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3 Books Small Business Owners Should Read

Rieva Lesonsky
books small business owners should read

There is so much small business owners need to know to operate at peak performance. Luckily we live in the Information Age with plentiful resources. To help you sift through some of the data, every week we’re going to look at three business books small business owners should read and the lessons you can learn from reading them.

Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur ($16)

By Lisa Messenger

Lisa Messenger is a prolific author (she’s written or coauthored more than a dozen books) and an entrepreneur with a “mandate to disrupt, challenge and inspire.” This book is aimed at “a new generation of innovators, game changers and disrupters who want to succeed in a fast-changing, and often counterintuitive, entrepreneurial world.” If that sounds like you, this book is for you.

Daring & Disruptive describes Messenger’s own journey launching The Collective Hub, a global entrepreneurial lifestyle magazine. But it’s more than her personal story—there are a lot of business lessons here as well, such as why you need to fail fast, go global, invest in yourself and know your why.

I may not be that target “new generation,” but I really liked this book. It’s filled with smart advice, full-page motivating quotes, brand tips and Messenger’s “mantras.” If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, get this book and, as Messenger says, “Just start.”

Money. You Got This: Easy to implement money strategies so you can take control of your business finances and create your dream life ($16.95)

By Justin Krane

The unfortunate truth is that most startups fail because they run out of money. Justin Krane, a financial planner and money strategist for business owners, wants to help improve the odds by helping business owners understand the money side of their businesses.

This book shows you how to be more strategic with the money you make, so you can expand and grow your business. And despite the serious topic, Krane’s injected a lot of humor, making the book enjoyable and informative to read.

The book is broken up into three sections: Your Money, Your Life; Financial Planning. It’s Not an F-Word; and Your Business: A Game Changer for Your Money. Every chapter has a “key takeaway” making the book even more useful.

I like some of Krane’s counterintuitive, yet realistic advice. For instance, he says most financial advisers tell you to stop spending money—and give up your Starbucks habit. Krane disagrees, writing, “GET THE COFFEE! When you spend money and buy what makes you feel good, you become happy, more productive, and then make more money.”

Great Teams: 16 Things High-Performing Organizations Do Differently ($24.99)

By Don Yaeger

At some point every entrepreneur discovers he or she can’t do it alone—it takes a team to make it happen. Best-selling author Don Yaeger knows all about the power of teamwork. As the long-time associate editor at Sports Illustrated, Yaeger has seen the best—and worst—athletes in action and has uncovered the 16 habits that drive high-performing teams.

For this book, Yaeger interviewed more than 100 great team builders from the worlds of sports and business to find out how they accomplish more than their competitors and opponents. He also explains how you can apply their lessons to grow your own company.

There’s a lot of inside baseball (and football and business) talk in here, which makes the book even more interesting to read. Like Messenger in the review above, Yaeger believes “great teams understand the ‘why’.” He also says it’s important to study what doesn’t work and to look for the values others are missing.

My favorite part of the book is the Appendix, which is filled with takeaways from sports and business greats, such as motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek, NFL coach Pete Carroll and NBA legend Michael Jordan.


Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship.