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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 books small business owners should read and the lessons you can learn from reading them.

The Daily Edge: Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Make an Impact Every Day ($24.95)

By David Horsager

If you feel stymied every day, here’s why: According to this book, most managers are interrupted about seven times an hour or 56 times a day. That’s likely why it’s a good bet that millions of people (including me) have vowed to be more efficient and productive in 2016.

This is the book to help you do that. David Horsager is a business strategist, and in The Daily Edge he offers his DMA Strategy. That stands for what he calls Difference Making Actions, which he says “give importance and intentionality to do the most important things every day.”

Horsager doesn’t believe in wasting time and shows you how to create a “90 Day Quick Plan” to accomplish your goals. The book is easy to absorb and peppered with motivating quotes, including one of my favorites: “ The one who claims that it cannot be done should not interrupt the one who is doing it.”

Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine’s Journey to Revive the American Spirit, Business Principles From the Mind of a Moonshiner ($15.99)

By Adam von Gootkin

Perhaps the biggest surprise here is that author and proud moonshiner Adam von Gootkin doesn’t hail from the hollows of Tennessee, but from Connecticut. Of course, von Gootkin’s ancestors were arrested in the 1860s for evading taxes on a shipment of moonshine bound for Canada. And von Gootkin says that actually New England gentleman farmers had a history of making small batches of unaged corn whiskey as well. (In case you don’t know, moonshine is essentially whiskey that hasn’t been aged.)

Onyx Spirits Company, the business von Gootkin cofounded with Pete Kowalczyk, whose New England ancestors also made moonshine, makes legal (and premium) moonshine.

Von Gootkin’s journey is interesting and funny—and he fills it out with lots of solid startup advice. Bonus: He offers a cocktail recipe at the end of every chapter.

501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers: Easy-to-Implement Ideas to Inspire Loyalty, Get New Customers, and Make a Lasting Impression ($16.99)

By Donna Cutting

Author Donna Cutting, who runs a consulting company specializing in training leaders to deliver “world-class customer service,” cites a Harris Interactive poll that showed 89 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company—and switched to a competitor—because of a bad customer experience.

Cutting’s aim in her book is to make sure you offer your customers a better experience—a “red carpet” experience, so they know they are important and special to you.

There is so much useful information and advice in this book. Cutting offers real-life examples of what you can do to attract customers and keep them happy and satisfied. She also includes a 31-day plan of action to help you kick-start this new attitude.

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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.