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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 Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior ($27.95)

By Shlomo Benartzi, with Jonah Lehrer

Many, if not most of us, spend most of our days seemingly attached to one screen or another. While we may see this as a good thing (always connected, easy access to information), in this book UCLA professor and behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi argues that seeing things on screens can actually change the way perceive them—and lead us to make “big or harmful mistakes.”

For instance, our short-term memories are only capable of remembering a sequence of about three or four things. If we try to do more, we’re so focused on remembering, we tax our mental resources “to the breaking point” and become tempted by instant gratification. (One experiment tempted people with cake or fruit. Those asked to remember seven numbers took the cake, while those who only had to remember two numbers went for the fruit.) That’s also apparently why consumers ordering pizza online are more likely to add bacon to their pies.

Benartzi uses reader exercises to show how we’re easily manipulated and provides solutions for creating an “online world that helps us think better, not worse.”

Your Own Terms: A Woman’s Guide to Taking Charge of Any Negotiation ($16.95)

By Yasmin Davidds, PsyD, with Ann Bidou

Many women (myself among them) hate to negotiate. Author Yasmin Davidds, the founder and CEO of the Women’s Institute of Negotiation, says, “We women frequently feel like we’re placed in a no-win situation before a negotiation even begins.”

The goal of this book, Davidds says, is not to teach women how to negotiate like men or how to become barracudas at the bargaining table. Instead, her goal is to teach every woman “how to be a winning and graceful negotiator.”

She starts off busting six myths of negotiation and then follows with specific advice on negotiating a win-win solution. The book is filled with examples, exercises, tips and advice that make it a must-read for any woman entrepreneur.

Demystifying Talent Management: Unleash People’s Potential to Deliver Superior Results ($24.95)

By Kimberly Janson

This book starts with an interesting question. Author Kimberly Janson writes, “To help people dig deep and uncover what’s inside them and then watch them become successful is highly rewarding...So why is it that lack of direction, lack of development, lack of good coaching and feedback” are common major areas of concern for most employees?

Janson is passionate about this—“if a manager or leader doesn’t have a desire to do everything in their power to help their employees reach their potential, they need to get out of their job immediately.”

She then explains how you can become a great coach, leader and motivator of people. As she writes, “This stuff really isn’t hard.” Reading this book will make it all the easier.

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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.