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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.

Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed ($24.95)

By George S. Everly, Jr., Douglas A. Strouse, Dennis K. McCormack

The authors, all Ph.D.’s, come from widely different backgrounds. Everly is a pioneer in the field of stress management, Strouse is a business leader and McCormack was one of the original Navy SEALs.

They set out to learn (and explain) what enables some people to rebound from crushing defeats and extreme adversity. To find out they researched and talked to many people who have done just that.

Their conclusion is that “those who can rise above adversity possess personal resilience.” Stronger focuses on developing the five core factors or personal resilience, including helping people withstand adversity, helping people make good decisions under pressure and motivating others to achieve peak performance. The good news is that the authors believe these factors can be learned by anyone at any age.

This is a great read. The authors give you homework, including self-assessments and how-to prescriptions which enable you to think about what you just read and apply it to your own situation.

Lead Your Team to Win: Achieve Optimal Performance by Providing a Safe Space for Employees ($15.95)

By Maxine Attong

As a business coach Maxine Attong has seen her share of dysfunctional business situations. Her solution for a lot of them: Create a “safe space” where trust rules.

In this safe space there’s an “empathetic leader willing to listen” to his or her employees, and all team members are willing to help one another. Attong maintains that when they’re in this type of space, employees feel safe to take risks, make decisions and devote their best efforts to getting the job done.

Attong says a safe space is like Vegas—what happens there stays there—so employees can vent, emote, think, plan and take risks, all without fear of being judged.

Hire Yourself: Control Your Own Destiny Through Franchise Ownership ($14.99)

By Pete Gilfillan

Author Pete Gilfillan has essentially spent most of his life in franchising. Currently a franchise consultant, he’s also been a franchisee, and grew up as the son and grandson of franchise owners.

In this book he explains why franchising is a great option for many aspiring small business owners. He writes, “In franchising, someone has already dreamed the big dream, figured out how to make it work, and marketed and sold their way into a well-defined niche.”

Gilfillan has made this book very easy to read. It’s filled with chapter summaries, success stories and links to his website where you can find lots of resources, including worksheets and quizzes.

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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.