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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 and the lessons you can learn from reading them.

Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead ($27.95)

By Rob-Jan de Jong

There are good leaders and bad leaders—and your company’s survival likely depends on which type of leader you are. In his new book, strategy and leadership expert Rob-Jan de Jong says the best leaders have vision and the ability to see things early, connect the dots, disrupt industries, create new ones and remake the world.

The author, who is on the faculty of Wharton’s executive program (Global Strategic Leadership), says the best way to keep up with future developments and anticipate what will happen is to become a visionary. Sounds intimidating, but here’s a lot in this book that will help you do just that, including research, ideas and tools.

Of course, to really be a leader, you need to show you “mean what you say, change your behavior, and live and stand by your vision” even under pressure. Anticipate will help you do that, too.

International Business Basics: Learn What You Need in 2 Hours ($16.99)

By Scott L. Girard, Jr., Michael F. O’Keefe, Marc A. Price and Kate Scribner

This book is part of the Crash Course for Entrepreneurs series, and should be an essential addition to your entrepreneurial library. The fact is if you want to succeed in business today, the world should be your target market.

Whether you need to learn how to enter new markets, get funding, get support from the government or master managing long-distance, International Business Basics will help you figure it out.

To “borrow” some questions from the authors, if you’re wondering:

  • Am I up for the challenge of expanding internationally?
  • Do I have the right people in place?
  • Is it the right time?
  • What’s the logical location for expansion?
  • What are the costs involved?
  • Where do I begin?

you need to read this book.

Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder ($29.95)

By Jim Clifton and Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal

This book written by Jim Clifton, the chairman and CEO of Gallup, and Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal, the primary researcher of entrepreneurship and job creation at Gallup, starts with the premise “Only entrepreneurs can save America and the world.”

The book’s goal (as well as the goal of an assessment you can subsequently take) is to “find future business-builders early and help them succeed.” As part of Gallup’s research, they’ve identified 10 talents that highly successful entrepreneurs possess:

  1. Business focus
  2. Confidence
  3. Creative thinker
  4. Delegator
  5. Determination
  6. Independent
  7. Knowledge-seeker
  8. Promoter
  9. Relationship-builder
  10. Risk-taker

This book will help you assess your skills and tell you what you don’t know. It’s a quick but powerful read.

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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.