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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.

Think Simple: How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity ($28)

By Ken Segall

Author Ken Segall worked with Steve Jobs for 12 years as the creative director of Apple’s ad agency. In his first book, the bestselling Insanely Simple, he explained how “simplicity” was one of Jobs’ core principles and how it helped make Apple the mega-success it is today.

In this book, he branches out from examining Apple and explores “how simplicity drives the business strategies” of other successful companies, such as Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods and The Container Store.

Think Simple isn’t merely a profile of how other businesses embrace simplicity to accomplish seemingly complex tasks like going global, customer service and customer attraction. It also gives you the tools to “harness the power of simplicity to grow a successful business.”

Breaking Through: Stories and Best Practices From Companies That Help Women Succeed ($29)

By Martine Liautaud

The title of this book, Breaking Through, is a reference to women breaking through the glass ceiling, and the book is a mentoring guide to help them do just that. You may wonder if, in 2016, this type of book is necessary. Unfortunately, it is.

The author, Martine Liautaud, is the founder of the Women Business Mentoring Initiative and the Women Initiative Foundation. The book examines female mentoring relationships and shows the effect they’ve had on “women, businesses, society and the economy.” Liautaud interviews top executives (male and female) from successful global businesses to show the positive power of mentoring and how it increases efficiency, improves financials, and leads to more effective management, increased innovation and higher revenues at businesses where it’s practiced.

This is more than just a how-to-mentor-women book. It is the author’s challenge to women business owners and managers to “take charge of the training, networking and mentoring of young talent,” and one we should all eagerly accept.

Moppin’ Floors to CEO: From Hopelessness and Failure to Happiness and Success ($34.99)

By Dennis C. Miller

Moppin’ Floors to CEO is Miller’s autobiography, telling the story of how he went from being committed to a psychiatric hospital to mopping floors at a Ramada Inn to an Ivy League student to the CEO of a hospital in New Jersey to a nationally recognized leadership coach and motivational speaker.

Despite a rough childhood (he tried to kill his father with a butter knife), Miller is a positive person. He believes, “No matter how difficult your life may be, there is a path forward.”

Miller discusses the importance of having great mentors and believing in yourself. He believes “success is the best revenge” and that “happiness is the result of who you are, not what you have.”

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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.