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3 Books Small Business Owners Should Read

Rieva Lesonsky
business books

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, including book small business owners can use to accelerate their knowledge. To help you sift through some of the data, every week we’re going to look at three books small business owners should read, and the lessons you can learn from reading them.

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future ($28)

By Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired magazine, has been a well-respected thought leader, participant and journalist covering technology for more than 30 years. In The Inevitable Kelly offers his perspective, based on all those years of experience, on where technology is going and how we should prepare ourselves as the “new world emerges.”

Kelly says there are 12 tech trends are already in motion and what we can expect to see in the next 30 years is “inevitable.” The trends are all co-dependent, Kelly says, and they will “completely revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn and communicate with each other.”

In our tech future, according to Kelly, we will rely on artificial intelligence to do what humans do for less cost. He thinks keyboards will vanish—instead, we’ll talk to our devices—and that virtual reality will “be as commonplace as cell phones.” Robots, he believes, will “help us create jobs” for people (not for other robots). Kelly says “our daily lives will be totally tracked by ourselves and others,” which sounds a little too 1984 for me. But if you want clues as to where we’re headed, Kelly provides them, making this book a must-read.

Get Back Up: From the Streets to Microsoft Suites ($22.95)

By George A. Santino with M.J. Beaufrand

George A. Santino has led a fascinating life. He grew up in the housing projects of Philadelphia in the company of six siblings, an abusive alcoholic father and plenty of rats. But Santino persevered through a series of adventures, including an aborted Army stint, opening a bar without walls, selling liquor and interviewing at Microsoft four times before he was hired. When he retired, Santino was Partner Engineering Manager.

Santino is now a tech mentor and in that spirit he says he wrote Get Back Up to “help, motivate, inspire and provide ideas…” It’s intended, he says, “for anyone facing a challenge in life who is having difficulty coming back from that challenge.”

There’s a lot of wisdom here, not the least of which is understanding that we’re all going to be knocked down at one time or another, but the key is having the strength and courage to get back up.

2015 Businesses: Learn and Re-Learn What Makes Businesses Succeed, Grow and Survive ($12)

By Ian Juul

Author Ian Juul has started 15 businesses in his lifetime, which has taught him a lot about what to do—and what not to do–as an “active entrepreneur.” Whether you’ve already started your small business or are still thinking about doing so, Juul has packed this book with lessons he’s learned from his own experiences and those of the thousands of people he’s coached.

In fact, the book’s name is not about last year, but about the fact that Juul is delivering his accumulated knowledge from 2,015 businesses–the 15 businesses he’s owned and the more than 2,000 he’s coached and consulted for.

Juul warns business owners to look at their goals, understand the resources available to them and then act according to their own individual risk tolerance, instead of just plunging ahead because you’re sure you have a great idea.

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.