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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.

WE-COMMERCE: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy ($25)

By Billee Howard

Marketing strategist Billee Howard says (and I agree) that The Great Recession of 2008 ushered in a new economic mindset in which we bid farewell to the industrial era and greeted the new “age of We-Commerce, an economy centered on the power of ‘we’ instead of ‘me’.”

Howard offers us a guide for navigating these new waters, maintaining we have to somehow combine the best of traditional marketing methods with innovating at the same time.

This book provides just the ways to do that, explaining the “new golden rules of business,” how to adapt to the “We-volution,” how to make a profit with purpose and more. Howard says businesses need to “think big but act small” to succeed—something you’ll know exactly how to do after reading We-Commerce.

If You Really Want to Change the World: A Guide to Creating, Building, and Sustaining Breakthrough Ventures ($30)

By Henry Kressel and Norman Winarsky

This book says the latest Silicon Valley trend for creating new ventures based on trial and error—the “fail fast, step-and-pivot philosophy—is like taking a random walk in the forest without a compass.” Instead, the authors Henry Kressel and Norman Winarsky, who are technologists, inventors, and investors, believe that if you really want to change the world, you need help finding your “true north.”

Their book, they say, is a “guide for those who wish to create a market-leading company that will have a real impact.” The book takes you from concept to acquisition or public offering and shows you how to build sustainable companies, ones that maintain their culture of innovation.

The authors have truly impressive resumes (Winarsky was part of the launch of Siri) and share their personal experiences and advice. They believe “today’s world is rich with opportunities for disruption and change,” and this book prepares you to tackle those opportunities head on.

Magnetic: The Art of Attracting Business ($25)

By Joe Calloway

The book starts with a quote from W. Edwards Deming: “Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your product or service, and that bring friends with them.” And that is what this book is all about—making your business so attractive to customers they’re essentially compelled to bring more customers to you. It’s the law of attraction—magnetic businesses simply bring customers in.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all template” or solution to become magnetic, says author Joe Calloway; you need to work at it. The idea, he says, is to “become incredibly good at what you do” and be ready to work hard because, he warns, “it’s not easy.”

The focus of the book is how you can create customer experiences that are so noteworthy your customers start proselytizing about your business. There’s lots of actionable information.

This book is different than most other marketing books—and that’s good. Calloway emphasizes this is not about you telling your story (traditional marketing), but rather your customers telling your story for you.

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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.