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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 Joy of Success: 10 Essential Skills for Getting the Success You Want ($14.95)

By Susan Ford Collins

This book is part of The Technology of Success book series, created by Susan Ford Collins, a highly touted success and leadership coach who has based her career on studying and working with highly-successful people.

Here, Collins offers the 10 leadership skills we all need to master, but emphasizes that learning them is not hard. The book, among other things, teaches you about the power of dreams, as well as how to communicate effectively, create loyal followers and shift your approach to achieve success.

The book is particularly useful at helping you break free of your old habits and thought processes so you can learn, embrace and enact the new ones that will bring you success.

63 Innovation Nuggets (for Aspiring Innovators) ($24.95)

By George E.L. Barbee

The author, George Barbee, a faculty fellow at the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business and an innovation expert with an impressive resume (Pepsi, IBM and GE among others), wants you to know that “true innovation is broader than just invention.”

This book is so easy to absorb—each nugget is short and easy to grasp, and is supported by an anecdote that puts it into real-world context. Some of the nuggets may seem like familiar advice, but chances are you haven’t put them into practice yet. Others are likely new to you, but the ideas are instantly applicable.

There’s a lot to learn here, from tried-and-true practices such as setting priorities, to new concepts like “giving innovatively.” You can tackle all the nuggets at once, or try to act on one new innovative practice weekly.

Endless Encores: Repeating Success Through People, Products and Profits ($22.95)

By Ken Goldstein

This book is a parable illustrating that while it may be difficult to achieve success the first time, it is “exponentially harder” to do it again. Indeed, when you think about the music industry, there are many more recording artists who are “one-hit wonders” than those who have gone on to sustained careers.

Ken Goldstein, a technology executive and former Disney executive, delivers solid and sound business advice in the story of a chance meeting between a very successful CEO and a rising young star who’s struggling with his latest project. The CEO shares her wisdom of “people, products, profits—in that order” with the younger executive.

At the end of each chapter, key points are summarized, making it easy to reinforce the lessons learned. Plus Goldstein gives us 10 questions to ask ourselves whenever we feel our own creativity has stalled. No matter what business you’re in, this book can help you achieve more.

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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.