The Best Venture Capital Books Every Aspiring VC Should Read

Learn from top investors and past histories in Venture Capital
Picture of Mike Hinckley

Mike Hinckley


Written By An Industry Expert

10+ years of finance & growth stage experience

General Atlantic logo     Investor at top growth firm General Atlantic ​

     Operator at portfolio company Airbnb ​

Deutsche Bank logo     Investment banker at Deutsche Bank

US Treasury Department logo
     Financial policy advisor in Obama Administration

Wharton logo     MBA grad from top school Wharton

Table of Contents

Many are intrigued by startups and the venture capital firms that fund them.

When I was in college and considering a career in venture capital, I hungered for ways to learn about the industry from the outside looking in.

That’s why I created this list.  

By reputation and by personal experience, these are the top readings on venture capital that I’d recommend you read if you want to learn about or break into the industry.

Venture Deals, 4th Edition: Be Smarter than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

Venture Deals is written by legendary VC Brad Feld. 

When the book came out, it was an instant sensation among investors and entrepreneurs for democratizing knowledge about venture deals.

The focus of Venture Deals is the term sheet, a critical but frequently misunderstood component of venture capital agreements. Feld and his co-author Mendelson dispel technical lingo in term sheets for entrepreneurs seeking to negotiate a decent deal. 

While it’s actionable for entrepreneurs who are considering raising funding in the future, it’s also critical reading for future VCs who want to get up to speed on the terms inherent to venture capital deals.

Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups – Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000

Author Jason Calacanis is a famous investor and podcaster (All In, This Week In Startups).

In this book, Calacanis walks aspiring angel investors through his tried-and-true method of amassing wealth: investing in startups.

The reason I like this book is Angel Investing is sometimes the best way to get into venture capital, especially for those with untraditional backgrounds.

Calacanis walks the reader through each step of the process to get started.

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It

What makes venture capitalists tick?

Secrets of Sand Hill Road will tell you. The author will explain the criteria that VCs use to determine where to put their money and how much to put in. 

Entrepreneurs will also find out how to maximize your interactions with VCs to get the best deals. 

This book is essential reading for anybody hoping to get into VC or to accelerate their career within the venture capital industry.

Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-Up to IPO on Your Terms

Mastering the VC Game is an excellent book on venture capital, authored by Jeff Bussgang, a seasoned VC investor and Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School. 

While the author focuses on giving entrepreneur’s advice on how to deal with venture capitalists, future or aspiring venture capitalists will still learn an incredible amount from this book.  It is an excellent guide on how entrepreneurs find funding and who would make the best investor for their venture. 

The author argues that the alignment of a venture capitalist’s and an entrepreneur’s aims is crucial to the success of a business – a key lesson for all venture capitalists to learn.

Super Founders: What Data Reveals About Billion-Dollar Startups

Super Founders is a rare book that attempts to answer the age-old question of “what should venture capitalists look for in investments” using actual data.

The author Ali Tamaseb takes a data-driven approach to the question of what sets apart billion-dollar firms from the others, and its findings disprove practically everything we believed about these companies up until that point.

The author compiled the largest dataset ever collected on startups, comparing billion-dollar startups with those that failed to become one.  It includes 30,000 data points on nearly every factor, including but not limited to the number of competitors, market size, age of founder, ranking of founder’s university, quality of investors, fundraising time, and many others. 

Super Founders is an actionable handbook for current and future investors, as well as everyone interested in what makes a startup successful.  It is packed with counterintuitive insights and inside anecdotes from people who have established hugely successful firms.

The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future

This book is about the origins of tech incubation in Silicon Valley.

Author Sebastian Mallaby had unrivaled access to the most famous VCs of all time – including the heads of Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, Accel, Benchmark, and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as Chinese partnerships like Qiming and Capital Today. 

In the book, he weaves together several threads – from the comedy of mistakes that marked Apple’s infancy to the avalanche of venture money that fueled hubris at WeWork and Uber. 

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness

Naval Ravikant is the cult hero of many startup founders, tech workers, and venture capitalists alike.

He’s the enigmatic and wise founder of Angel List, and he’s also a prolific startup investor himself. 

In this book, Naval’s wisdom is aggregated and distilled into consumable chunks. His wisdom isn’t strictly about investing – in fact, much of it is about life advice (e.g. how one can achieve financial success and personal fulfillment).

However, the book is a great starting place for aspiring investors to learn about Silicon Valley’s ethos from one of its smartest thinkers.

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

If you want to learn about what truly matters in startup investing, Peter Thiel is your man.

He’s a billionaire entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Among the many companies he helped start were PayPal, Palantir Technologies, Founder’s Fund, and others. In addition, he was an early outside investor in Facebook. His wealth of knowledge is invaluable to anyone interested in getting into Venture Capital

Zero to One is a book full of helpful advice for business owners and investors alike.  The idea of “Zero to One” is about the process of building something truly innovative from nothing.

Peter’s influence on Silicon Valley thinking has been so great that many of his ideas have been absorbed into standard best practices among investors.  For those starting out in the industry, you should definitely read this to get up to speed!

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