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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.

Discover the Entrepreneur Within: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting It Done ($16.99)

By Verinder K. Syal

Do you want to be part of the entrepreneurial revolution, but are worried you don’t have what it takes? Author Verinder Syal is not only a professor, consultant and entrepreneur, but he’s also run giant businesses, such as Quaker Oats Breakfast Foods, Rice-A-Roni and Ghirardelli Chocolate. He’s been teaching “Principles of Entrepreneurship” and “Leadership, Ethics, and You” at Northwestern University.

He says he wrote this book to share his knowledge beyond his classroom with everyone who wants to be a business owner–and he’s accomplished that goal.

Syal demystifies the process of business startup and created a step-by-step guide that will help you successfully launch a business, including how to find and choose the best startup ideas, focus on the right customers, raise money, build a team and so much more.

There is so much great information packed into this book that even if you’re already a business owner, there’s a lot you can learn. It’s like getting an education in entrepreneurship (the author even gives “assignments” at the end of every chapter) without having to pay the tuition.

The Hook: How to Share Your Brand’s Unique Story to Engage Customers, Boost Sales and Achieve Heartfelt Success ($15.99)

By Richard Krevolin

Storytelling is a hot marketing term these days. It’s a compelling way for a business to stand apart from its competitors. But how do you tell your story? Author Richard Krevolin has had a storied career as a consultant, playwright, screenwriter and professor, so he’s well equipped to tell you how to find “the hook,” that part of your story that will engage consumers.

Krevolin calls it “story-selling” and explains how important it is to establish an emotional connection with your customers and create “a culture of inclusion” for what you sell or what you do.

Selling your brand is not just about ads. Krevolin shows you how to improve the power and tone of your speeches, proposals, presentations and other printed materials.

The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager, Team Leader, HR Professional, or Anyone Who Wants to Resolve Disputes and Increase Productivity ($14.99)

By Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem

Nothing can derail a small business quicker than feuding employees—your team is too small to get things done if they’re not working together. And it’s your job to make sure any conflicts that do arise are quelled as quickly as possible.

Reading this book will help you do just that. There are a lot of checklists and callouts so you can quickly find the key information. The authors show us that it’s not just about fixing a problem once it arises, but also creating an atmosphere that prevents (as much as possible) conflicts erupting in the first place.

One interesting aspect explored is that workplace problems between employees are not just about them. It’s important to understand your conflict style and how that affects everyone else’s behaviors.

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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.