Rock Health’s Summer Reading List: 25 Books For Healthcare Entrepreneurs

By Annie Case





Bored of beach reads? Startup stuck in a rut? Rock Health is here to help. We’ve compiled a list of must-read books for healthcare entrepreneurs, based on recommendations from our team members, mentors, and friends. Whether you need inspiration, food for thought, or technical advice, we have a book for you. These 25 reads will help inspire, inform, and empower you. Happy reading!

The Creative Destruction of Medicine by Eric Topol
Read this book for: an in-depth portrait of how medicine will be “Schumpetered”
“A must-read for anyone working in digital health” -Halle Tecco

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
Read this book for: inspiration
Recommended By: Halle Tecco

The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care by Clayton M. Christensen
Read this book for: an economist’s cure for the broken healthcare system
“Many ideas digital health entrepreneurs are contemplating can be characterized as “disruptive innovations,” a term that has a specific meaning which was originally articulated by Clay Christensen. In this book, he applies this thinking to the concept of healthcare, and while you might not agree with all of his conclusions, it’s hard not to come away with a greater appreciation for both the complexities of health and the urgent need for innovative, disruptive solutions.” -David Shaywitz

Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson
Read this book for: a roadmap for navigating through the venture capital arena
“Simply the best, most consumable book on raising money, understanding terminology, and covers all the aspects of “the dollars” from term sheets to M&A” -Geoff Clapp


A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
Read this book for: its exploration of how creativity will change the way we view the world and ourselves.

Recommended By: Halle Tecco

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein
Read this book for: a better understanding of behavioral economics
Recommended By: Halle Tecco

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
Read this book for: personal accounts of success, failure, everything in between
“”It tells the story of an amazing entreprenuer who figured out what made him tick, and what he wanted to make his company tick, and made that vision happen through a total dedication to a direction and plan.” -Geoff Clapp

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Read this book for: an easy-to-read history of innovation
Recommended By: Halle Tecco

The Woman in the Surgeons Body by Joan Cassell
Read this book for: an ethnography of the operating room
“Not all doctors are the same. This book will give you a sociological perspective and insights into how differences between physicians affect decision-making and patient care.  Great for getting a sense of what it means to actually know your user.” -Amy Puliafito

Understanding Healthcare by Richard Saul Wurman
Read this book for: a visual encyclopedia of healthcare concepts
Recommended By: Halle Tecco

Burning Entrepreneur by Brad Feld
Read this book for: tips on how to be a successful entrepreneur, written by a successful entrepreneur
“Captures passion and challenges faced by entrepreneurs in an inspirational, personal, and compassionate fashion” -David Shaywitz

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Read this book for: a biography of cancer from all different perspectives
“Mukherjee’s book is a tour de force on cancer. It is the best book about cancer ever written.” -Eric Topol

Do More Faster by Brad Feld & David Cohen
Read this book for: lessons to accelerate your startup
“Great book for first time entrepreneurs. It’s like chicken soup for first time startup founders.” -Ryan Panchadsaram

The Decision Tree by Thomas Goetz
Read this book for: a thoughtful report on the impact of personalized medicine
“Exceptionally well done book that gets into consumerism and how to make the right choices for health” -Eric Topol

Crossing the Quality Chasm by The Committee on Quality of Health Care in America and the Institute of Medicine
Read this book for: a rigorous analysis outlining the need for healthcare reform
“Although it’s already 10 years old, this was, and remains, the blueprint for the thinking that laid the groundwork for heatlh reform. From aligning incentives, performance expectations, quality metrics, and even technology, this visionary work was the beginning of the movement to really change healthcare, from top to bottom.” -Geoff Clapp

The No Asshole Rule by Robert I. Sutton
Read this book for: insights into culture-building
“If you are starting a business, you are building a culture. This book will make you deeply consider your ethics, workstyle, and even how you communicate” -Geoff Clapp

The House of God by Samuel Shem
Read this book for: the Catch-22 of medicine
“The realities of a physician’s life are imperfectly appreciated by those outside of medicine; House of God–for decades, mandatory reading for med students–provides an engaging, only slightly exaggerated view of life in a busy teaching hospital, and the challenges faced both by patients and staff in navigating the experience with body and soul intact” -David Shaywitz

The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Blank
Read this book for: new skills to organize sales, marketing, and your business as a whole
“Solid book on business model validation. It reads like a textbook, because it is one used at Stanford.” -Ryan Panchadsaram

I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works by Nick Bilton
Read this book for: an account of how a radically changed media world is influencing human behavior
“A fun, inspiring perspective on the emerging digital era” -Eric Topol

Getting to Plan B by Randy Kosimar & John Mullins
Read this book for: what to do when things aren’t going according to plan
“A remarkably down-to-earth guide to the art of the pivot” -David Shaywitz

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid
Read this book for: examples of accessible and affordable healthcare systems from all over the world

Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
Read this book for: interviews with founders of famous technology companies about the early days

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
Read this book for: a how-to for launching a business project of any kind

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
Read this book for: key insights into how doctors make decisions

How Remarkable Women Lead by Joanna Barsh & Susie Cranston
Read this book for: an optimistic conceptualization of what drives and sustains successful women leaders

Inside the FDA by Fran Hawthorne
Read this book for: an understanding of the inner-workings of one of the most important institutions affecting healthcare

Did we leave out one of your favorites? Comment below to let us know!