Skip to main content

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

The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone ($24.95)

By Shawn Murphy

Being happy is “in” right now. Companies, large and small, are all touting their happy workplaces, in part as a way to entice the best, most qualified employees.

Shawn Murphy, a leadership and HR expert, says this new focus on workplace culture is misplaced. Instead he says we should be concerned about workplace climate—that is, “what it feels like to work somewhere.” Business leaders, he argues, can have a greater influence on climate than culture.

There’s a lot to learn in this book. Murphy explains the power of “highly contagious, positive emotions” and why you need to express them (lead by example), why you must understand the “vital importance of purpose” and how to make work more meaningful for your team.

Living With a SEAL: 31 Days Training With the Toughest Man on the Planet ($26)

By Jesse Itzler

Serial entrepreneur Jesse Itzler leads the kind of life most of us dream about. He not only started and sold several businesses for big bucks, but his wife, Sara Blakely, sits atop the Spanx empire and is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.

But Itzler found himself in a rut, solidly entrenched in a daily routine. To get out of it he decided to hire a Navy SEAL to move in and train him for one month. The book is a diary of sorts of that time. It contains the physical exercises the SEAL put him through (the book warns you not to try these at home), his path to entrepreneurship and words of wisdom from the SEAL.

This book is inspiring, informative and a hoot. Well worth a read.

Winning at Entrepreneurship: Insiders’ Tips on Buying, Building, and Selling Your Own Business ($19.95)

By Rod Robertson

Rod Robertson, a serial entrepreneur and owner of Briggs Capital, an international M&A firm, says his book will help you “avoid the highway to business hell.”

If you use this book as a map to business success you might indeed be able to do that. There’s so much here, from how to get started, raise money, grow quickly and even prepare to sell the successful business you’ve built.

Winning at Entrepreneurship is packed with pragmatic advice from Robertson and other contributors who’ve written chapters. There are loads of checklists, glossary definitions and actionable information.

Want more assistance growing your business online? Join the Small Business Forum for free access to our library of ebooks, the latest industry news and support from other business owners, entrepreneurs and working professionals. Join a Group to ask questions, share your opinions and grow your network! Visit to learn about our full range of affordable website design and online marketing services.



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.