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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.

Get Smart: How to Think and Act Like the Most Successful and Highest Paid People in Every Field ($23)

By Brian Tracy

It’s long been debated if humans use all our brain power or only a small portion. Author and management expert Brian Tracy accepts the latter premise, saying the average person only uses about 2 percent of his or her mental ability. The premise of this book is to show us how we can “unleash” the rest of our mental powers to achieve our greatest potential.

Tracy, a prolific, bestselling author, focuses on the various ways we think in order to get us to think differently and achieve more. Of course, one of my favorite chapters hones in on the differences in entrepreneurial vs. corporate thinking, stressing the importance of innovation.

This book is easy to grasp—and after reading it you should be able to immediately change your thinking and behavior patterns. For instance, Tracy says (and I agree), you will not succeed until you take control of your life, and say the “magic words—I am responsible.”

How to Get a Meeting With Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing ($24.95)

By Stu Heinecke

This book addresses every salesperson’s biggest challenge (and yes, if you’re a business owner, you’re in sales): not selling, but getting the right people to agree to meet with you and hear your pitch.

Author Stu Heinecke is a renowned marketer and cartoonist for The Wall Street Journal, and the cartoons that lead into every chapter are worth the price of the book alone. But Heinecke also offers really practical advice for getting past gatekeepers by simply thinking outside that proverbial box.

Heinecke makes his point via real-world examples and tips such as unorthodox ways to use social media. And he adds lots of how-to information as well.

Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes ($25)

By Jessica Kriegel

Author Jessica Kriegel is a top organizational development and talent management pro—and it shows. This book is based on lots of academic research and yet is a very accessible read.

Kriegel believes Millennials have been unfairly stereotyped and argues that it’s arbitrary, counter-productive and discriminatory to do so. It’s hard to argue with her as she presents the “perceptions” and explains why they’re simply not true.

All this stereotyping is not conducive to running an efficient business. Unfortunately, Kriegel says, managers today are making decisions based on the belief that all Millennials think alike (which is ridiculous since they range from their teens to their 30s) and treating them homogeneously. And many, she says, are guilty of MSU (making stuff up).

As an antidote, Kriegel offers tips, advice and techniques to not only better manage Millennials, but to better run a multigenerational business, which is what most businesses have to do today.

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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.