A lamp shining on an open book and revealing the writing '8 Must-Read Books for Fintech Founders'

8 Must-Read Books for Fintech Founders

Fintech books? Are they really a thing?

Modern financial technology is inextricably linked with the Digital Era. Mobile payment, personal finance management, and cryptocurrency trading are major application fields of fintech startups.

Thus it’s only fitting that the fintech community relies on the internet for exchanging views on the topic, too. There are fintech news platforms like Finextra or Financial News. Networking communities like Holland Fintech and meetups like Finfinity invite people to share their insights. Blogs centered around experts like Chris Skinner react on developments on short notice. It’s obvious: In-depth knowledge of financial technology is readily available and easily found online.

But then again: How much justice can those thousand words on a blog page complex topics like regulation and compliance, startup founding or growth strategies? And after a hard day of staring on cryptocurrency indexes and javascript, real paper can feel much easier on the eyes.

The good news is, that while there are not that many fintech books, there are some who are recommendable. And there are books, fintech entrepreneurs can benefit from reading, even though they are not directly related to the tech itself. So, here you find our reading list for fintech startups… and other startups, too.

1. Andrew S Grove — High Output Management

Vintage Books, 1995, 272 pages

Written by a former chairman and CEO of Intel, this management guide classic has it all: Valuable advice on teamwork, middle management problem-solving and analogies to everyone’s favorite meal — Grove doesn’t mind to have a whole factory for it. But beware of the eggs, they are the limiting step.

2. Ben Horowitz — The Hard Thing About Hard Things

HarperBusiness, 2014, 304 pages

Raising a startup from the bottom up, one cannot expect everything to fall in line effortlessly. Most of the time there are no easy answers. So Silicon Valley veteran Ben Horowitz rather concentrates on giving good answers instead: On how to deal with company politics, on how to lead with blurred vision and how to fire a friend — just to name some of the delicate circumstances this guide makes manageable.

3. Brett King — Breaking Banks

Wiley, 2014, 288 pages

Disruption is at the heart of every fintech startup, at least when compared to the monoliths that traditional financial institutions are. Brett King is prominent in the industry for addressing the topic as a conference speaker, but also in his radio show “BREAKING BANK$”. The book of the same name is a collection of learnings and interviews with movers and shakers from all over the industry, dealing with various topics like brand advocacy in banking, neo banks and the cryptocurrency/cash rivalry.

4. Eric Ries — The Lean Startup

Currency, 2017, 336 pages

Based on his popular blog “Startup Lessons Learned”, Eric Ries breaks down what a startup really is: An institution “creating a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty”. To make most of this unique character of startups, Ries recommends a framework of strategies not unlike scientific experimentation. Thus, a business can weed out what doesn’t work in favor of innovation, the most important asset a startup possesses.

5. Dr. Julian Hosp — Cryptocurrencies Simply Explained

Julian Hosp Coaching LTD, 2017, 154 pages

Well, the title says it all: A comprehensive roundup about everything cryptocurrency-related by Dr. Julian Hosp, TenX co-founder and Singaporean by choice (great choice by the way, Singapore is a true fintech forerunner). While not every aspect of cryptocurrencies is discussed in minute detail here, it’s simply one of the best introduction for non-techies. Everyone with a tech or software background should go with Andreas Antonopoulos free downloadable book “Mastering Bitcoin”.

6. Paolo Sironi — Fintech Innovation

Wiley, 2016, 180 pages

From robo-advisory to gamification: Paolo Sironi covers a lot of ground in his guide to fintech innovation — on no more than 171 pages. A good read to catch up on the exceedingly diverse field of financial technology. If you want to know what digital advisory can already do or why investors will be in control of the prices on future markets — it’s all in here.

7. Peter Thiel — Zero to One

Virgin Books, 2015, 224 pages

Zeros and ones: That’s the software developers’ homeground, so you can’t blame us for having added Peter Thiel’s startup book in this list. But it’s really more about the content, than the title. In his notes on startups, the Palantir remains firmly on the ground when it of the ups and downs of everyday business, while also convincing us of the importance of novelty in business. Or to talk in terms we software developers understand: Doing what we already know how to do takes the world only from 1 to n.

8. Simon Sinek — Start with Why

Portfolio, 2011, 256 pages

Among the Five W’s, this one is the awkward customer: Answering why you do something as opposed to what you do and how is what divides the successful businesses from the less successful one. That’s how Simon Sinek sees it at least and he has very good arguments for his claim, delving into the topics of business building, communication skills and strong leadership. We are convinced.


So much for our “Insightful Eight”. But now to you: Did we miss something? Which fintech books or entrepreneurship guides do you recommend? Drop us a comment. There’s still some space on our night tables left.

Matthias Gall

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