Micael Widell

How much to read as an entrepreneur

I often think about how I have changed as a person from going through the adventure of quitting my job, starting a company, and then growing it to 50 employees. One of the most profound and unexpected things that have changed in me is my attitude towards knowledge and reading.

Before starting Fyndiq, I was a very knowledge oriented person. I read lots of books, I hung out on Hacker News every day, I read articles about how to do this and that when starting a startup. I thought all this reading was important to succeed as an entrepreneur, and also I was extremely fascinated by the startup world. I still read from time to time, but the greatest change in me is the realization that book based knowledge is not that important for starting or growing a company.

The knowledge you need to have for your startup to succeed is in general not written in books or articles. The knowledge you need will be so specific to your particular company, with your particular employees, in your particular industry, in this particular time, with your particular product, with your particular goal and vision – that you need to generate that knowledge yourself by trying stuff out and iterating.

I don't regret reading all these books and Paul Graham essays etc. They were useful because they are inspiring and because they contain important reference points. I think it might be good to start your entrepreneurial journey by reading a lot, to get a grip on what general mindset and attitude you need to have to succeed as an entrepreneur. Also, having read a lot of other startup stories, you gather reference points of milestones that they have reached that you will also reach. These milestones will be important for reassuring you that you are on the right track. It is an awesome feeling every time you experience something that you remember some role model founder of yours has written about as an important milestone!

So nowadays I don't read books and articles about entrepreneurship because I think I need the knowledge to succeed, but merely for inspiration or because I sometimes feel curious about some company or person.

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