Picture of By Ward van Gasteren

By Ward van Gasteren

One of the first growth hackers in Europe, Author of 'Growing Happy Clients', and freelance Growth Consultant to companies like TikTok, Strategyzer, Pepsi, Cisco, Unilever and more.

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23 Awesome Growth Hacking Books for Growth Hackers & Startup Founders

Best Growth Hacking Books
Picture of By Ward van Gasteren

By Ward van Gasteren

Author of 'Growing Happy Clients' and freelance Growth Consultant to companies like TikTok, Pepsi, Unilever and more.

Growth Hacking is a complex field and there are a lot of growth hacking books on the market, since you need a lot of knowledge to be successful in this field. (I’ve made a list here of all skills for growth hackers if you want to check them off.)

Anyway, any growth marketer calls growth hacking more of a mindset than a skillset. Nice to say, but how do you develop such a mindset?

With books!

Good books can help you better understand what growth marketing is and what the fundamental processes are that underlie growth hacking.

To help you on your way, I have made a list of the best growth hacking books and growth hacking e-books, based on the advice of several growth hacking communities:

💡- (Tip: Use the hyperlinks in the list below to click directly to the right book)

23 Best Growth Hacking Books

  1. The Growth Handbook, Andrew Chen & Intercom-team – Must-read
  2. Growing Happy Clients, Daphne Tideman & Ward van Gasteren – Must-read
  3. Growth Engines, Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown
  4. Secret Sauce, Vin Clancy & Austen Allred
  5. Hacking Growth, Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown – Must-read
  6. BAMF Bible, Josh Fechter
  7. Growth Hacker Marketing, Ryan Holiday
  8. Traction, Gabriel Weinberg
  9. The Paper Plane Plan, Ross Davies
  10. Hooked, Nir Eyal
  11. 100 Days of Growth, Sujan Patel – Must-read
  12. Scaling Up, Verne Harnish
  13. Lean Analytics, Alistair Croll – Must-read
  14. Lean Marketing for Startups, Sean Ellis
  15. Zero to One, Peter Thiel & Blake Masters
  16. Hacking Independence, Fiverr-team
  17. Viral Loop, Adam L. Penenberg
  18. Contagious, Jonah Berger
  19. SaaS Growth Playbook, Nichole E. DeMeré & Trevor Hatfield
  20. Growth Marketing Handbook, Jon Yongfook
  21. Food for Growth, Sofia Quintero
  22. Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley’s Best Kept Secret, Raymond Fong & Chad Riddersen
  23. Don’t make me think, Steve Krug – Must-read

To help you find a book even faster, I’ve used a number of labels for the different books:

  • Beginner books: these are books for beginning growth hackers where it’s mainly about “What is Growth Hacking?“, examples and the underlying processes.
  • Strategical books: these are marketing books, where it is not is necessarily about growth marketing, but more often about related fields. These books are nevertheless recommended for growth hackers, because it helps you to develop your growth mindset and a broader view of growth.
  • Practical books: these are books that mainly discuss growth hacks, case studies and growth hacking strategies, including step-by-step examples.
  • Free E-books: these are e-books that can only be obtained online and are free in exchange for an email address.

1. The Growth Handbook

The Growth Handbook - bookcover
The Growth Handbook

Authors: Andrew Chen & Intercom-team

About The Growth Handbook: The Growth Handbook is a collection of stories and valuable lessons from Growth Marketing experts, who have grown businesses from nothing to many billions in revenue, including Intercom, Intuit, Slack, Duolingo, Atlassian, Pinterest and more.

In addition, I have to give my compliments about the fantastic beautiful design of the book! 🙈

About the author: This book was initiated by Intercom, a chat software, and I can’t guess exactly why they did it, except as a lead magnet for collecting email addresses from growth hackers or as a marketing tool. But hey… I don’t mind, because it’s still great value!

Andrew Chen

We all know Andrew Chen in the growth hacking scene. He works for a large investment company and is one of the first thought leaders within growth hacking with his article “Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing” from 2012.

Download ebook for free | Intercom-website | Andrew Chen

2. Growing Happy Clients

Growth Hacking Book - Growing Happy Clients for Growth Hacking Consultants
Growing Happy Clients

Authors: Daphne Tideman & Ward van Gasteren

About the book Growing Happy Clients: Dit is het perfecte boek voor freelance growth marketeers of growth hacking consultants die bij een growth hacking agency werken. Het is pas in 2020 uitgekomen en bespreekt alle onderwerpen die je kunt tegenkomen bij het laten groeien van een klantbedrijf: van de kick-off tot de ups en downs, en de uiteindelijke projectreflectie.

The book discusses a lot of models that you could use during a project (like North Star Metric, Client Colour Cheatsheet and Awful-Barrier-Craving model), but also talks about personal development topics for consultants, like Imposter Syndrome, and how to keep developing yourself.

Daphne Tideman

About the authors: This book is written by Daphne Tideman and Ward van Gasteren, two growth consultants with 10+ years of combined experience in working with the fastest growing scale-ups and the biggest Fortune 500 corporates.

Daphne Tideman was employee #1 at leading growth hacking agency RockBoost and grew the agency to 25 employees. She’s now moved on to become Head of Growth at fast-growing startup Heights.

Growth Hacking Author Ward van Gasteren
Ward van Gasteren

Ward van Gasteren is one of the first certified growth hackers in Europe, has one of the biggest growth hacking blogs in the industry (Grow with Ward), and has consulted 70+ companies as a freelance consultant, among which TikTok, Pepsi, Cisco, and others.

Amazon | Website | Daphne Tideman | Ward van Gasteren

3. Growth Engines

Growth Engines - bookcover
Growth Engines

Authors: Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown

About the book Growth Engines: This growth hacking book is a collection of growth hacking cases from Uber, Snapchat, Yelp, GitHub, Hubspot, Evernote, LinkedIn and Whatsapp, among others. The writers put a lot of effort into interviews and an extensive timeline per company.

I have to say that this book is actually just a paper version of their online Growth Studies, which is just open and free on GrowthHackers.com.

Sean Ellis, author of Hacking Growth
Sean Ellis

About the authors: Sean Ellis is the creator of the term “growth hacking” and the entire field in 2011 and it is therefore not so surprising that he appears no less than 3 times in this book list.

Morgan Brown is the co-author of almost all Sean Ellis books. Morgan Brown also works as a Product Manager at Facebook and you will often find him as a guest at podcasts and online discussions on Twitter.

Many of us probably already know “Hacking Growth“, but few people know that Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown have already written more books together, like this one.

Amazon | Website | Sean Ellis | Morgan Brown

4. The Secret Sauce

Secret Sauce - bookcover
The Secret Sauce

Authors: Vin Clancy & Austen Allred

About the book The Secret Sauce: This growth hacking book was launched on Kickstarter and has raised over €100,000 in pre-sales (source). Vin Clancy and Austen Allred describe step by step how they approach certain marketing channels as a growth hacker, from PR to App Store Optimization. Please note: Vin Clancy has not fallen on his mouth … 🙊

Unfortunately, it is a book from 2017 and therefore some tips are slightly outdated (like Facebook being booming). So focus on the underlying idea behind the growth hacks, because the growth hacks on their own will not all work one-on-one anymore.

Vin Clancy, author of The Secret Sauce

About the Author: The very eccentric growth hacker Vin Clancy (real name: Vincent Dignan) was previously in social assistance, but has gone all-in on Growth Hacking and now symbolizes the typical image people have of a growth hacker.

Austen Allred has worked as a search marketer at Lycos, AltaVista and eBay and currently works as a Senior Growth Manager at a FinTech startup in San Francisco. Austen also has some fantastic growth hacking blogs written on Medium and secretly these are a few literal chapters from the book The Secret Sauce.

Amazon | Website | Vin Clancy | Austen Allred

5. Hacking Growth

Hacking Growth - bookcover
Hacking Growth

Authors: Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown

About the book Hacking Growth: Hacking Growth is the perfect book to get acquainted with Growth Hacking. The writers explain how the field originated, give a lot of examples of growth experiments at different companies and describe in a few general steps how the growth hacking process works.

About the Authors: Sean Ellis is the creator of the term “growth hacking” and the entire field in 2011 and founder of the growthhackers.com platform. Striking in this book is that he is introducing the term “North Star Metric” for the first time, around which he would later start a software company, called NorthStar.

Morgan Brown is the co-author of almost all Sean Ellis books. Morgan Brown also works as a Product Manager at Facebook and you will often find him as a guest at podcasts and online discussions on Twitter.

Amazon | Website | Sean Ellis | Morgan Brown

6. BAMF Bible

BAMF Bible - bookcover
BAMF Bible

Author: Josh Fechter

About the book BAMF Bible: This growth hacker book describes step-by-step some well-known growth hacks by Josh Fechter. He is a well-known growth hacking influencer and is a big fan of marketing automation as a growth hacking skill and. those are exactly the kind of growth hacks that he describes in this book. In total there are 30+ growth marketing cases in it.

About the Author: Josh Fechter is a very famous name among growth hackers. He is. He once started answering Quora questions and was promoted to the best Quora contributor of 2017. Later he started sharing his best answers and wisdom on LinkedIn, and he did so in a viral way that LinkedIn, partly because of this in 2018 had to adjust his algorithm. In addition, Josh Fechter is the founder of the growth hacking agency BAMF.media (Badass Marketers & Founders), which is named after his well-known Facebook group. After the BAMF bible, Josh has written 2 ebooks: one book about copywriting and a book about Sales Automation.

Download here for free | Author

7. Growth Hacker Marketing

Growth Hacker Marketing - bookcover
Growth Hacker Marketing

Author: Ryan Holiday

About the book Growth Hacker Marketing: Although Sean Ellis first coined the term, Ryan Holiday was the first to share the phenomenon in the form of a book about growth marketing. In this book, Ryan explains with stories how well-known startups have grown and what insights you can take with them to your own company, if you need to grow your startup without a marketing budget.

And although this book was already written in 2014, the growth hacker mindset that Ryan Holiday describes, is still as relevant today.

He’s also made an online course from his book, which I’ve also reviewed in my list of best online growth marketing courses.

Ryan Holiday, schrijver van Growth Hacker Marketing
Ryan Holiday

About the author: Ryan Holiday is a media columnist for a variety of online magazines, such as Forbes, The Huffington Post and New York Observer, and former marketing director of American Apparel.

Amazon | Website course | Author

8. Traction

Traction - bookcover

Author: Gabriel Weinberg

About the book Traction: In this book, Gabriel Weinberg describes how you can get “Traction“, in other words, rapid customer growth. His research showed that traction always originated via one of 19 ‘Traction Channels’.

The author also clearly describes in his book how you as an entrepreneur can find your acquisition channels and he actually describes what we, growth hackers, know as the growth hacking cycle; ideate-prioritize-execute-analyze.

If you are interested to read more about the insights of this book, but not to buy the book, then you are lucky: the writer has made a list of 78 insights from the book Traction.

This book is a much-referenced book among growth hackers, due to the 19 acquisition channels. (See image below)

19 Growth Hacking Book Traction Channels
The 19 Acquisition channels described in the growth marketing book ‘Traction’

About the author: Gabriel Weinberg is a serial entrepreneur and currently active as CEO of DuckDuckGo, a private alternative to Google. He has also recently released a new book called Super Thinking.

Amazon | Author website | Twitter

9. The Paper Plane Plan

The Paper Plane Plan - bookcover
The Paper Plane Plan

Author: Ross Davies

About the book The Paper Plane Plan: This is a lesser-known book, but nevertheless the perfect book for B2B growth hackers. The author, Ross Davies, describes a complete step-by-step plan for how you can apply growth hacking as a B2B service provider, such as marketing agencies and recruiters. with his own online marketing agency as an example.

About the Author: Ross Davies is an entrepreneur with his own marketing agency. In this book he explains how he grew with his online marketing agency and that it is the same as with a paper airplane; a matter of trial and error. He explains how you as a marketing agency can attract more leads, close more customers and increase your revenue per customer by applying growth hacking.

Link to Amazon

10. Hooked

Hooked - bookcover

Author: Nir Eyal

About the book Hooked: This book is all about retention in growth hacking. Nir Eyal describes the techniques that large apps and software companies use to make users addicted to their product. He also shows the Hooked model (see visual) on how you can make a customer come back via triggers and rewards.

Hooked-model for growth hacking retention

Over de auteur: Nir Eyal is een investeerder, tech startup founder en professor aan Stanford. Hij is compleet geobsedeerd door psychologie en design, en heeft onlangs ook een nieuw boek daarover geschreven, genaamd Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

About the author: Nir Eyal is an investor, tech startup founder and professor at Stanford. He says he’s completely obsessed with psychology and design, and has recently written a new book about it, called Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

Amazon | Website | Author

11. 100 Days of Growth

100 days of Growth Hacking book cover
100 Days of Growth

Author: Sujan Patel

About the book 100 Days of Growth: This book is a collection of growth hacking tactics. Sujan believes that you should not sit still too long and therefore better get started and apply a new growth hack every day, instead of reading a growth hacking blog every day. Hundred practical examples!

Sujan Patel, author of 100 days of growth hacking
Sujan Patel

About the Author: Sujan Patel is certainly no stranger in the startup world or in the growth hacking scene. He is the founder of several software companies: Mailshake, When I Work, Quuu and Narrow. He is also co-owner of two online marketing agencies (Single Grain and Web Profits) and is a regular blogger for Forbes, Inc. and Entrepreneur.com.

Download the book for free | Website | Author

12. Scaling Up

Scaling Up - bookcover
Scaling Up

Author: Verne Harnish

About the book Scaling Up: The book Scaling Up is written for growing startups who want to take the next step to become dominating scale-ups in their market. The book is a more strategic book and is primarily aimed at entrepreneurs and start-up founders.

The book is about the four core components of each company: People, Strategy, Execution and Cash. The writer hereby provides useful templates and models for each of those steps.

About the Author: Verne Harnish is a bestseller author. He has written several books and is a regular writer for Fortune Magazine. He is also the founder of the largest entrepreneurial network in the world; Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Amazon | Website | Auteur

13. Lean Analytics

Lean Analytics - bookcover
Lean Analytics

Author: Alistair Croll

About the book Lean Analytics: The Lean Startup movement has had a huge impact in the startup world, in terms of how one starts a startup. Lean Analytics helps you to understand which data you should pay attention to. The book is not about the use of growth hacking tools or analysis tools such as Google Analytics etc., but more about what to do with the data you have.

The book starts with a more general view of data-driven work and then discusses a specific business model per chapter. That saves a lot of reading because you can therefore skip a lot of chapters.

Interesting fact for Growth Hackers: this is the book where the One Metric That Matters (OMTM) is mentioned for the first time.

About the author: Alistair Croll is a well-known author of multiple books and is currently working hard at the intersection of big data and society.

Watch a video of Alistair here as he explains more about this book specifically for growth hackers during a Growth Tribe meetup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za0xqmDGcP4

Amazon | Website | Author

14. Lean Marketing for Startups

Lean Growth Marketing book cover
Lean Startup Marketing

Author: Sean Ellis

About the book Lean Marketing for Startups: In this book, Sean Ellis tries to explain Growth Hacking for the first time before growth hacking was actually a thing. He explains how you as a startup can use your marketing budgets as wisely as possible (spoiler: experiment!) and what dangers are involved when you start as a startup recklessly. This book is, therefore, a really fundamental book, where you zoom out a little further on what the purpose of growth hacking is.

About the Author: Another book by Sean Ellis … I’m not going to tell you more about Sean Ellis here, because this is the third time he has appeared in this list of growth hacking books. Nevertheless, this book is interesting because it is one of the first books by Sean, and therefore explains growth hacking in a context before growth hacking was a thing.

Amazon | Author

15. Zero to One

Zero To One - bookcover
Zero To One

Authors: Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

About the book Zero to One: This book describes how you can create a new market from scratch (from 0 to 1), instead of the safe path of improving something in an already existing market. This book is described by many innovation gurus and startup entrepreneurs as the “Bible for Startups,” because of the impact it has had since coming.

About the author: Peter Thiel is an American investor (one of the first investors in Facebook) and founder of PayPal and Palantir. Nowadays he also teaches about start-ups and innovation at Stanford. The other author, Blake Masters, is the COO of Thiel’s investment company.

Amazon | Website | Author

16. Hacking Independence

Growth Hacking Independence - bookcover
Hacking Independence

Author: Fiverr-team

About the book Hacking Independence: This book was commissioned by Fiverr as marketing material. It is a collection of growth hacking tips for freelancers. Not very much depth, but for starting freelancers, this can certainly be a good source of inspiration for new marketing tactics.

About the author: So this book is written in a collaboration between about.me and Fiverr. About.me gives freelancers the opportunity to create an easy website for themselves and Fiverr is the largest platform in the world for offering and taking freelance assignments.

Read the book here as PDF | Website

17. Viral Loop

Viral Loop - growth hacking bookcover
Viral Loop

Author: Adam L. Penenberg

About the book Viral Loop: In this book, Adam Penenberg describes how some companies go viral and others don’t. This book is perfect for Growth Hackers who want to improve their Referral marketing knowledge. The writer describes precise techniques and introduces the ‘Viral Coefficient’, a formula for calculating virality. In addition, this book is also packed with examples of PayPal, Hotmail, eBay and Facebook, among others.

About the Author: Adam L. Pennenberg is a professor at New York University and at the same time works as a journalist for the New York Times, Fast Company and Wired.

Amazon | Website | Author

18. Contagious

Contagious bookcover

Author: Jonah Berger

About the book Contagious: Word-of-mouth advertising is 10x more effective than traditional marketing, but why doesn’t every product go so smoothly from mouth to mouth. In this book, the writer describes why some products do sell and others don’t and which six factors play a role in word of mouth.

About the Author: Dr. Jonah Berger is a professor at Wharton University and at the same time works as a consultant for several Fortune 500 companies on the subject of ‘Social Influence’.

Amazon | Website | Author

19. SaaS Growth Playbook

SaaS Growth Playbook - Growth Hacking book cover
SaaS Growth Playbook

Authors: Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, Trevor Hatfield

About the SaaS Growth Playbook: Unfortunately, this book is not yet out, but is a book in the making. The writers promise that this book will explain step-by-step how to grow as a SaaS company. You can sign-up for Early Access through the site.

About the authors: Nichole E. DeMeré is responsible for Community Growth at Zest.is (<– Highly recommended if you want to read new, top-quality articles about growth hacking every day!) and a moderator for ProductHunt and GrowthHackers.com.

The other writer, Trevor Hatfield, is the founder of Inturact, a SaaS Marketing Agency, and works as a SaaS Growth Consultant.

Book website | Nichole DeMeré | Trevor Hatfield

20. Growth Marketing Handbook

Growth Marketing Handbook - bookcover
Growth Marketing Book

Author: Jon Yongfook

About the book Growth Marketing Handbook: This is an ebook and a typical recommendation for growth hackers who want to be inspired by new tactics. The book raised $12,000 in crowdfunding before it appeared in 2014 and with over 100 growth hacking tactics it seems to be worth it.

About the Author: Jon Yongfook has founded and sold two software companies, and is active as a mentor at Singapore Management University and True Incube Thailand.

Website | Author

21. Food for Growth

Food for Growth Hacking book cover
Food for Growth

Author: Geckoboard & Mention

About the book Food for Growth: Geckoboard & Mention have taken the extra step and interviewed 159 growth marketers about their favourite growth marketing tactics and bundled this as a free ebook.

Grab a drink (and some food 😉) before you start this growth hacker book.

Website | Author

22. Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley’s Best Kept Secret

Growth Hacking book cover: Silicon Valley's Best Kept Secret
Growth Hacking

Authors: Raymond Fong & Chad Riddersen

About the book Growth Hacking: This book is one of the very first books about growth hacking and the fascinating thing is that growth consultants Raymond Fong and Chad Riddersen do not think in a growth hacking funnel, but in a growth hacking machine; the ASP framework. With this, they want to indicate that the steps of the Pirate Funnel are not separate from each other, but that they reinforce each other.

Automated Sales Process-framework (ASP)

About the authors: The authors of this book are the co-founders of the growth hacking agency Deviate Labs, with which they help SMEs and startups in Silicon Valley to grow further.

Amazon | Website | Author

23. Don’t make me think

Don't Make Me Think - bookcover
Don’t Make Me Think

Author: Steve Krug

About the book Don’t Make Me Think: Every web designer, growth marketer and UI designer should know this book. Steve Krug describes extensively in this book how you should design your website intuitively. If a website visitor only needs to think about his next step for 1 second, then as a website builder you have done something wrong. This book is a real must-read for every growth hacker who wants to improve his UI skills.

About the Author: Steve Krug is a usability expert. He works as a consultant through his own agency Advanced Common Sense and also provides training and workshops.

Amazon | Website | Author

Are you still missing a growth marketing book?

That’s it already!

Feel free to add more books, by sending a message to me at ward@growwithward.com. I am very curious about additional books 😉

Enjoy your reading!

P.s. if you want to deepen and read more about growth hacking, check out my full growth marketing blog.

FAQs about Growth Hacking Books

Best Growth Hacking books for beginners

Hacking Growth” (Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown), “Growth Hacker Marketing” (Ryan Holiday) and “Lean Marketing for Startups” (also Sean Ellis) are the 3 best growth marketing books to better understand what Growth Hacking entails.
In addition, “Growth Hacking: How to Become a Growth Hacker” (Joe & Jose Casanova) is the best book to boost your young career.

Best Growth Hacking books for the advanced

The Growth Handbook” (Andrew Chen & the Intercom team), “Zero to One” (Peter Thiel & Blake Masters), “Hooked” (Nir Eyal) and “Traction” (Gabriel Weinberg) are the best growth hacking books to further develop you in the strategic area of Growth Hacking.

Best Free Ebooks for Growth Hackers

These are the most interesting free ebooks about growth hacking: “100 Days of Growth” (Sujan Patel), “BAMF Bible” (Josh Fechter) and “The Growth Handbook” (Andrew Chen & the Intercom team). I have all the links here together.

Best Books for Growth Hacking Inspiration

The Secret Sauce” (Vin Clancy), “100 Days of Growth” (Sujan Patel) and “BAMF Bible” (Josh Fechter) are packed with growth hacking examples and are written by some really big growth hacking experts.

NEW: My first book
Picture of By Ward van Gasteren

By Ward van Gasteren

Ward van Gasteren is one of the first growth hackers in Europe, author of 'Growing Happy Clients', and freelance Growth Consultant to the fastest-growing startups (TikTok, StartupBootcamp, Catawiki) and biggest Fortune 500 enterprises (Pepsi, Cisco, Unilever)

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