What novels will nurture my inner entrepreneur?
August 14, 2012 1:04 PM   Subscribe

There are plenty of non-fiction books on the subject of startups and entrepreneurship. But what about when you don't have the energy to learn? Please recommend me some novels on the subjects of creating products, building companies, etc. Inspiring tales of business and innovation...

There's no shortage of non-fiction books about startups, entrepreneurship and famous business leaders. Sometimes though I'm looking for inspiration (something to keep me in that entrepreneurial mindset) but my brain just doesn't have the energy for non-fiction.

So what about fiction books for entrepreneurs? Books about business, startups, investments, creating new tech and software... I'm thinking about books like "The First $20 Million Is Always The Hardest" by Po Bronson, "Microserfs" by Douglas Coupland, perhaps even "The Bug" by Ellen Ullman.

Can you recommend some other authors or novels on the subjects of startups and entrepreneurship?
posted by ChristopherS to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

JR by William Gaddis, the quintessential novel about business.
posted by OmieWise at 1:43 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau
posted by PaulaSchultz at 2:27 PM on August 14, 2012

Makers, by Cory Doctorow.
posted by matt_arnold at 3:07 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hmm. I'm not sure this is exactly what you're looking for. The novels you listed are about entrepreneurs, not for entrepreneurs. But there's a sub-genre of "business novels" that aim to teach critical aspects of business in novel form. The writing can be clunky but I find them thrilling. The grand-daddy is The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox, about, of all things, manufacturing plant efficiency. I loved it. Goldratt has an entire series of books in this vein, all covering different topics from the same perspective. There's also The Venture: A Business Novel About Starting Your Own Company by Jeff Cox which reads more like the Po Bronson book but is out of print. (I don't recommend the other Cox books, Zapp and Selling the Wheel). And then there's Patrick Lencioni who writes "business fables" which start with a novelized account of a business problem then back it up with the usual dry, boring bulleted lists. Just read the first half. Start with The Three Signs of a Miserable Job to see if you like his style. Finally, there's Who's Counting: A Lean Accounting Business Novel by Jerrold Solomon which sounds pretty specific (lean accounting) but also deals with the more general idea of change management and is great fun.
posted by zanni at 3:50 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

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