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Here are four books you should consider reading this festive season [Book reviews]

By now most of us are winding down business as we prepare for the festive break. For most this is a great time to catch up on some reading.

Wondering what to bury your head in over the next couple of days? Here are a few books that were published this year that we’ve covered that we think should be on your list.

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‘So You Want to Build a Startup’ by Matthew Buckland

Shortly after he found out he had oesophageal cancer, Burn Media founder Matthew Buckland (or Matt, as he was affectionately known) — who later passed away in April — started writing So You Want to Build a Startup?

The book is a frank account of the difficulties – and the fun – of building a business. It is filled with practical advice for entrepreneurs on how to open the door to opportunity, life lessons, and insights into South Africa’s own dotcom boom and bust.

Expect tales of crazy business expansion, wacky characters, management failures and personal growth, as well as a complete ecosystem overview for South African startups (see Ventureburn’s review of the book here and read an extract here. Also, see this obituary).

‘Sweat, Scale, $ell: Build your business into an asset of value’ by Pavlo Phitidis 

Sweat, Scale, $ell: Build your business into an asset of value is serial entrepreneur and Aurik Business Accelerator CEO and co-founder Pavlo Phitidis’s first book.

In it, Phitidis — who’s worked with over 1500 businesses across four continents — explains why so many business owners find themselves with a business that no one wants to buy, simply because they have failed to build a sellable business.

Using examples of business owners he’s come across (under fictional names) he explores the key challenges business owners face when trying to build an asset they can sell (see Ventureburn’s review of the book here).

‘Pitch To Win’ by Justin Cohen

For professional speaker, television host and author Justin Cohen, it’s not enough to have the best product, you’ve got to have the best pitch (see this Ventureburn Q&A).

In his latest book Pitch To Win, Cohen details a six-step formula which he used to train companies like Kenyan fintech Mode — which he helped win the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year award — as well as other companies he has worked with over the years.

The book will help you understand: the mindsets of people who win the most pitches, why winning pitches get chosen over their competition, how to reduce nervousness and develop a “big pitch temperament” and how to win without being salesy, among other topics.

Ventureburn is giving away three copies of this book to three lucky readers in South Africa (see this story for details on how to enter the competition).

‘Chasing Black Unicorns’ by Marek Zmyslowski

Chasing Black Unicorns is an autobiography by Polish serial entrepreneur Marek Zmyslowski who was the co-founder of Jovago, Jumia Travel and

In 2014, he was chosen as one of the Ten Most Important People in Tech by IT News Africa Magazine. He is also a lead mentor at Google’s Launchpad and World Bank’s XL Africa Programme. His first startup was a dating site (see this story).

In his book, Zmyslowski details his early days as an entrepreneur in Poland as well as his experience as founding a startup in Nigeria which apparently made him powerful enemies in the country in a saga that saw him get ousted from a company he built and among other things Interpol issuing an extradition request against him.

Check out a review of the book by Ventureburn here.

Read more: Tafelberg publishers launch late Matthew Buckland’s book
Read more: You think it’s never going to happen to you, but it’s happening to me – Matthew Buckland [Book extract]
Read more: Matthew Buckland shares all in brutally honest memoir [Review]
Read more: Marek Zmyslowski releases tell-all book after Interpol drops Nigerian extradition request
Read more: Why only 5.4% of owners are able to sell their business and what to do about it [Book]
Read more: Is this the six-step formula that can help your startup deliver the winning pitch? [Book]
Read more: Polish businessman’s tales of fear and loathing in Nigeria [Book review]

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