8 Growth Hacking Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

“Build it and they will come” is the biggest startup myth on the Internet. They will not come unless you figure out how to make them. If you are bootstrapping an idea, user growth and traffic development are more science than art, and you need to carefully engineer your success.

The book titles I listed below provide entrepreneurs, bloggers and startup founders with a useful framework to learn how to orchestrate a fast-track growth on the Internet, including:

  • How to make your content viral
  • How to get PR at zero budget
  • How to do SEO if you are not a techie
  • How to develop users and audience
  • How to attract backlinks to your site
  • How to use analytics and data-driven insights
  • How to hack your life like a pro
  • How to bootstrap your internet marketing toolbox
  • How to use Facebook ads and Adwords for targeted low-cost media buys
  • How to write effective copy
  • How to build a blog and develop a brand
  • How to get speaking gigs and invites to podcasts
  • How to guest blog on tier one sites
  • How to attract users like a magnet with a killer content strategy
  • How to A/B test messaging

Check out the growth hacking books below to grow like a pro!

All book descriptions via Amazon.com.

growth hacking books

Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising

A new generation of megabrands like Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitter haven’t spent a dime on traditional marketing. No press releases, no TV commercials, no billboards. Instead, they rely on a new strategy—growth hacking—to reach many more people despite modest marketing budgets. Growth hackers have thrown out the old playbook and replaced it with tools that are testable, trackable, and scalable. They believe that products and businesses should be modified repeatedly until they’re primed to generate explosive reactions.
Bestselling author Ryan Holiday, the acclaimed marketing guru for American Apparel and many bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians, explains the new rules and provides valuable examples and case studies for aspiring growth hackers. Whether you work for a tiny start-up or a Fortune 500 giant, if you’re responsible for building awareness and buzz for a product or service, this is your road map. Find this book on Amazon.

growth hacker marketing

Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth by Sean Ellis 

Today’s fastest growing startups all share one thing in common: a new approach to how they grow. Using new a way of marketing, called growth hacking, these startups have grown to millions of users and created billions of dollars in value, all without using the traditional marketing playbook. So how have companies like Uber, Square, Snapchat, Evernote, Hubspot, Github and Yelp grown? See for yourself in this ebook packed with the most in-depth case studies on exactly what strategies these companies used to unlock massive growth.

Case studies included are: Uber, Snapchat, Square, Upworthy, Yelp, GitHub, Hubspot, Evernote, LinkedIn, and Belly. Each case study shows you the specific strategies (we call them “growth engines”) that these companies used to grow, both in the early stages and later in their development. From the growth hacks they used, to the unique growth playbooks they employed, you won’t fnd a more detailed look at how startups achieve growth than through these case studies. Find this book on Amazon.

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Sean Snow

Entrepreneur and journalist Shane Snow (Wired, Fast Company, The New Yorker, and cofounder of Contently) analyzes the lives of people and companies that do incredible things in implausibly short time. How do some startups go from zero to billions in mere months? How did Alexander the Great, YouTube tycoon Michelle Phan, and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon climb to the top in less time than it takes most of us to get a promotion? What do high-growth businesses, world-class heart surgeons, and underdog marketers do in common to beat the norm?

One way or another, they do it like computer hackers. They employ what psychologists call “lateral thinking” to rethink convention and break “rules” that aren’t rules. In Smartcuts, Snow shatters common wisdom about success, revealing how conventions like “paying dues” prevent progress, why kids shouldn’t learn times tables, and how, paradoxically, it’s easier to build a huge business than a small one. From SpaceX to The Cuban Revolution, from Ferrari to Skrillex, Smartcuts is a narrative adventure that busts old myths about success and shows how innovators and icons do the incredible by working smarter–and how perhaps the rest of us can, too. Find this book on Amazon.

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Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers Hardcover by Gabriel Weinberg

Most startups end in failure. Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is traction — real customer growth. This book introduces startup founders and employees to the “Bullseye Framework,” a five-step process successful companies use to get traction. This framework helps founders find the marketing channel that will be key to unlocking the next stage of growth.

Traction is a guide to getting customers, written for startup founders, marketers, and those interested in how today’s startups grow and get traction. This book shows you how the founders of several of the biggest companies and organizations in the world like Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), Paul English (Kayak.com) and Alex Pachikov (Evernote) have built and grown their startups. We interviewed over forty successful founders and researched countless more growth stories to pull out the repeatable tactics and strategies they used to get traction. Too often, startups spend months (or years) building a product only to struggle with traction once they launch. This struggle has startups trying random tactics – some ads, a blog post or two – in an unstructured way that leads to failure. Get this book on Amazon.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Hardcover by Nir Eyal

Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us? Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) by explaining the Hook Model—a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

Hooked is based on Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience. He wrote the book he wished had been available to him as a start-up founder—not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior. Get this book on Amazon.

100 Days of Growth: Proven Ways to Grow your Business Fast by Sujan Patel and Rob Wormley

You could spend a lifetime trying to sift through and digest all the blog posts, podcasts, guides, and case studies that exist online about growth hacking—or you could start taking action today. These 100 growth tactics were compiled based on strategies and techniques that Sujan Patel and Rob Wormley have used to help hundreds of clients move the needle and actually grow their businesses. Find it here.

100 days of growth

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz 

Marc Andreesen once said that “markets that don’t exist don’t care how smart you are.” Whether you’re a startup founder trying to disrupt an industry, or an intrapreneur trying to provoke change from within, your biggest risk is building something nobody wants.

Lean Analytics can help. By measuring and analyzing as you grow, you can validate whether a problem is real, find the right customers, and decide what to build, how to monetize it, and how to spread the word. Focusing on the One Metric That Matters to your business right now gives you the focus you need to move ahead–and the discipline to know when to change course.

Written by Alistair Croll (Coradiant, CloudOps, Startupfest) and Ben Yoskovitz (Year One Labs, GoInstant), the book lays out practical, proven steps to take your startup from initial idea to product/market fit and beyond. Packed with over 30 case studies, and based on a year of interviews with over a hundred founders and investors, the book is an invaluable, practical guide for Lean Startup practitioners everywhere. Find it on Amazon.

lean analytics

SEO Like I’m 5: Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization by Matthew Capala

I know, I know, I should not be self-promotional pitching my own book! But I really feel like it belongs here, especially if you are just starting out as an entrepreneur. 2nd Edition now available!

Make no mistake; this is no ‘SEO for dummies.’ Rather, SEO Like I’m 5 is the ultimate beginner’s training system for forward-thinking businesses and entrepreneurs that will get you found on Google, social media, and blogs. You will also learn how to attract followers and leads like a magnet by building a vibrant community around your content, which both users and search engines will love, and leveraging untapped, high-growth platforms and social networks. Lastly, you will learn how to make money online and monetize your content like a pro.

When it comes to SEO, you can spend all your time studying the roots, or you can just learn to pick the fruit. With the 2nd, 2015-updated edition of “SEO Like I’m 5,” our approach lets you focus on picking up the fruit, not studying the tree.  In addition to taking you through the strategic process of building and optimizing your online presence, “SEO Like I’m 5” features dozens of free tools, ‘under-the-hood’ hacks, case studies, real-world examples, and actionable tips. Find it on Amazon.

2nd Edition SEO Like 5 Cover_Kindle

What’s your favorite growth hacking book?

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Matthew Capala is an Internet entrepreneur, international speaker, and author. He is the founder of Alphametic, growth hacker at SearchDecoder, life hacker at SumoHacks, Adj. Professor at NYU, and Author of four books, including "SEO Like I'm 5" and, recently, "Facebook Marketing Like I'm 5.
4 replies
  1. Ryan Biddulph
    Ryan Biddulph says:

    SEO Like I’m 5 is the fave from my take Matt because I dug the simple, easy to read style you created and love the practical tips too. Some growth hacking books mean well but stumble around with wordiness and terms that’re a bit too cutesy I like clear, plain and simple, not niche specific jargon that’s awkward or a bit too showy. You nailed it with a simple yet powerful read that’ll get readers on the straight and narrow, SEO wise and business wise, because when you target intelligently online you’ll attract business-growing visitors, the folks who’ll spread your word in a major league, kick butt way. It really comes down to a few simple, detailed things one does daily to make the biggest impact long term and you did a fab job with your smart read on Amazon.

    Well done Matt!

    Ryan

    Reply
    • Matthew Capala
      Matthew Capala says:

      Thanks Ryan, I have been reading your stuff on BloggingFromPradise.com and you’ve turned into an SEO machine, I am glad my SEO book and online course were useful., congrats on all your new ebooks and articles, how is your stay in India?

      PS: Dude sooo excited about Soloprenuer Ronin project, emailing you the manuscript by tomorrow! 🙂

      Matt

      Reply
  2. christine
    christine says:

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    Reply

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