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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.

Digital Context 2.0: 7 Lessons in Business Strategy, Consumer Behavior and the Internet of Things ($14.95)

By David W. Norton

This is an interesting book that challenges a lot of our business beliefs. David Norton believes consumers no longer are making decisions the way they used to. Instead the traditional model of decision-making, AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action), is out of step with “today’s digital reality because things rarely happen in a linear fashion.”

Instead, he writes, the normal behaviors of digital consumers consist of “starts and stops, meandering, doing multiple things at the same time.” Instead of offering a omnichannel experience (focusing on creating a seamless consumer experience no matter where or how they shop), a “digital context strategy focuses on anticipating needs of consumers by drawing upon clues from different data sources to describe what the consumer is likely to want or need.”

Essentially the future consists of obtaining Big Data from the Internet of Things and deploying that to trigger purchasing behavior. The book helps you understand what your customers are thinking and how they’re behaving so you can craft the definitive strategy to win their business.

Stragility: Excelling at Strategic Changes ($27.95)

By Ellen R. Auster and Lisa Hillenbrand

First, let’s define “stragility.” The authors, Ellen Auster, a consultant and university professor, and Lisa Hillenbrand, an entrepreneur and former Global Marketing Director at Procter & Gamble, say stragility is their term for “strategic, agile, people-powered change.” Stragility can be applied to and at any point in the change process.

The goal of the book is to help you see where the change process has gone off track at your business, so you “can break bad habits and develop new skills.”

The authors define four stragility skills that are intrinsically tied into four goals, which are:

  1. Redefining strategy to win
  2. Building support
  3. Fostering ownership and accountability
  4. Creating successful change again and again

Mastering these four skills, they say, will enable you to start, re-energize or continue the necessary changes needed for businesses to “create an organization capable of continuous change.”

Ingaging Leadership: A New Approach to Leading That Builds Excellence and Organizational Success ($27.99)

By Evan Hackel

No, that’s not a typo in the book title. Author Evan Hackel, a leadership thought leader, created the concept of Ingaged Leadership because, he believes, “It is not enough to tell people what to do, but to engage their minds, creativity and even their emotions and their hearts.”

Hackel says the “I” in ingagement stands for involvement. People who are ingaged are actually involved in the process of making decisions, leading to them also being engaged. And people who are engaged and ingaged believe in the process ,which allows business owners to solicit the best input and then make more informed decisions.

Hackel’s book is very practical, and full of pragmatic advice, tips, lists and action steps (which are pulled out for easy reading) so you can find the information you need at this moment to be an ingaged leader.

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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.