May 6, 2019

What book is a must read for indie hackers?

Callum Harrod @soluxos

Which books have opened your mind to a whole new world?
Which books taught you things you really needed to learn?


  1. 10

    For growth from SEO and search ads (plus general mindset), pretty much everything Patrick McKenzie (@patio11) has written on his blog at

    For niche tech product idea selection, 'Start Small Stay Small' by @robwalling

    For ambition (nice to counter-balance all the 'small' stuff), Thiel's 'Zero to One' or any of the recent videos being put out via YCombinator's YouTube channel and Startup School.

    For finding ways to go hands-off and "exit" a profitable bootstrapped business without selling it (i.e. via processes, tech, and team), the book 'The E-Myth Revisited'.

    For thinking about risk, personal finance, and career trajectory, either 'The Black Swan' or 'Antifragile' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

    For asking good questions and getting better customer feedback... My book ;)

    1. 2

      Don't miss the greatest hits from @patio11

      I did a lot of mindmaps from these articles, I review them from time to time. Each time I'm blown away by how many wise advice they pack.

    2. 2

      +1 for 'Start Small Stay Small' by @robwalling

    3. 1

      I'll add Patrick McKenzie's blog to my list, looks pretty damn insightful! :)

      Thanks for all the book recommendations as well, there are some pretty great books there! Got to admit though, not a massive fan of Zero to One haha...

      As for your book, I'll definitely pick it up! It's on my backlog of books, so thanks for giving me a kick to buy it! :D

      With that in mind, would you be interested in doing an AMA of your book in the future on my site? I've just started my online book club (, so it'd be awesome to have an author join in there and talk about their book with users on the site!

      1. 1

        Yup, happy to. Next week or so is probably okay, after that I'm afk for 6 weeks for a bit of detox time. (After that is fine too.) [email protected]

  2. 5

    Anything you want by Derek Sivers

    1. 2

      Can't say I've come across Derek Sivers before. But the book sounds cool, and with a testimonial from Tim Ferriss, how could I not read it! :) Thanks @SupremeRumHam

      1. 2

        I was going to recommend this one, ideal for newer indie hackers. I've got a copy @soluxos - I'll dig it out for you.

        1. 1

          Ah awesome! That'd be amazing :D Thanks @rosiesherry

  3. 3

    Solid books on startup marketing:

    Traction by Gabriel Weinberg
    SaaS Marketing Essentials by Ryan Battles

    1. 1

      I'm currently reading Traction, putting it to practice and actually discussing it on my site haha!

      I'll have to have a look at SaaS Marketing Essentials by Ryan Battles

  4. 3

    There is also the book Make from Pieter Levels!

    1. 1

      Ah that's a great one! I read it last year haha!

      I suppose another similar-ish book is The 4 Hour Work week by Tim Ferriss, not so much on creating your company, but it covers cutting down your work load and automating your business pretty well!

      Thanks for the comment @Vinrob

  5. 3

    Let me kick this off!

    For me, a book that I have read recently is Content Design by Sarah Richards. Sarah Richards dealt with the redesign of the UK .gov site, it's a website that has set the standard for user experience. After having read the book it will change how I deal with content going forward.

    The book is great at breaking down the content design process and highlights some great points for creating content too.

    I highly recommend everyone to pick this book up, it's great!

    1. 1

      Thanks for the recommendation! Just had a look and immediately bought it. Looks like it will be very useful!

      1. 1

        No problem! Honestly, it's a great read, and pretty funny in places too! Let me know what you think of it when you're finished!

  6. 2

    The hard thing about hard things, by Ben Horrowitz!

    It's a True story, but more importantly it's a story, really well written, about an entrepreneur winning a big exit!

    It's one of the best book I've ever read!

    1. 1

      I'm about half way through this, it's a really good read so far!

      If you haven't read it yet, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is a great one! But I think everyone has read it by now haha! :)

      1. 1

        I never heard about it, so, thank you :) I've put it on my to read list!

  7. 2

    The Millionaire Fastlane is probably the ultimate book for indies, despite the dodgy-sounding title.

    Traction, by Gabriel Weinburg has also been very useful for me when helping early-to-mid stage startups that are already up and running.

  8. 2

    Deep Work by Newport, The Goal by Goldratt and more tactical but useful: Running Lean by Ash Mauria.

    1. 1

      I've been meaning to read some of Cal Newport's books... I had Digital Minimalism in my hands the other day but left it. Deep work though sounds like a good read, might have to pick it up before I go on holiday!

  9. 2

    I really liked Company of One by Paul Jarvis.

    1. 1

      I've followed Paul Jarvis' email for ages! I need to grab Company of One though, seen so many people mention it as a great read... Thanks! @mattts

      1. 1

        I want to read this one too. IH Brighton book club, perhaps @soluxos :)

        1. 1

          I think it has to happen with the amount of books I want to read haha! I'll look at creating a meetup soon. Going on holiday tomorrow, so I'll look at setting something up after that :)

          I'll keep you posted!

  10. 1

    Technical Blogging by Antonio Cangiano is excellent.

  11. 1

    The Customer Funded Business by John Mullins and Profit First by Mike Michalowicz are really good too!

  12. 1

    1.Profit First by Mike Michalowicz rocked my personal and biz finance world. Love his approach to paying yourself first and bucketing accounts.
    2. Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun taught me the basics of managing people and projects. Most ventures involve both, so it's been super applicable.
    3. Keep Going by Austin Kleon is mega-encouragement when it comes to creativity and producing stuff on a regular basis. I keep this one on my desk.

    @AndrewAskins and I compiled a few more, plus some podcasts and newsletters, over here 👉

  13. 1

    These books are not particularly tech-related but they can help you get a deeper understanding on how to build things while keeping your solution unique:

    • The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson will change your perspective about building a project on the side and teach you how to track its progress over time.
    • The Micro-Script Rules by Bill Schley not only that it will improve your copywriting skills but it will change the way you look at banner ads for ever.
    • Creativity, Inc. by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull will help you understand that being unique and creative is not 100% art or guess, it's actually a skill.

    Read them, listen to the audiobook, start with any of them, these books can change your perspective like no talk, article or video can. Not sure? I would start with The Slight Edge, thank me later;)

    1. 1

      All of those sound right up my street!

      The Micro-Script Rules sounds similar in ways to a book I've recommended, really changed my perspective on content. It's Content Design by Sarah Richards. Check it out!

      Thanks for all the book recommendations, they all sound great. I'll make sure to read them all :)

  14. 1

    For me, Good Strategy Bad Strategy had a big impact on the way I think about product strategy and how to create good strategies for growth.

  15. 1

    Oohh... Where to start? :D

    For digital marketing, I recommend

    Because (good) habits are the key to productivity:

    Entrepreneurship and Business in General:

    These are just the ones I can think of immediately. There are many more I can list if anyone is interested...

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