New Year Gift: 21 Books & Podcasts to Start Your Awesome 2019

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Entrepreneurs are always consuming their energy and knowledge while running their business, in the meantime, they have to always obtain, digest and implement new knowledge and information. It’s not only for the business achievements but also for their personal growth, as well as thinking about the world when standing on the shoulders of giants.

2019 just arrived! Chinaccelerator team is happy to provide you with a New Year Recommendation List, including books and podcasts, covering different topics about entrepreneurship, business, society, culture, and history. We hope that this list will help you to start an excellent 2019 and propel your business to the next stage!

1. Podcast: How I built this with guy Raz.
—— Recommended from William Bao Bean,General Partner at SOSV, Managing Direcor at Chinaccelerator & MOX
Founding stories and founding myths are always interesting to hear especially because we are based in China and sometimes don’t get to use so many of the products and services that are popular in the US. Startup founders the world around have many of the same challenges and its awesome to hear how these challenges have been overcome in the past. Check out lyft episode – so different than uber!

2. Book: Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman–Including 10 More Years of Business Unusua

—— Recommended from Oscar Ramos, Partner & Managing Director at Chinaccelerator

Passion and real interest are amazing catalysts for innovation and entrepreneurship. When startups scale, just more of 10 employees, their original vision and values of the company become difficult to maintain. The book describes the personal experience of the founder of Patagonia to create one of the most successful, innovative and profitable businesses in their industry. He had no previous business experience and went through lots of struggles and mistakes, he shares his individual growth as well as the building of one of the most admired company cultures.


3. Podcast: The Big Pivot w/ Slack’s Stewart Butterfield – Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

—— Recommended from Oscar Ramos, Partner & Managing Director at Chinaccelerator

Pivots are extremely important moments for entrepreneurs, potentially as beneficial as risky. Some have been critical for success but deciding why, when and to what is the key to secure a positive outcome.

In this podcast, the founder of Flickr and Slack shares his personal experience through two very successful pivots. How he pivoted from gaming companies twice turning them into very different yet successful businesses. Besides insights about the data and real customer demand behind the pivot, he also talks about how to get the support from strategic stakeholders from investors to employees.


4. Book: AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

— Recommended by Vivian Law, Senior Associate at SOSV

“Data-backed, contrarian, and straight-talking, Kai Fu Lee provides strong case examples on how China is the prime training grounds to strengthen the AI giants of tomorrow”


5. Podcast: #338: Howard Marks – How to Invest with Clear Thinking (The Tim Ferriss Show)

— Recommended by Vivian Law, Senior Associate at SOSV

Investment philosophies 101 – you’ll be left with a long list of resources to do further digging after listening to Howard Marks


6. Book: How Not To Be Wrong – the power of mathematical thinking 

— Recommended by Diego Zegada Klaric, Corporate Innovation Director at Chinaccelerator & MOX

Why should you miss more planes? Why probability and risk are not the same? How much is that in dead Americans? Are you there, God? It’s me, Bayesian inference.

Jordan Ellenberg writing is humorous and compelling. The book uses mathematical concepts to make sense of the messy world we live in. Although it isn’t exactly an entrepreneurship/business book, it is a healthy reading for any entrepreneur, venture capitalists, or corporate executive.


7. Book: HBR Guide to Project Management

— Recommended by Kiki Shen, Corporate Innovation Manager at Chinaccelerator & MOX

Wondering how to manage a great workshop? Or how to select a topic for an internal workshop? Or how to be a great project leader? This guide, published by Harvard Business Review Press, will give you the confidence and tools you need to produce a great workshop and manage projects effectively. For example: avoid “scope creep”, keep stakeholders in the loop, on board disruptive team members, make proper and efficient Gantt and PERT charts, zero in on critical tasks and map out a logical sequence etc. It’s super easy to pick up and just spend two hours, you will be the master of project managers.


8. Book: Side Hustle From Idea to Income in 27 Days

— Recommended by Justice Kelly, Corporate Innovation Manager at Chinaccelerator & MOX

Guillebeau’s “Side Hustle” doesn’t just hold your hand and whisper sweet nothings in your ear – it inspires (and practically forces) you to come up with ideas and implement them in a short period of time. A perfect book for anyone who wants to learn about how to start a side-hustle.


9. Book: Your strategy needs a strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach

— Recommended by Chris Zhang, Program Manager at Chinaccelerator

Your strategy needs a strategy is written by three senior strategy leaders of BCG. They took and analyzed hundreds of American companies from the past 60 years and found the correlation among company industries, strategies, and success criteria. The strategy palette they used was combined with three axes: predictability, malleability and harness. From there, companies can diagnose which of the 5 archetypes they are: classical, adaptive, visionary, shaping, and renewal.

When to go big, how to be fast, why to be first were explained clearly among the five archetypes with real cases. It’s fairly easy to read. But like the majority of other business books, it takes time to digest and gain value out of it. I found the value becomes more tangible when I match these strategies with the startups we are working with. For people who don’t have experience in dealing with different industries, I would suggest them to pick some companies that they know and get their hands dirty.


10. Book: Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction

— Recommended by Eva Shi, Marketing Manager at Chinaccelerator

This is a fundamental economic book that describes and explains the global economic structure and history. Reading this book allows me to have a better understanding of the global economic history and the reasons behind the differences in different countries. The questions posed by the author include why the industrial revolution took place in the western countries, how globalization happened, why there are differences in the economic development of the countries, how did new economy entities develop, how policies challenged the existing landscape, etc.The way how the author analyzed various factors that are affecting the economic development is inspiring us to better understand the status quo and predict the future.
11. Book: 激荡十年,水大鱼大:中国企业2008-2018— Recommended by Eva Shi, Marketing Manager at ChinacceleratorThe book Global Economic History begins with the industrial revolution, covering many countries that affected the development of the world economy, mainly focusing on the agricultural and industrial sectors in western countries.Wu Xiaobo’s record starts in 1978 with a focus on describing the past 30 years of Chinese business and social development. Before reading the book about the past 30 years, I finished reading the book published in 2017 about the past 10 years of Chinese society. As a post-90, I witnessed China’s rapid development in the decade from 2008 to 2018. The way how Wu wrote about the past happenings, especially how the Internet has disrupted the whole society, made me feel that my fate is completely integrated into the collective memory and the era itself.12. Book: Designing With Data: Improving the User Experience with A/B Testing— Recommended by Monique Lee, Design Manager at Chinaccelerator & MOXThree main orienting principles in this book. One, that design brings a responsibility to address users’ needs through well-designed products and experiences. Two, that design practice therefore needs to be invested in representing users accurately and appropriately through developing new methods to create an understanding of users and user behaviours. Data is an integral part of that process. Three, that a design perspective is needed to ensure that optimal user experiences are appropriately represented in business goals, measures, and metrics. Designers should therefore be fundamentally interested in data and its collection, analysis, and use.


13. Book: Don’t make me think 

— Recommended by Weiwei Jiang, Community Manager at Chinaccelerator

Don’t make me think is a good book because it provides important tips on the product design for your customers – a good design is not to make it complex for customers to use but to allow your clients not to think how to use it when using it.


14. Book: 创业,请从会用人开始 

— Recommended by Maggie Ye, Operation Manager at Chinaccelerator

Many people think it is difficult to start a business but it’s easy to hire talents. When you join a startup and work with a team of 2-4 people including you and the founders, recruitment can be a hurdle. This book is a good illustration of the author’s first-hand knowledge of startups as a professional HR consultant. You will resonate with all HR pain points related to the survival of a startup described in this book.

Whether you’re working as an HR Manager in an entrepreneurial company like me, or you want to work in different workplaces, regardless of the enterprise scale you are working for, or whatever type of the BOSS you are reporting to, this book is worth reading.

15. Book: Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet

— Recommended by Minjia Wu, Investment Associates at Chinaccelerator & MOX

The Great American Gold Rush (1848-1855). The Gold Rush of the Internet (1995-2000). And now The Crypto Gold Rush (2017-????). Like what Bon Jovi wisely told us, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Wolff’s hilarious account of the dot-com era allows us to recall the hype, the billions, and the loss-making businesses of today.

Wolff’s story aside, Burn Rate certainly also strikes a key question for every entrepreneur — how do I control the amount of money I consume in order to become a profitable business? Am I spending like we are chasing a big market, when right now we can only reach a small one?

16. Book: 沸腾十五年
— Recommended by Minjia Wu, Investment Associates at Chinaccelerator & MOX
Another “history” book here. Lin Jun’s 《沸腾十五年》gives a detailed, 15-year account of China’s Internet and the ensuing prosperity it has brought to the economy.While at times overoccupied with bibliographical minutiae, the book is also very helpful in contextualizing Chinese Internet developments with their counterparts in the West.17. Podcast:Time Travel Institution 无时差研究所— Recommended by Claire Cai, Investment Analyst at ChinacceleratorTime Travel Institution is a podcast hosted by two New Yorkers who are crunching in US financial industry. We kicked off this funny and relatable talk show in the desire to thoroughly express ourselves. Every episode, we will invite one or more guests to discuss an interesting topic you might never heard before. By offering numerous refreshing and down-to-earth perspective and information, we are looking forward to glinting and sparkling in many aspects of your daily life.18. Podcast: Planet Money

— Recommended by Zena Wang, Investment Analyst at MOX

30 minutes podcast that covers in-depth stories about economy and politics around the world. Probably one of the best US podcasts that covers non-US stories.


19. Book:On the Manner of Negotiating with Princes

— Recommended by Brian Lee, Investment Analyst at Chinaccelerator

This book was written by Callieres who was a French diplomat activist in the period of 1670 to 1700. He was contributing discussions related to the topics of ending the War of the Great Alliance and was appointed as cabinet secretary by King Louis XIV. He lays out the qualifications, duties, and appropriate behaviors of a successful negotiator and diplomat for the Son of Louis XIV.


More Recommendations:

20. Book: Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice

21. Podcast:China Startup Pulse: How VCs do due diligence: metrics and team with Carman Chan, Founder & Managing Partner of Click Ventures

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