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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 Leadership Campaign: 10 Political Strategies to Win at Your Career and Propel Your Business to Victory ($16.99)

By Scott Miller and David Morey

Reading this book in the midst of this political season is fascinating. The authors are former political consultants (who once worked on behalf of President Obama) who applied their political strategies to the world of business and built a “Campaign Model” for Steve Jobs at Apple.

Their model revolves around “change leadership” and they say you can use this model on behalf of yourself or your business. The authors maintain that the “information revolution” has changed the environment we all live in and that most leadership models are “stuck in the pre-information age.” They add, “90 percent of CEOs are not prepared for the environment in which they operate.”

There are a lot of strategies presented in the book that would help you grow your business, including the D+O+C=S formula. This stands for: Define your expectations in advance + Over-deliver on a highly relevant attribute + Claim your success with key stakeholders = Customer satisfaction.

Navigating an Organizational Crisis: When Leadership Matters Most ($37)

By Harry Hutson and Martha Johnson

Remember the iconic quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “A woman is like a tea bag—you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”? The authors, both leadership coaches, think true leaders rise to the occasion in times of crisis. They write, “Crisis demands much from a leader, but not necessarily from one’s known bank of skills and competencies.”

In today’s turbulent world, the authors believe every leader can expect to face some sort of crisis. It’s your reaction to that crisis—how you act under intense pressure—that will ultimately determine your success.

They offer plentiful insights and advice, such as when faced with a crisis (they dub it a “rogue wave”) you need to immediately name it and face it despite your instinct to avoid or stall, the importance of storytelling, and the necessity of learning to reach out to others for help.

O Great One! A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition ($25)

By David Novak with Christa Bourg

David Novak spent almost 15 years leading Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. As he moves on from there, becoming cofounder, retired chairman and CEO, Novak has decided to help make the world a better and happier place through the power of recognition.

This book is in the form of a parable and focuses on the concept that there’s a “global recognition deficit” that needs to be fixed. The lesson of the story is that by recognizing the contributions of others, you “not only will make those around you happier, you can inspire and motivate them to reach their greatest level of success.”
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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.