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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.

The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money for Your Small Business or Start-Up With Equity Funding Portals ($21.95)

By Cliff Ennico

First, let me disclose I have known and respected author Cliff Ennico for many years. He’s one of the smartest (and funniest) people I know—and he’s a regular contributor on my website. So I am not surprised by how thorough this book covering crowdfunding is.

Crowdfunding can be a great tool for both aspiring and existing small business owners, but the federal regulations covering it are contained in a 685-page document. Ennico, a lawyer, takes the pain out of wading through the legalese and explains what the SEC rules mean and how you can take advantage of them.

Beyond that, Ennico offers a ton of insights, tips and strategies to help you through the crowdfunding process. One of Ennico’s strengths is that he can make the complex understandable. If you’re intimidated by the idea of crowdfunding, don’t be. As Ennico says, “All you need is a detailed business plan and the courage to see it through.”

Upsetting the Table: Women Mentoring Women, A Business Fable ($24.99)

By Robbie Hardy

This fable is centered around a story most women in the workforce are familiar with: inequality. The author, Robbie Hardy, is a serial entrepreneur with lots of experience in the tech sector and founder of Lessons Earned, a national women’s mentorship organization, which will launch later this year.

Hardy wrote this book to tackle issues like women earning 77 cents on the dollar compared to what men make, women representing 40 percent of the global workforce and yet holding less than 15 percent of corporate executive jobs, and fewer than one-third of young women in business being offered any type of formal mentorship.

Each chapter in the book, which centers around a young woman (Jessica) entering the workforce and pursuing her career, focuses on an obstacle she needs to overcome, guided by her mentor Liz.

Hardy says she’s “spilling her secrets” and this books makes them well worth hearing.

Achieving Longevity: How Great Firms Prosper Through Entrepreneurial Thinking ($32.95)

By Jim Dewald

Jim Dewald is the Dean of the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business in Canada as well as a former entrepreneur and CEO. In that capacity he is concerned “that businesses in general and business leaders in particular, have lost touch with the all-important entrepreneurial spirit that drove growth and prosperity in the past.”

Dewald says too many business leaders today emphasize efficiency and commoditization, instead of stressing innovation. This has led to company’s reducing resources, “eliminating their capacity to innovate and weeding our entrepreneurial skills.”

While the book is aimed at changing corporate thinking to an entrepreneurial mindset, there’s a lot of value for small business owners as Dewald explains what it takes to nurture entrepreneurial thinking (too often, entrepreneurs stop thinking like entrepreneurs), how to create a culture that accepts failure and how to create an opportunity discovery and creation process. There are a lot of valuable lessons here.

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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.