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3 Books Small Business Owners Should Read

Rieva Lesonsky
books small business owners should read

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.

Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us about Navigating the New Normal ($24.95)

By Geoffrey Colon

Author Geoffrey Colon, a veteran marketer who calls himself “a nonconventional marketer,” believes it’s harder than ever for marketers to break through all the distractions consumers deal with daily. He calls out companies and ad agencies who’ve ignored the profound changes in the industry to attempt to do business as usual.

In the 20th century, Colon explains, marketers believed the past informed the future. But in the 21st century, he says, “a business’s future success will be designed more than replicated.” Disruptive marketers use “social business models and insights” to immerse themselves in the customer experience and create culture.

This is not a typical how-to marketing book, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to learn—a lot. Colon shows us why disruptive marketing is the “new normal” and how we can put these new ideas into practice.

The Cheat Code: Going Off Script to Get More, Go Faster, and Shortcut Your Way to Success ($22)

By Brian Wong

Brian Wong is a young (25) entrepreneur who believes most people, even the creative and smart ones, follow a script as they go about their lives, “to do things the way others do them simply because that way works.”

Instead Wong says you need to go off script and do things “just a little differently from everyone else.” To help you do just that, Wong offers 71 “cheats” (essentially shortcuts) to help you stand apart from the pack.

There’s a lot of Wong’s personal story here, which makes the book even more interesting to read. He confesses to being a member of the “Fake It Till You Make It” club and advises, “Keep your eyes open and your mouth (as best as you can) shut, and just say yes to every opportunity you get.”

There’s a lot of counterintuitive advice here, such as “avoid eye contact” and “don’t try to be better than anyone else.” In keeping with its theme of shortcuts, The Cheat Code is designed to be a fast read so you can get where you want to go faster.

Sell With a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale ($24.95)

By Paul Smith

One of the advantages of selling today is you have a lot of tools, particularly technology, at your disposal. But author Paul Smith, an expert trainer, says the most personal sales method is still the one that works the best. And that is storytelling.

Sell With a Story explains the most important “ingredients of the most effective sales stories” and how to pick the right one, craft it and use it, whether your goal is to introduce yourself, build rapport, address objections, add value, create a sense of urgency and more.

There are a lot of examples in this book, which is also packed with techniques, solutions and templates to help you craft your own story.

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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.