent to the all bootstrap members via eVite. It's a potluck and we meet at a bootstrapper's house at 7pm. We precede the events with discussions and review of a book on the private Bootstrap Library group on Stuffopolis. All Book Club discussions are podcasted on the BootRap.

Subgroup Leads

Here are some pointers to putting on your own Book Club event:


  1. Contact the author and find a date that works for them to call in at 7:40PM CST (yes, precisely 7:40!)
  2. Give them the Bootstrap Conference Call details: (712) 580-0100, code: 885845# (including the '#')This is so the conversation can be recorded and put on the BootRap Podcast
  3. Find a location at a willing bootstrapper's home. Organize a good quality speaker phone and make sure they have a land line to call.
  4. Prepare a set of detailed questions for the call. The facilitator should have read the book!
  5. Send out an invitation (2 weeks in advance with a 1wk and 2day reminder) to Bootstrap with the details. Reading the book is NOT a requirement for participants and this should be made clear; rather the meeting is for them to get a distilled exposure to the author and their ideas and read the book afterwards, if they're interested. Let them know it is a potluck and ask them to bring food or drinks.
  6. Find two volunteers to: 1. take pictures, and, 2. write a blog about the event on the Bootstrap Austin Blog


  1. Folks mingle for 30min
  2. Gather around the telephone and describe the format for the call. Have folks do quick introductions.
  3. Ask for a blogging volunteer if one hasn't already been identified
  4. Call the conference line: (712) 580-0100, code: 885845* (including the '*'). Start recording by typing "*9", then "479829#"
  5. Quick introductions, welcome and then ask the planned questions for about 30min, then segue into audience questions
  6. after the call, press "*9" to stop the recording
  7. mingle and informal discussion
  8. Take pictures during the event


  1. Upload pictures where they can be publicly viewed
  2. Let Jeffrey Blair - AT sbcglobal DOT net - know if there are any particular editing requirements for the BootRap podcast.
  3. Have the blogger contact bijoy to schedule the blog post

History Saturday, January 14 Hoover's Vision Thursday, March 30 Go It Alone (podcast) Thursday, May 11 The Human Fabric Wednesday, July 19 Losing My Virginity Thursday, September 14 The Long Tail Thursday, November 30 The Hero With A Thousand Faces Thursday, Jan 11 The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations March 22 at 7:00 p.m Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty Muhammad Yunus Thurs, June 28 Megatrends 2010 - The Rise of Conscious Capitalism,TopRight,11,-14_OU01_.jpg Thurs, July 26 Rise of the Creative Class followed by a discussion at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, July 29 on ABD Talk Radio (1370AM),TopRight,11,-14_OU01_.jpg Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity Organized by the Art Subgroup

Suggestions: Please Add yours at the Bottom

Ash Maurya

  1. Surfing randomly this afternoon through the tech/business sections at the local bookstore, I stumbled across Seth Godin's latest book: The Dip, which I had to finish in one sitting. The cover describes the book as "a little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick)". According to the book, the dip exists in anything worth doing - Things typically start out exciting and fun, then get harder until hitting a low point really hard. He discusses how to identify the different types of dips, embracing the "good" ones and quitting the "bad" ones early. Yes, a lot of it will seem like common sense but Seth has a great talent for communicating simple ideas with impact. I thought it very relevant to bootstrapping especially for those in ideation and vod. VOD is essentially the dip all bootstrappers must push through to become the best... Hope you find it a good read too...

Ben Finklea

  1. The Dip is a terrific book, and cheap, too. I got the audio version read by the author and have listened to it twice now. To sum it up: If you aren’t the best or don’t have the resources to become the best then you should probably quit and do something else. (Note: The best can be in your town, in your market, in your industry, or in the whole world. As long as your customers think you’re the best.) I’m butchering this. It’s only $5. Go read it! I love the first line: “Being the best in the world is seriously UNDERrated!”

Rick Friedman

  1. Jane Jacobs, Systems of Survival

Robin Krieglstein

  1. Chalice and Blade

Michael Strong

  1. Hayek: The Creative Power of a Free Civilization
  2. Emerson: Self Reliance

Tom Brown

  1. One of my favorite books (easily in my top 20) is How to be Invisible. i've read it at least twice. the author has written a new e-book "skip college: go into business for yourself.
  2. Crazy idea 148: Bookclub Idol. In henry jenkins' book convergence culture (chapter 2), he notes that since the idol contest is spread over several weeks, it gives people something to talk about with each other and become vested in. ROUND 1: like the format of bootstrap roundtable, participants bring a book they think would be good for a bootstrap discussion and each gets 5 minutes plus Q/A. Everyone is a judge. top 2 go to round 2 which will be at the next meeting (possibly virtual). ROUND 2: perhaps this round can be a virtual meeting with the 2 winners from the last round. we could use Elluminate, the 2 can make their presentations and people vote in real time. we take the winner's book for our next meeting. here's a very relevant example of Elluminate being used by nancy white:
  3. My full review of convergence culture is here
  4. My favorite amazon reviewer just reviewed this one. i've been meaning to get another VISA related book to complement: VISA: the power of an idea


  1. Greg Gianforte's "Bootstrapping Your Business." Greg is a bootstrapper's account - he bootstrapped Right Now from 0-$100MM. He will be happy to call in and I can arrange that. It deals very directly with the VoD and is VERY affordable. Here's the website
  2. Amar Bhide. Provides an academic's perspective. And we haven't had an academic's perspective yet, right? So that might be a vote for that one.
  3. The White Man's Burden, William Easterly - bootstrapping for economic development

Bill Harrison

  1. Another worthwhile presentation of the business need to continually adapt is The Entrepreneurial Mindset by Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian MacMillan. McGrath and MacMillan are professors at Columbia and Wharton respectively, so the presentation has an academic overlay that is systematic and rigorous.
  2. Recommended Reading For New Entrepreneurs By SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN

Looking to learn more about building a new business? We asked Tim Faley, the managing director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, for books and Web sites he'd suggest to would-be entrepreneurs. He's also the managing director of the school's Wolverine Venture Fund, a venture-capital fund run by Ross students and faculty. Dr. Faley also had been director of technology transfer and commercialization at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. Prior to joining the university, he was an executive at Dow Chemical Co. in technology transfer and new-business development and a chemical-engineering professor. Here is his list:

  1. Crossing the Chasm" By Geoffery A. Moore "It's a marketing classic for entrepreneurs, especially those first starting out. It's critically important that entrepreneurs know who their initial customers are and move onto bigger markets from there. This book offers both insight and information you can go and apply."

"e-Boys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work" By Randall E. Stross "This book follows a group of young venture capitalists during the dot-com era. It gives you a great account from '97 to '99, right as we were ramping up to the peak of the bubble by describing the actions and mindsets of venture capitalists." "Instinct: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA to Achieve Business Goals" By Thomas L. Harrison with Mary H. Frakes "It's a fun book and those who have a technical background will especially like it, because even though it's not a science book, the author uses the language of science as a basis for discussion. He writes about how to recognize your weaknesses and how to build a team around you that compensates for them." "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century" By Thomas L. Friedman "It's particularly important for those just starting out to understand the environment they're entering, and this book talks about how the environment has changed competition, making it more global for every company of every size. It says every company is a global company and you need to think about that when starting one." "Innovation and Entrepreneurship" By Peter F. Drucker "Peter was one of the first to talk about the skills and mindset of an entrepreneur versus the traits. He talks about entrepreneurship in terms of learnable skills, which is important because at the end of the day, it's the skills that matter most." "The Art of the Start: Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything" By Guy Kawasaki "This book gets down to the details about pitching a business plan to venture capitalists for the first time. It goes all the way from how long the presentation should be to how large the font size should be on the slide. And the author does it in a very humorous and tongue-in-cheek way." "StartupNation presents an uncomplicated process to help first-time entrepreneurs get started. It helps people get over the 'but I don't know where to start' hurdle." "The Kauffman site is rich with entrepreneurial advice and research. The Kauffman Foundation has been and continues to be a strong supporter and advocate of entrepreneurship." ( is the online home of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, publisher of (formerly, a business partner of

Gary Hoover

  1. I have just started reading this book, Ambient Findability which is all about how people search the web and how businesses can understand it, etc it seems extremely interesting
  2. The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. FROM THE PUBLISHER: economics is about the allocation of resources, then what is the most precious resource in our new information economy? Certainly not information, for we are drowning in it. No, what we are short of is the attention to make sense of that information. With all the verve and erudition that have established his earlier books as classics, Richard A. Lanham here traces our epochal move from an economy of things and objects to an economy of attention. According to Lanham, the central commodity in our new age of information is not stuff but style, for style is what competes for our attention amidst the din and deluge of new media. In such a world, intellectual property will become more central to the economy than real property, while the arts and letters will grow to be more crucial than engineering, the physical sciences, and indeed economics as conventionally practiced. For Lanham, the arts and letters are the disciplines that study how human attention is allocated and how cultural capital is created and traded. In an economy of attention, style and substance change places. The new attention economy, therefore, will anoint a new set of moguls in the business world—not the CEOs or fund managers of yesteryear, but new masters of attention with a grounding in the humanities and liberal arts. Lanham’s The Electronic Word was one of the earliest and most influential books on new electronic culture. The Economics of Attention builds on the best insights of that seminal book to map the new frontier that information technologies have created." Michael Strong comments: That said, existing humanities and liberal arts provide very little of the kind of expertise he is describing. Design schools do a much better job.


  1. Have you read iCon? This is about Steve Jobs and his story of setting up and then removal from and then coming to Apple you are not the first one. Entrepreneurs all need to learn from Gates, whether they like him or not.

Martin Montero

  1. Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends by Tim Sanders. "The books premise is that you will find your success in business through helping others grow by sharing your intangibles—your knowledge, network and compassion. The book offers new tips and techniques related to life long learning, networking and relationship building." I think this really lines up with what make bootstrap unique. made me think of Steve's principles behind the ripples. Review. His site - Bijoy has meet him before, Amazon Listing
  2. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits by CK Prahalad. This book really encapsulates bootstrap spirit of leveraging resources and networks to create something really cool with little to no resources. As well highlight the principle of Constraint Creates Innovation finding ways to do more with what you have. "The world's most exciting, fastest-growing new market? It's where you least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world's billions of poor people have immense entrepreneurial capabilities and buying power. You can learn how to serve them and help millions of the world's poorest people escape poverty. It is being done-profitably. Whether you're a business leader or an anti-poverty activist, business guru Prahalad shows why you can't afford to ignore "Bottom of the Pyramid" (BOP) markets." This article was turned into a book.

Zane Rockenbaugh

  1. Management Challenges of the 21st Century by Peter Drucker, like most of his books, is easy to follow, but at the same time about as information dense as they come. The book deals with the fallout from broad demographic changes as it impacts management and business in general. The trends discussed in the book are common themes to many of Drucker's later work, and the technique and analysis is as always rock solid. Of course, every challenge is an opportunity, so the book is also a good source of new edieas.
  2. Innovation and Entrepreneurship is another excellent work by Drucker that directly addresses the large scale trends of the changing economy of innovation in the 21st century. This book does a good job of putting current trends and changes in a historical context and uses the lessons of a lifetime to illuminate and highlight what's new. While many of the concepts will be familiar, Drucker's ability to ground and demystify the over-hyped and superficial is noteworthy.
  3. The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton Christensen details perhaps the most fascinating and important theory of market change to be developed in the last 20 years. I read this at the same time I read "Innovation and Entrepreneurship", and the books went very well together. Christensen develops a cohesive and simply theory that explains how, when, and why disruptive technologies succeed in the market. This book is indispensable for anyone that seriously wants to work on the "next big thing".

Phyllis Blees from the National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship folks

Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity

William J. Baumol, Robert E. Litan, and Carl J. Schramm (Yale University Press, 2007)

The authors’ basic claim is that there is no such thing as a monolithic capitalist economic system. Instead, four different models -- ranging from state-guided capitalism to entrepreneurial capitalism -- exist in various forms around the world. The authors point to a blend of entrepreneurial and big-firm capitalism as the preferred model for an effective and successful response to the ever-changing global economy.

  • Note: We also reviewed Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism a few weeks ago on its formal release date.

The Entrepreneurial Society

David Audretsch (Oxford University Press, 2007)

David Audretsch is well-known in academic circles for numerous articles and papers on the entrepreneurial economy. In The Entrepreneurial Society, he presents a compelling statement of how entrepreneurship has helped drive America to global financial leadership. He contends that the entrepreneurial economy represents a strategic response to the growing importance of knowledge as the key factor in economic success. In the past, capital and labor were the key ingredients for prosperity. Today, knowledge capital and entrepreneurship capital have assumed a more pre-eminent role.

The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics

Eric Beinhocker, (Harvard Business School Press, 2006)

Evolutionary or complexity economics is a hot topic in academic circles. If you’re looking to learn more about this line of thinking, The Origin of Wealth is a good place to start. The book summarizes various critiques of neo-classical economics and then offers an alternative set of explanations based on evolutionary patterns and thinking.

My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on his Journey Through Silicon Valley

Ben Casnocha, (Jossey-Bass, 2007)

Casnocha started his first business at age 12 and has been at it ever since. Now, at the ripe old age of 19, he’s decided to share what he’s learned along the way. The book is largely focused on the challenges of trying to balance a normal teenager’s life with that of a start-up entrepreneur. Ben not only had to worry about business; he had to worry about graduating from high school. It’s a good story and it contains a lot of usefulideas about what it takes to succeed with a start-up.

Financing Innovation in the United States: 1870 to Present

Naomi R. Lamoreaux and Kenneth L. Sokoloff (eds.), (MIT Press, 2007)

This edited academic volume takes the long view in its assessment of America’s innovation policies. Since its founding, America has been remarkably and consistently successful in fostering innovation. This volume looks at this historical legacy and highlights important causal factors such as a transparent and low cost patent system, tight linkages between inventors and commercial firms, and effective government R&D programs. The book’s varied chapters take deep looks into links between financing and new industries like telecommunications, automobiles and information technology.

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days

Jessica Livingston, (Apress, 2007)

The best way to learn about the challenges of a start-up business is to go out there and do it yourself. But if you’re not ready to take the entrepreneurial leap, this book offers another peek into life at a start-up. Founders at Work is a compilation of interviews with founders of technology companies, such as Apple, Hotmail, PayPal, and Adobe. The 32 interviews provide useful information and maybe some inspiration, too.

Marketing that Works: How Entrepreneurial Marketing Can Add Sustainable Value to any Sized Company

Leonard M. Lodish, Howard L. Morgan, and Shellye Archambeau (Wharton School Publishing, 2007)

The authors bring a wealth of experience to this review of the latest thinking about marketing. Lodish is a long-time Wharton school professor, and Morgan and Archambeau both have diverse private sector experience as entrepreneurs and investors. They use the term “entrepreneurial marketing” to refer to an approach that is flexible, responsive, and unorthodox. This is a very helpful guide for entrepreneurs seeking to improve their marketing skills.

Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction

Thomas McCraw, (Belknap Press, 2007)

Best known for developing the concept of creative destruction, Schumpeter is one of the intellectual forefathers of today’s current thinking about the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation. If you’re interested in learning more about Schumpeter the theorist and Schumpeter the man, this is the best place to start. McCraw’s biography tells the story of Schumpeter’s life, but also offers an excellent introduction to his ideas and their impact on economic thinking today.

The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (and what to do about it)

Michael E. Raynor, (Currency, 2007)

Maybe the idea of strategic planning is over-rated. Raynor’s basic claim is that too many firms are too timid when they plan for the future. Success often requires bold action and ideas, but these very ideas are also the most likely to fail. Raynor does not recommend that managers “bet the company” on risky ideas. Instead, he recommends an approach called “Strategic Flexibility,” where managers develop a range of options for future strategic directions.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, (Random House, 2007)

The black swan is a metaphor that refers to rare and unpredictable events that complicate the lives of all of us who try to develop forecasts or plans for the future. Anyone who lived through 9/11 knows that unpredictable or unexpected events can change the course of history. How can businesses and individuals respond? Taleb does not recommend that we identify new ways to predict the future. “Black Swans” are, by definition, unpredictable. Thus, the best alternative is to recognize that they occur and to be prepared to flexibly respond in a changed environment.

A Practical Guide to Business Incubator Marketing Corinne Colbert, (NBIA Publications, 2007)

Real world tips and advice from more than 50 incubation professionals is what you get from this entry, the latest offering from the National Business Incubation Association. Chapters on market research, market planning and specific marketing techniques -- all emphasizing cost-effectiveness -- provide applicable information for those looking for basic information on how to stretch their marketing dollar. Check the NBIA store for this one.

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