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3 Books Small Business Owners Should Read

Rieva Lesonsky
books small business

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 and the lessons you can learn from reading them.

The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus: How to Get Big Things Done in Your Workshop...All Year Long ($14.99)

By Eric Harvey

This is a short, fun and yet helpful business book. Eric Harvey is the founder and president of Walk the Talk, a company that focuses on leadership. The book starts off by establishing that Santa is an entrepreneur with the same challenges and responsibilities we all face.

This book won’t take you long to read; it’s full of lists (what else would you expect from Santa?) and summaries. But that doesn’t mean it’s short on actionable information—far from it. For instance, if you need to tame workplace conflicts, Santa offers his CALM model: Clarify the issue, Address the problem, Listen to the other side and Manage your way to resolution (along with tips on how to do all that).

The book makes a great stocking stuffer for entrepreneurs—and you don’t need to believe in Santa to find the information helpful and actionable.

High-Impact Human Capital Strategy: Addressing the 12 Major Challenges Today’s Organizations Face ($34.95)

By Jack J. Phillips and Patricia Pulliam Phillips

The authors believe your employees are “the backbone” of your company, the ones who “build great products, deliver great services and generate new ideas.” But, they add, they “are also the single most significant investment” your company is going to make—and one that must pay off.

In this book the authors, who run the ROI Institute, delve into the 12 “forces” that impact businesses today and offer insights into how you can develop a strategic plan to tackle each area.

While most small businesses do not have HR departments or even staff, that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) have a strategy to handle how your company treats your employees.

This is a serious book, packed with a lot of information for businesses large and small. But it’s not all that difficult to find the information that impacts your company today, and save the rest for when you need it. High-Impact Human Capital Strategy will quickly become a go-to book for entrepreneurs who are serious about growing their companies.

Outrageous: The Victoria Woodhull Saga: Volume 1, Rise to Riches ($18.95)

By Neal Katz

Since Women’s Entrepreneurship Day has just passed (November 19), it seems like an appropriate time to take a look at Victoria Woodhull, an early suffragette, the cofounder (with her sister) of the first woman-run brokerage company, and the first woman to run for the U.S. presidency—before women were even allowed to vote.

Outrageous is historical fiction and most of us don’t know enough about the real-life Woodhull to distinguish between the facts and the fiction. But it’s an interesting read and a good reminder of how very far women business owners have come—even though we have very far yet to go.

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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.