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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 Agenda Mover: When Your Good Idea Is Not Enough ($24.95)

By Samuel B. Bacharach

Author Samuel Bacharach, a management expert and professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University, maintains that you’re not really a leader unless you can move your agenda forward. And in this book he lays out a four-step process for you to do exactly that.

If you want to push your agenda, Bacharach says you need to:

  • Anticipate the agendas of others and know where they’re coming from. Failed leaders, he writes, focus only on their own ideas.
  • Mobilize your campaign. The first step is to identify those on your side and get their initial support. He writes, “You have to share your ideas with others to ensure that you’re moving in the right direction.”
  • Negotiate support. You have to work to get buy-in, which Bacharach says is a “process of negotiation and persuasion.”
  • Sustain the campaign. In order to get things done, you need to keep going, but be willing to “make adjustments, manage with agility and bolster the coalition mind-set.”

Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big ($27)

By Terri L. Sjodin

I believe this is the third book I’ve reviewed here this year that uses the word “scrappy” in its title. And no wonder—to succeed today it helps to be scrappy, which is defined as being feisty, enthusiastic and gutsy—all traits embodied by successful entrepreneurs.

Here, bestselling author Terri Sjodin highlights the real-life stories of everyday people, who she says “got scrappy to reach seemingly elusive goals while saving time, money and sanity in the process.”

There’s a lot we can learn from the success of others—and this book is full of those lessons, including how to nurture your best ideas, manage risk, create and scale a scrappy culture and execute your plan.

There’s a lot of applicable information in this book to help you build a scrappy business.

Love Incorporated: The Business of Doing What You Love ($18.95)

By Jennifer Noel Taylor

So many of us are unhappy, whether we’re still toiling at jobs we hate, dreaming of owning businesses one day, or business owners who still feel unfulfilled.

Author Jennifer Noel Taylor is a former software developer who decided to quit her job and follow her passion. She started a business in the field of energy medicine. Taylor says her journey was not always easy, but she discovered four insights along the way that will help us transform our lives and enable us to do what we love.

This is a short and simple book. But if you go into reading it with an open mind, there’s a lot of food for thought here.

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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.