Software Developer Book Club: Business Book Recommendations from ISVs

What are other ISVs reading? Here are six worthwhile business book recommendations from other ISVs on topics that range from rapid growth to customer loyalty.

business book recommendation

If you’re like most ISVs, taking some time to put your feet up and read a great book is probably more of a luxury than a part of your weekly routine. So, when you have the time to invest in developing your leadership skills and growing your business, you want to make good use of that opportunity. You could, however, spend all of your time sorting through books and reviews looking for the titles that contain the best advice and insights for your ISV. To provide you with a shortcut to the best titles, here are six business book recommendations from other ISVs and some of the reasons they’re worth your while.

  1. Born to Build by Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton and Sangeeta Badaal, PhD, principal scientist for Gallup’s Entrepreneurship and Job Creation Initiative.

Christine McDonnell, CEO and Co-Founder of Codelicious, recommends this book that provides, according to the publisher, “a uniquely psychological approach to venture building. It gives readers the tools and techniques they need to understand who they are, what motivates them and what they can build — and how.”

The book includes a code that allows readers to take Gallup’s Builder Profile 10 that reveals talents and motivations – and shows you how to make the most of them.

  1. From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

Matt Coffman, COO of MomentPath makes this business book recommendation. From Impossible to Inevitable shares the playbooks of companies including Zenefits,, and EchoSign. It also provides readers with its “7 Ingredients of Hypergrowth.”

  1. Customer Success: How Innovative Companies are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue by Nick Mehta

Eric Diamond, CEO of PushSend, says, “This is a great book for anyone starting a subscription business. It really talks to the importance of customer lifetime value (LTV) and how you can exceed expectations if you provide each customer with an environment where their perceived value of the service is always greater than the actual monetary value. It covers high-level SaaS metrics that matter and will help you focus on the most important thing — customer success.” 

  1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Abbas Dhilawala, CTO of Galen Data, recommends this book that provides information for building and running a startup — and reflects Horowitz’s unique combination of humor and straight talk.

The HarperCollins Publishers’ website summarizes: “Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.”

  1. The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon

Duncan Stockdill, CEO and Co-Founder of Capsule made two business book recommendations for ISVs — the first, The Effortless Experience, explores the customer experience and what makes customers loyal.

Penguin Random House provides an excerpt: “Loyalty is driven by how well a company delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Most customers don’t want to be ‘wowed’; they want an effortless experience. And they are far more likely to punish you for bad service than to reward you for good service.”

  1. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Stockdill also recommends this book that focuses on principles of intuitive navigation and design. It’s a fun, short read that has influenced thousands of developers. The second edition includes three new chapters: “Usability as a common courtesy,” “Web Accessibility, CSS and you,” and “Help! My boss wants me to _____ — Surviving executive design whims.”

Are there other titles that you’d recommend? Share your business book recommendations with us at

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.