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3 Books Every Small Business Owner Should Read

Since I was young, I have been a voracious reader so can recommend different books for different lessons but these three are a must no matter what part of the business lifecycle you are entering.

Entrepreneurs should constantly be learning best practices and keeping ahead of business trends. The difference between the you right now and the you tomorrow is the people you meet, experiences you have and of course the books you read!

1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t

Author: Jim Collins


Collins shows how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? He shares insights on how can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness.


My biggest takeaway from Collins book is the need for competent leadership that focuses all of the company’s resources toward a specific area of competency. Repeatedly, he warns that straying too far from a company’s established strengths hinders the path to greatness. Furthermore, it is important to build a culture based on shared values that transcends profits.

Favorite Quote:

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

2. The Lean Start-up: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Author: Eric Ries


Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.


Most of my clients can attest to the fact that I am a huge fan of Ries’ methodology for testing new ideas whether they are entering new markets, launching a new product or starting a company. Reis explains the importance of customer development rather than focus groups and a culture of experimentation. Build. Measure. Learn.

Favorite Quote:

“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”

3. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Author: Tony Hsieh


CEO of Zappos shows how a different kind of corporate culture can make a huge difference in achieving remarkable. Sound insane? Zappos was acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing. Turns out culture is very valuable!!


Tony emphasizes the importance of hiring and retaining the right type of employee. Your retention plan should include personal and professional development. And of course customer service is the responsibility of the entire company, not just a department.

Favorite Quote:

“We view the lifetime value of a customer to be a moving target that can increase if we can create more and more positive emotional associations with our brand through every interaction that a person has with us.”

Please feel free to comment with any favorites that you have!

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