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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 small business owners should read and the lessons you can learn from reading them.

Wicked Strategies: How Companies Conquer Complexity and Confound Competitors ($32.95)

By John C. Camillus

John C. Camillus is a strategic management expert who believes many businesses today face challenges that traditional problem-solving methods cannot fix. Rather, he says, “the challenges we confront are so complex, so intractable, and so threatening...they are best described as ‘wicked’.”

In this book Camillus helps you identify, respond to and even possibly profit from wicked problems by creating wicked strategies to “meet them head-on.” Wicked problems are not minor annoyances—these are the challenges you likely haven’t confronted before, ones that have a wide-reaching effect and have “no demonstrably correct answer.”

Camillus believes to solve problems of this magnitude we need to embrace disruptive technologies, learn to co-create, define your core identity and stop relying on feedback. Instead you need to adopt a “feed-forward” approach.

Why Leaders Fail: And the 7 Prescriptions for Success ($27.95)

By Peter B. Stark and Mary C. Kelly

Can anyone be a leader? While many think the answer is “yes,” co-authors and leadership development and corporate training coaches Peter B. Stark and Mary C. Kelly say that’s the wrong answer. They say that just because someone can accomplish small tasks doesn’t mean he or she can lead.

Instead the authors argue that strong leaders are able to build relationships with followers and can propel a business toward great achievement. They say there are seven common reasons why some managers succeed, while others fail. Each chapter in the book focuses on a specific behavior that undermines leadership and offers a “prescription for success” and seven tips that can immediately be implemented to fix the deficiency.

You’ll even get free access to a personalized leadership assessment so you can learn about your own strengths and weaknesses and take action to become a true leader.

Soul Over Matter: Ancient and Modern Wisdom and Practical Techniques to Create Unlimited Abundance ($24.95)

By Dr. & Master Shi Gang Sha and Adam Markel

Adam Markel is an attorney and entrepreneur who collaborated with Tao master Dr. and Master Shi Gang Sha to create this combination of ancient Eastern and modern Western wisdom to help you achieve financial success.

The book addresses a variety of financial topics including how to transform your finances and business, the concept of soul marketing and how to create an abundant life.

The authors include a lot of exercises you can do to help start you down this path to a more secure financial future. This book isn’t for everyone—there’s a lot of talk about karma and mentions of sacred phrase. But there’s also plenty of business advice, such as a discussion about the Gretzky Principle, named for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, who had a preternatural ability to anticipate where the puck was going to be. The ability to look and plan ahead for where you want to be is crucial to the success of your financial future.

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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.