Special Series #2: 6 Must-Read Books and 2 Essential Longreads for Angel Investors

A beginner-friendly selection by Uniborn
Barbara Krassner
🇬🇪 Uniborn Team
4 min read

Hey there! Welcome back to our latest column, a go-to source for quick, insightful nuggets tailored to European venture investors. Last time, we dished out some vital questions for co-investors. Now, get ready for our must-reads! Ideal for budding angels, but don't sleep on it — there's something here for even the pros, too 😉

👉 Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups — Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000 (by Jason Calacanis)

According to our founder Dmitry Samoilovskikh, "Angel" by Jason Calacanis is the perfect starting point if you're new to angel investing.

Calacanis has been in the venture game for over 25 years and invested in the likes of Uber, Airbnb, and Trello in their early days, among many others. His secret? Backing the founder, not just the product they're offering.

So, when it comes to picking winners, Calacanis suggests looking for a combo of a standout entrepreneur and a game-changing idea. Simultaneously, keeping in mind the product's potential is one thing, but the founder's vision is what truly drives success. While products can pivot, swapping out founders is a much tougher call and can lead to major headaches down the road.

And here's his quote to fuel your angel investing dreams: "Everybody wants to own Facebook, Google, and Netflix. I want to own the next Facebook, Google, and Netflix."

By the way, if you like "Angel," there's more where that wisdom came from! Check out Calacanis' X account and his This Week in Startups podcast. Plus, he hosts All In Pod

👉Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (by Peter Thiel)

Another honest recommendation from Dmitry is the book penned by the founder of PayPal. Here, he shares his insights on the global role of the venture entrepreneur and, by extension, the investor.

According to Peter, the primary role of both is to envision the future. This means investing not just in horizontal progress — scaling and refining existing concepts — but also in vertical progress: the invention of radically new technologies that leap from 0 to 1. This is the true step of innovation that is far more impactful than going from 1 to 10 or even 100.

In the author's words, "The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them."

While "Zero to One" may provoke some debate — especially when the author advocates for monopolies — it's a must-read for those aiming not just to create another TikTok or Bolt but to revolutionize the market.

👉 Adventures in Venture Capital: A Practical Guide for Novice Angels and Future Unicorns (by Igor Ryabenkiy)

Fresh off the press just a year ago, this book is already a staple among investors and founders. With a playful tone and a wealth of experience, Igor dishes out real-life cases to show you how to spot future unicorns and which teams and strategies to bet on.

👉 The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness (by Eric Jorgenson)

Welcome to perhaps the most unconventional book on our list — a treasure trove of AngelList founder Naval's wisdom, distilled from tweets, conversations, and interviews over the past decade.

What sets this book apart is its optionality. You can flip to any page at random and find yourself immersed in insightful thoughts. Whether you read a single page, a paragraph, or even just the title of a chapter, you're bound to find some fascinating food for thought. Plus, there are QR codes to take you to other valuable resources!

As Eric, the author, aptly puts it, "Most books are 1 idea expanded into a book. The Navalmanack is 100 ideas woven together into one conversation."

Also, check out his similar book featuring the legendary Balaji Srinivasan's insights. And Eric’s podcast and Х

👉 The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New gluedFuture (by Sebastian Mallaby)

This, too, is a fairly recent gem from 2022, hailed as the best book on the half-century history of venture capital — a must-read for anyone delving into modern economics.

Step behind the scenes of Silicon Valley. The enticing, in-depth interviews with key entrepreneurs and capitalists will keep you glued while the book’s central idea will resonate deeply with many: "The future cannot be predicted, it can only be discovered."

👉 The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (by Ben Horowitz)

Another resident of Uniborn's bookshelf: a treatise on the harsh realities of business. From layoffs and parting ways with partners to delivering bad news and owning up to mistakes, this book dives into the uncomfortable aspects that every entrepreneur faces. It's not just for founders and CEOs; angel investors will find it invaluable, too, as navigating risks often involves tough decisions. 

Plus, rap fans will rejoice — there's a good chance you'll find lines from your favorite songs scattered throughout its pages.

👀 As a bonus, a selection of top-notch long reads

👉 It's Time To Build... But Build What? (by Kyle Harrison)

Here's a thought-provoking monologue that delves into the "what" and "why" of our actions — a perfect complement to "Zero to One." While it may appear to be another critique of the pitfalls of capitalism, it's more of a call for "growth — but not at all costs." Reading this won't just be enlightening — it's a reminder for investors to consider the social impact of their investments, not just the profit.

Why scaling shouldn't come at the cost of sacrificing quality and value. (Image: Х)
Why scaling shouldn't come at the cost of sacrificing quality and value. (Image: Х)

👉 The Science of Selling — Early DPI Benchmarks (by David Zhou)

This article is packed with crucial numbers and arguments essential for crafting a successful venture strategy.

Just one of the positive reviews. (Image: LinkedIn)
Just one of the positive reviews. (Image: LinkedIn)

Obviously, there are many more books and sources out there, but these are the ones we personally rejoiced and can wholeheartedly recommend. So dive in and enjoy!

Cover image: Unsplash

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