Piaw Na’s An Engineer’s Guide to Silicon Valley Startups was a well-written and succinct book on the topic. Piaw distilled the subjects he discusses into their essence, and doesn’t belabor the point. I appreciate this approach to providing the essential commentary on each topic and nothing further, especially with his rich suggestions for further reading on each topic.
The book does an excellent job of explaining the stages of startups, compensation expectations within them, and pretty much everything else that’s relevant about jumping ship, one way or another. Especially useful is the treatment of pre-IPO stock options from a financial and tax planning perspective, which was illuminating for me.
If you’re curious about Silicon Valley startups and compensation considerations for a software engineer (or indeed startups in general — the author admits inexperience outside of that area, but I think much of the advice is applicable to working for a software startup anywhere). This book is an exceptional value, and you know exactly where your money for the purchase is going, which is pretty neat.