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3 Books Small Business Owners Should Read

Rieva Lesonsky
books small business owners

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.

Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World ($19.95)

By Beth Noymer Levine

Most of us have heard the canard that people fear public speaking more than death. As silly as that seems, it is certainly true that many entrepreneurs are not confident of their speaking and presentation skills—and that can be a problem.

In Jock Talk, communications coach Beth Noymer Levine shares her five foundational communication principles that will help you “establish a credible, likeable and memorable tone and speaking style.” Levine offers lots of examples of good and bad speak from the sports world, including how A-Rod would have been better served by being honest from the get-go.

There are “Takeaway Tips” in every chapter, and Levine coaches you through the process by asking questions and providing the space to answer them.

Persuasion Equation: The Subtle Science of Getting Your Way ($17.95)

By Mark Rodgers

We all know people who could persuade even the most skeptical among us to do it their way. We assume these people are naturally more persuasive—that it’s a skill they’re born with. But Mark Rodgers, a principal at the Peak Performance Business Group, believes otherwise. He says anyone can learn to be persuasive, and in this book he sets out to show us how.

The idea is to identify the abilities you already have and then decide what new skills you want to add to your repertoire to become more adept at persuading people.

This book is packed with actionable ideas, techniques and suggestions. Being persuasive is not a “one-size-fits-all” game. Rodgers says we need to be flexible and change our approach in order to convince people of different generations, genders and personality types.

Walter’s Way: How a Relief Kid Survived TB, Corporate Betrayal, Bankruptcy, Made Millions, and Touched the Lives of Billions ($29.95)

By Walter J. Scherr

This book is part memoir (the author founded the first publicly traded fax company), part history book and part inspiring business lesson. You can’t help but be enthralled as Walter Scherr shares how he went from a poor Depression-era kid (his father was a ditch digger), to a sanitarium after being diagnosed with tuberculosis by an Army doctor when he tried to enlist following Pearl Harbor, to helping usher in the era of fax machines.

Scherr believes “it’s never too late to reinvent yourself” and build a successful company—after all, he started one at the age of 66. Scherr is deeply rooted in philanthropy, wants to honor the caretakers who look out for so many and has established a foundation to help those in need.

This is a great read—you’ll be moved and energized when you finish the book.

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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.