After 50+ episodes of Crossing Borders, my podcast where I have conversations with entrepreneurs, investors and the people who support them with a focus on Latin America, I decided to go back and make a list of the books they’ve recommended the most. There were two books that stood out from the crowd, but be sure to check out some of the other gems below, from business, to history, to finance and fiction.
1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
This is the most recommended book, mentioned by 7 different entrepreneurs include Diego Saez-Gil, Marco DeMello and Alba Rodriguez.
Devin Baptiste, cofounder of GroupRaise, shared my favorite reason why he recommended the book:
“I love that book… I remembered the night before I was set to meet with a top tier VC. I woke up and threw up in the bathroom. In the book Ben is always throwing up. There is a problem, he throws up. He is constantly throwing up. And I remember thinking like oh this is what it feels like. And then like ten minutes later I throw up again and I realized it is probably food poisoning… It made me realize stress is part of the experience. That kind of ramp up and gear up is okay.”
Brian Requarth, cofounder of Vivareal, the Zillow of Brazil said:
“The single most important book I read. I still go back to that book… I realized I was going through a lot of the same things… The struggle is real and hearing someone else’s perspective allowed me to understand that I am not that alone.”
Jonathan Nelson, founder of Hackers/Founders put it this way:
“I love the first half of the book where he just talks about the misery of being a founder and that was in my mind very cathartic.”
The US healthcare market loses up to US$750B in fraud and inefficiencies every year. The insurance industry is famously bureaucratic and relies on antiquated technology to communicate with healthcare providers and patients. My guest today is Lauren Cascio, co-founder and COO of Abartys Health, a health insurance tech company that created a system that allows seamless data flow and communication between insurers, doctors and patients in Latin America and the United States.
Lauren was selected by Walmart as one of Puerto Rico’s most promising business leaders, made the Caribbean’s 40 under 40 list, and was a finalist for the Forbes 30 under 30. Lauren is also proud to have delivered the winning pitch at SXSW’s ReleaseIT competition in 2017 and Parallel 18 Accelerator’s Investor Choice at the 2017 Demo Day.
While Lauren didn’t originally set out to become an entrepreneur, she has always loved taking risks and learning from her mistakes. We talk about her decision to teach herself how to code and what she’s learned from starting and scaling a business in Puerto Rico. We also discuss the Puerto Rican startup ecosystem and why it can be an advantage to growing startups.