The Real Deal

2019 Venture Capital Reading List

By January 12, 2019 No Comments

Every semester, I’m blown away by the bold potential interns attracted to Valor’s mandate. We’ve experienced the energy of bright venture capital hopefuls from Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Yale, Emory and most recently, Vanderbilt.

Venture capital interns

These eager investors in training have pushed our growing–but still small!–investment firm to focus on what levers we have to nurture their growth as much as possible while they’re with us. Without a doubt, the lab of Startup Runway, the largest pitch event in the country for women and minority founders, continues to get high marks. Our monthly Trial Trailblazer program, where CXOs test software from our pipeline, is a real-world experience lab that really reaches them.

Why a venture capital reading list

One of the more surprising tools we’ve found valuable is the humble reading list. For students at top institutions to have a reading list seems–well, outdated? They’re already exposed to the best finance or engineering reads. Still, there’s a practical “as it was revealed to me gap.” Younger investors need to feel the heartbeat behind the headlines — and our list is trying to do that.

So our venture capital intern reading list — always a work in progress and usually shared on Slack— focuses on highlighting authentic leading voices with something to say about transformation. It’s attempting a“personality tour” of the big ideas investors practice daily–like prioritizing time, using probabilities, pushing yourself to improve, and nurturing leaders. We’ve chosen to remove sector bias from the list–so no, we’re not diving deep into the crypto, genomics or AI overviews. There are better reading lists for all of that.

We want the youngest members of our team to develop the headset of constant learning, constant questioning, constant bar-setting above. We hope they become inspired by all the ways today’s leaders find their voices — and share them with the world. Knowing it’s the chorus of many ideas that sings real innovation, our hope is Valor interns gain confidence in their own voice and learn to enjoy their contribution in that choir.

I thought we’d share our 2019 list, which evolves through the year. This is the first snap our newest interns are seeing. See something you like? Let us know. Always open to suggestions too. Which books are inspiring or shaping you as an investor?

SuperForecasting: The Art & Science of Prediction

The 1% Rule — Tommy Baker

Reset: My fight for Inclusion — Ellen Pao

Principles: Life & Work — Ray Dalio

Elon Musk — Ashlee Vance

Bad Blood — John Carreyou

Women of the Street: Why Women Money Managers Create Higher Returns — Meredith Jones

Let Your Mind Run — Deena Kastor

Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity — David Allen

Traction — Get a grip on your business — Gino Wickman

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Thrive and Others Die — Chip & Dan Heath

Good to Great — Jim Collins

Getting (More of) What You Want — Margaret Neale

Stand-Out Self Assessment — download it

The Growing Market Investors are Missing — Morgan Stanley (PDF / Research)

NVCA Pitchbook Venture Monitor — always get the excel and run numbers yourself (quarterly)

**Most of these books can be checked out for free digitally at your local major city library. Use the free Libby app and your free library card to do it.