AgFunder's reading list for new VC analysts & associates

I heard that Vinod Khosla once said that “it takes seven years and $30m to make a venture capitalist.” As a new analyst or associate at a VC firm, VC can be hard to grasp and it typically takes 6-18 months to calibrate to the realities and constraints of the venture capital model.

To help new team investors joining AgFunder, I put together a reading list to help new investors calibrate to the realities and constraints of venture capital. These have been some of the most useful resources in the evolution of my own thinking. If there’s something you think I should include here, please shoot me a message.


Zero to One - Peter Theil, Founders Fund

Monopolies and venture backable ideas

The Lean Startup - Eric Ries

Agile model for building startups

VC: An American History - Tom Nicholas

History of VC in America (Putting it all in context)

The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports and Investing - Mike Mauboussin

Building Decision Process

Secrets of San Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It - Scott Kupor, a16z

Introduction to VC


The Babe Ruth Effect (2002) - Credit Suisse

Expected Value Theory in Investing

How To Be Successful (2019) - Sam Altman

CEO of Y-Combinator

Things We Learned About Series A Investing (2019) - Aaron Harris, Y-Combinator

Qualities of the best funds

Strong Opinions, Weakly Held — a framework for thinking(2017) - Ameet Ranadive - Instagram

A framework for making forecasts

Brand and AUM

Importance of Brand in generating great returns (2020) - Craig Thomas - Sapphire Ventures

Three Core Principles of Venture Capital Portfolio Strategy - Alex Graham

Moneyball for Venture Capital 

70% of Value in Tech is Driven by Network Effects (2017) - James Currier, NfX

Network Effects

The 30 Best Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs in 2015 - First Round Capital

Relevant to entrepreneurs and VCs

The Best Venture Capitalists Harvest Optionality (2014) - Tren Griffin, 25iq 


Welcome to the Unicorn Club (2013) - Aileen Lee, TechCrunch, Nov 2013

The article that coined the unicorn concept and triggered a flood of money into venture

How to start a startup - Paul Graham, Y-Combinator

The basics

Mental Models - Farnam Street

Mental models for structured thinking

A Brief History of the World (of Venture Capital) - Nicolas Colin, The Family

History of VC


Advance Man (2015) - James Stevenson, The New Yorker 

Famous interview with Marc Andreessen at his peak in the public spotlight


How to start a startup - Y-Combinator 

First YC/Stanford Startup Course by Sam Altman


Fred Destin, Partner @ Stride (2019) - 20 minute VC

Zal Bilimoria, Founding Partner @ Refactor (2018) - 20 minute VC

Fred Destin, GP @ Accel (2016) - 20 minute VC

Aydin Senkut (2016) - 20 minute VC

Top 20 of 20 Minute VC - 20 minute podcast interviews with top VCs



The front page of every engineer in Silicon Valley


The first publication that mainstreamed early startup investing globally

Both Sides of the Table

Mark Suster @ Upfront 

Law of VC

Chris Harvey, Emerging Fund Lawyer

History/Culture of Venture Capital

How the Kleiner Perkins Empire Fell - Polina Marinova, Fortune April 2019

Andreessen Horowitz is Blowing Up The Venture Capital Model (Again) - Alex Konrad, Forbes, April 2019

How VCs Can Avoid Another Bloodbath As the Cleantech Boom 2.0 Begins - James Temple, MIT Technology Review, November 2020


A Standard and Clean Series A Term Sheet - Y-Combinator

Term Sheet Templates - Clauses to Look Out For During Negotiation - Alex Graham

How to read a patent in 60 Seconds - Dan Shapiro

Venture Deals - Brad Feld: basics of a term sheet