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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.

Millennials With Kids: Marketing to This Powerful and Surprisingly Different Generation of Parents ($24.95)

By Jeff Fromm & Marissa Vidler

This book addresses one of my favorite topics—Millennials and how so many businesses, large and small, don’t market to them correctly. Millennials have been mislabeled and misunderstood for years. Once labeled self-absorbed and entitled, instead Millennials are a must-market for small businesses.

Authors Jeff Fromm, who heads a Millennial marketing consulting company, and Marissa Vidler, who founded a marketing research firm, present a lot of data, including case studies, in an entertaining way.

There’s a lot to learn here, including a discussion of the “five distinct orbits of Millennial parents,” how to convince them to be your “partner” as you build your brand, and how to develop content-driven campaigns.

Millennials are the biggest generation this country has ever seen, and no business can afford to ignore them.

Pop-Up Republic: How to Start Your Own Successful Pop-Up Space, Shop or Restaurant ($22)

By Jeremy Baras

Pop-ups have, well, popped up all over the country—in fact pop-ups are now a $50 billion+ industry. These businesses take many forms, from trucks selling food and other products, to farmers’ markets and temporary retail locations in malls and on city streets.

Author Jeremy Baras runs a pop-up marketing business, so his advice is spot-on and very helpful. The book is full of case studies and checklists and offers a step-by step guide to building your own pop-up business.

There are lots of helpful details here, from the best places to locate your pop-up to what types of permits, licenses and insurance you’d need to how to actually manage your business.

Pop-ups are a great way to get started in business, expand your existing company or simply test new concepts and ideas. The startup costs are usually less than those for a more traditional business, so for many aspiring business owners, this book will help you start down the entrepreneurial path.

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur ($19.95)

By Derek Sivers

Author Derek Sivers offers counterintuitive advice in this short, but useful book. He writes, “You don’t need to think big; in fact it’s better if you don’t. Start with what you have, care about your customers more than yourself, and run your business like you don’t need the money.”

The author was an independent musician who set out to sell his CDs online. He couldn’t find anyone to help him, so he launched CD Baby on his own—and sold it for $22 million.

He shares the mistakes he made, the keys to his (and potentially your) success and the one (surprising) trait you need to start a business.

You can read this book in less than two hours, but it packs a lot of insight and advice.

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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.