I took away the point that the amount of funding needed to start a business is variable, and so are the needs of the founders. Founders shouldn't deal with more or less than they are comfortable with. Personally, I lean more in the direction you do, wanting a business to be cash flow positive before I took any outside capital. But that would be extremely difficult in many situations, and limiting yourself to having a product that is very small profitable now may limit your ability to build a product that is hugely profitable in the future. My thinking is that a founder needs to take time and evaluate carefully whether they should seek investment or bootstrap.
My favorite business book, I think, is "Growing a Business" by Paul Hawken. Pretty down to earth and he says a lot of things you'll see by people like 37 signals, except he said them back in the 80ies: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0671671642?tag=dedasys-20
You might also think the title sounds "treehuggerish", I found the book not to be like that at all but very inspiring and useful.
With non-technical books (literature, history, quality-of-life), most of the time will be invested into actual reading, with a bit of pondering and maybe discussing. We can have a conversation right away, and there's still knowledge and insight to be gained.
Here are some non-technical books I'd like to read:
* How to Read a Book - http://amazon.com/dp/0671212095
* Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - http://amazon.com/dp/006124189X
* Liar's Poker - http://amazon.com/dp/0140143459
* Growing a Business - http://amazon.com/dp/0671671642
For those of you arguing for or against, read Joel's Strategy Letter I: Ben and Jerry's vs. Amazon: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000056.html
I am with the 37signals guys on this one. DHH's startup school presentation was refreshing.
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