Recommended Reading For Small Business Owners

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All business owners and entrepreneurs need to keep up with their education. I turn to books as often as I can. A book is a teacher for life, as long as you listen, comprehend, and take away each time you read it. Here are a few of my personal favorites that I recommend to all.

Note: While some of these titles I do physically own, I prefer to listen to audio books. I have found this method to be much more convenient as I can listen to the books directly from my phone, instead of lugging around a book.

Book Shortcuts

Lifestyle

The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster

Darren Hardy

Definitely a book for those considering becoming an entrepreneur, to which I would recommend this book. Darren’s story is all about the basics, covering the emotions, fear, and motivation is takes to set out on your own. The content is focused on solopreneurs and micropreneurs, to give some light at the end of the tunnel for creating startups. Darren gives lists of ideas and tasks to help the reader get started. Darren’s story was good enough to entice me into reading his first book, the Compound Effect.


The Compound Effect

Darren Hardy

The compound effect is the concept of growing with time, whether it is investing time or money. Darren Hardy tells his story of applying the compound effect to his daily life at an early age, for both his personal growth and career. A fun read (or listen) on using the sum of your time effectively.

I have also found the compound effect to be beneficial to marketing. You can expect results right away, but over time you can see growth.


Think And Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill

This is one of the classics for any entrepreneur to read. In this book, Napoleon Hill talks about his 20 year experiment of interviews and documentation of the world’s premiere business people and their success. He describe the personality traits, lessons taught, and attitudes of those who attract success to them naturally.

I had an overwhelming appeal to this book while reading. It opened my eyes to how I know myself to be and how I have both positively and negatively impacted my own life with the relationships I have created and the pressures I place upon myself.


Effortless Success

Michael Neill

This book was a surprise as I had no intention of reading it based upon its description. I picked it up on a “deal of the day” special and began reading it because I had no other options at the time. I know that sounds horrible, but I want to make that clear as this book did have an effect on me right away. This is a self-help book, which is the reason why I was not eager to start it… you know, because none of us want to admit we need help!

I have found myself referring to this book over and over, because of the great messages that it stores that are valuable to first time entrepreneurs and small business owners. Owning your own business is a journey, and you must have the mental and emotional dexterity to keep going, even when things feel at their worst.


Entrepreneurship

The 4-Hour Workweek

Timothy Ferriss

My personal favorite at the time of writing this – this book told me everything I needed to hear and gave me permission to move my business to the next level. I was so enthralled by this book that I actually read it twice, back to back, and will probably read it again very soon.

Tim is like the big brother I never had. Every point he makes about how he operates his business and the choices he makes to create the lifestyle of his design is an absolute match to the way I am. If you can relate to me, then you can definitely connect with this book.


The E-Myth Revisited

Michael E. Gerber

This is the starting point for anyone wanting to be an entrepreneur or be a better entrepreneur! Michael Gerber breaks down the different mental states (or hats) that a business owner has to understand in order to make decisions on moving a business forward.

Michael helps create the right frame of mind to understand what you represent to your business. This allows you to make decisions to move forward, instead of being stuck where you might currently be.


Good To Great

Jim Collins

I almost didn’t put this book on the list – not because it’s not a good book (because it is), but because when I first read it, I thought the concepts were too far beyond what a starting entrepreneur would need to focus on. After some time to reflect on the book and another read, I began to realize that the book is perfect for the beginner.

Jim applies collected data to determine what makes a good company good and what makes others become great. It really comes down to the leadership of the business and how motivated and determined they are to make sure all parts of the business are successful, even by destroying what has been traditionally successful for the business.


Marketing

All Marketers Are Liars

Seth Godin

A great title that is slightly misleading on purpose. Seth’s book is an excellent and enjoyable read with a splash of entertainment. I did find myself laughing out loud several times. Besides the quick jokes and surprises, Seth comes right out and tells you what you need to know to be a marketer. This isn’t some lame strategy to be applied to a cheesy sales tactic. This is the real deal and it is all about telling a story.

The story is something I have learned to embrace, and I knew I was on the right track when I read this book. You are not a liar when you tell the truth and are completely authentic with your story. Be completely about serving and delivering value to your audience and you will attract the right people.


Startups

The $100 Startup

Chris Guillebeau

This is a fun little read (or listen) for anyone who is considering starting their own business, specifically a digital or virtual business. Chris explains how simple it is to get started with the use of online tools, apps, and services with minimal investment. I like to call this the “Bootstrap Guide”, as it really shows you the path to creating a business and keeping your costs down.


The Lean Startup

Eric Ries

This book was my first real introduction to Agile development methodology. It was a concept that I was familiar with and had learned indirectly through working with other developers, but as I have transitioned out of the developer role, I found that the same methodology can be applied to business and startups.

Eric’s book sees the startup process through the Agile methodology. If you are not familiar with the concept, it borrows from lean manufacturing. If you aren’t familiar with lean manufacturing, then consider this your invitation to read this book!


Customer Development For Entrepreneurs

Mike Fishbein

In this book, Mike Fishbein writes of a newer concept and its application in the growth of new business. I found the concept to be parallel to relationship building, but in a more business-like definition. Since reading this book, I found myself using the term “Customer Development” almost daily, as it is clearly the term to describe what is necessary to grow ideas, change directions, and build relationships for business.


Productivity

Getting Things Done

David Allen

This book is worth its weight in gold. Through the methodology that David Allen presents, I have been able to clean up my work process and free my mind from the burden of daily minutia and detailed tasks.

I strongly suggest this book to anyone who thinks they may be organized, and implore anyone who may feel a bit disorganized. The processes are simple, easy to understand, and can be implemented quickly.

A great online tool to pair with Getting Things Done, is Trello. I explain more over on Recommended Online Resources For Business Owners.


Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Jeff Sutherland

This concept has become fairly common place with developers using Agile methodology, but for small business owners, Scrum is a solution for helping your business spend less time working, yet becoming far more effective when getting work done.

This book is mostly the story and background behind Jeff Sutherland’s realization and understanding of what Scrum is and how it can be employed by individuals and companies alike.


Selling

Pitch Anything

Oren Klaff

Oren tells a tale about high stakes and being in control of the entire situation. Through his stories, Oren explains a few important concepts that allow a sale to naturally take place. These basic concepts are easy to understand, and may go against traditional sales tactics.

What it comes down to is this: Do your homework, be confident, appeal to emotions, and be ready to walk away.


Networking

How To Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie

Another classic, this book looks at the lives of the world’s influencers over time and how each has applied a specific set of styles to the approach of to treat people and create relationships. This book is a perfect companion for anyone at any age and at any time. The lessons taught are deep and not specific to business, but if used for the purpose of business, the reader will find success.

This book ultimately comes down to meet new people, stay in touch, share value, and be ready to lose an argument for the sake of gaining a friend.


The Go-Giver

Bob Burg & John David Mann

I describe this book as a light-hearted story about personal and business networking and how each should really be considered the same for the small business person.

The story follows a young man through his professional networking and how he learns important concepts along the way to ultimately start his own business with the help of those he met.

If you are considering networking, this story can show you the possibilities once you get out there and start meeting people.


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