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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 Mindfulness Edge: How to Rewire Your Brain for Leadership and Personal Excellence Without Adding to Your Schedule ($25)

By Matt Tenney & Tim Gard, Ph.D.

You might think the term “mindfulness” is yet another management fad, but you’d be wrong. Authors Matt Tenney, a leadership expert, and Tim Gard, a neuroscientist, say mindfulness is about transforming everyday activities that some consider a waste of time into “the most productive moments of your day.” Plus, they add, you’ll be happier as well.

And it’s not hard to pull this off. Their book is a step-by-step guide to achieving mindfulness (essentially, rewiring your brain) and “seamlessly integrating [it] into your daily life—rewiring your brain in ways that improve both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills of leadership.”

Although you might be concerned about reading a book co-authored by a neuroscientist, it’s easy to understand. The authors explain how mindfulness can impact your bottom line, help you be more innovative, develop emotional intelligence (EQ) and more.

Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers ($27)

By Jay Baer

Want to retain customers and grow your business? Of course you do—what entrepreneur doesn’t? Author Jay Baer, a digital business expert, offers some counter-intuitive advice: Hug your haters.

Baer notes that today, due to mobile technology and social media, customer complaints are not like they used to be. Unhappy customers (haters) can spread their ire faster and more publicly than ever.

But Baer says embracing and engaging with your critics, rather than further antagonizing or ignoring them, “provides the single greatest opportunity for companies to keep customers.”

Baer says there are two main types of modern haters. The first, offstage haters, “simply want solutions for their problems.” They’ll contact you via phone, email or through your website—and don’t have any interest in making their complaints go viral.

However, the second type–onstage haters–turn to social media, review sites and discussion boards to vent. Simple solutions are not their goal; they’re seeking an audience.

Hug Your Haters explains how to deal with both types of critics and offers solutions and specific playbooks for engaging. Plus, you get a fold-out poster of “The Hatrix,” a handy summary of customer service strategies for handling haters.

The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends: Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t ($27.99)

By Carmine Gallo

Communications expert and bestselling author Carmine Gallo believes telling “brilliant stories” is key to business success. In this book he also explains how to tell those stories—ones that “inspire, motivate, educate, build brands, launch movements and change lives.”

Gallo features the success stories of 50 business icons, such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Sheryl Sandberg, and shows how these leaders have incorporated storytelling into their success narratives.

But the book is not just stories about storytellers. Gallo also includes the latest scientific findings showing that “masterful storytelling triggers neurochemicals in our brains” enabling us to pay attention (cortisol) and feel empathy (ocytocin). There are also lots of tips showing you how to best tell your story.

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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.