16 Best Books for Small Business Owners

Are you looking for some good books to read? Well, here are what I think are the 16 best books for small business owners.

Small businesses are often overlooked when it comes to finding quality reading material. Whether you want to improve your leadership skills or simply get inspired, these books will help you achieve your goals.

Best Books for Small Business Owners

Whether you run a small business or aspire to do so someday, these books will help inspire you to take action. They cover topics such as marketing, sales, management, leadership, finance, accounting, and more.

There are a few books here that you’ve likely seen on lists like this one, and the truth is I included them because they are long-standing classics – but I have done my best to include more obscure books, too.

Each book on this list is one that I have personally read. Some of these came as recommendations from groups I’m in, and some came from fellow solopreneurs. I make it a point to read at least one book a month, to help me further my knowledge and skillset.

Personally, I struggle with reading paperback books these days, because of eyesight and posture issues. That’s why I really enjoy audiobooks. I listen as I wind down for the evening, while I’m waiting for doctor’s appointments, and sometimes when I’m in the shower, thanks to my waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Audiobooks help me feel productive during times when reading a physical book just isn’t practical.

1. We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers

We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers

In her book, Rachel Rodgers shares her personal story of how she went from being broke and in debt to becoming a millionaire. She provides advice for women on how to take control of their finances and make money work for them.

Rodgers offers tips on saving money, investing, and creating passive income streams. She also discusses the importance of having a positive mindset when it comes to money and wealth. We Should All Be Millionaires is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their financial situation.

Fair warning – this one will piss you off a bit – but only because Rachel outlines all the systemic bullshit women have dealt with – how we’ve only been able to get credit cards and bank accounts of our own for about 50 years, how we still earn less on the dollar compared to men, etc. It was maddening to know how we’ve been held down – but Rachel shares that data to help us light a fire and keep that rage fueling million-dollar decisions.

Turns out, I’d been making million-dollar decisions instead of broke ass decisions for a while now – I just didn’t know it. Like the decision to hire a cleaning service because I can make more money in the time it takes to clean my house than what I pay for it to be done? And because I save my back in the process, I save myself pain and leave time for things that make me happy.

2. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Atomic Habits by James Clear

In Atomic Habits, James Clear lays out a plan for developing good habits and breaking bad ones. The book is based on scientific research, and Clear makes a compelling case for why habits matter. He provides clear instructions on how to form new habits and overcome obstacles.

Clear’s advice is based on four principles: make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying. To form a new habit, you need to make it as easy as possible to do the desired behavior and as difficult as possible to do the undesired behavior. You also need to find a way to make the new habit satisfying.

One of the best things about Atomic Habits is that it’s applicable to so many different areas of life. Whether you’re trying to eat better, exercise more, or get more work done, Clear has tips that will help you succeed.

In full transparency – I didn’t read this one for business purposes – I read it for health purposes. I have a lot of issues with food and trying to build healthier habits. My motivation stays in place for a few weeks, and if I don’t get results, I get pissed and give up. So, this book really helped me reframe some stuff there to reach my goals. I’m still nowhere near the final goal, but progress – not perfection.

But for those of us who are trying to get away from the grind of the 40-hour work week – it often means working 60 hours a week or more to get our own businesses off the ground until we can quit the day job, which is why habits are so important.

3. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, and Emily Gregory

Crucial Conversations

The book Crucial Conversations focuses on the importance of conversations in relationships. It outlines a step-by-step process for having difficult conversations with loved ones, co-workers, or anyone else with whom you want to improve your relationship. The book teaches that by approaching these conversations in a specific way, you can avoid damaging your relationship and achieve a better outcome.

I actually found this book because my partner went to an employer-sponsored training to help with management. What I love about this one is it is applicable in all areas of your life, but if you’re shy and non-confrontational like me, it can help give you the tools to have those tough conversations with clients and people you may bring on to help you in your business. It is vital if you’re looking for help with conflict resolution, no matter the source of conflict.

4. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Dr. Jean Greaves

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

The book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, is a guide to help people develop their emotional intelligence. The book outlines four Conversations of Emotional Intelligence, which are: understanding emotions, managing emotions, communicating emotions, and inspiring emotion in others. The Conversations of Emotional Intelligence are essential for developing strong relationships.

These are:

  • Understanding Emotions
  • Managing Emotions
  • Communicating Emotions

5. She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas Into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur by Carrie Green

She Means Business

This is one of the first books I read about becoming an entrepreneur because I was familiar with her from the Female Entrepreneur Association. It’s all about how to start and grow a successful business. Green provides readers with a wealth of information, including tips on generating ideas, creating a business plan, building a brand, and more. There’s an excellent workbook you can print and fill out to help you.

She also offers advice to those who are struggling or have failed in the past. Overall, the book is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs of all levels. It’s available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.

6. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Wook Week

Do you want to work less and live more? If so, the 4-Hour Work Week may be the book for you. Written by Tim Ferriss, this guidebook offers tips and tricks on how to reduce your workload and enjoy life more. According to Ferriss, the key to a less stressful life is doing what you love. He encourages readers to find their passion and figure out a way to make a living from it.

If that’s not possible, he recommends outsourcing some of your responsibilities to others. Ferriss also stresses the importance of taking time for yourself – something that can be hard to do when you’re bogged down with work. With these tips, Ferriss promises that you can have the best of both worlds: a thriving career and a relaxed lifestyle.

7. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Foreleo

Everything is Figureoutable

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? That despite your best efforts, you can’t seem to get ahead or make any real progress in your life? If so, you’re not alone. According to Marie Forleo, the bestselling author of “Everything is Figureoutable,” this is a common phenomenon that almost everyone experiences at some point. The good news is that there’s a solution: you just need to learn how to think differently about your situation.

In her book, Forleo argues that we all have the power to create the lives we want, as long as we’re willing to put in the work. She shares her own story of turning her own business around after being laid off from her job and offers advice on how to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

While I have to admit the title gets on my nerves because “Figureoutable” isn’t a word – I do love the philosophy, and I have changed my mindset when I come up against an obstacle. Rome wasn’t built in a day – and no one’s business empire is either.

Figure it out, one step at a time.

8. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presents a model for personal effectiveness. He argues that the key to being effective is to be proactive, which means taking initiative and not waiting for things to happen. According to Covey, there are seven habits that are essential for becoming highly effective:

  • Be proactive
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Put first things first
  • Think win-win
  • Seek first to understand, then be understood
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the saw

These habits can help people become more effective in all areas of their lives: at home, at work, and in their relationships.

9. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie’s 1936 bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is a self-help book that provides tips for becoming a likable person. Carnegie divides the book into four sections:

  • Understanding others
  • Winning others over
  • Being a leader
  • Putting it all together

Some of Carnegie’s key points are to be interested in others, smile, praise others, make friends first, and be a good listener. He also recommends using flattery sparingly and giving generously of time and sympathy. 

How to Win Friends and Influence People has been reprinted many times and remains popular today because its advice is simple but effective.

10. Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies of the Successful High Earners by Barbara Stanny

Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies of the Successful High Earners by Barbara Stanny

Barbara Stanny’s “Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Strategies of the Successful High Earners” is a guide to earning more money. The book is full of interviews with high earners, who share their tips for success. 

The key lesson is that successful businesswomen don’t just focus on their businesses; they also focus on themselves. They make time for exercise, relaxation, and maintaining healthy relationships. They also make time for learning, networking, and giving back to their communities. 

Another takeaway is that successful businesswomen are relentless in pursuing their goals. They take action and refuse to give up, even in the face of setbacks. And they’re not afraid to take risks. 

If you want to earn more money in your professional life – you can’t skip this one.

11. Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Change Your Life by Nir Eyal

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Change Your Life

If you’re like me – you’re easily distracted by the 57,000 things that need to be done around the house, Facebook, and countless other shiny things that pop up during the day. This book provides strategies for overcoming procrastination and distraction. Eyal offers readers a four-step process for becoming indistractable:

(1) identify your distractions, (2) experiment with different solutions, (3) establish rules for yourself, and (4) cultivate a distraction-free environment.

Eyal provides concrete examples of how to apply these steps in order to overcome chronic procrastination and attention overload. For instance, he recommends establishing specific times to check email or social media in order to avoid getting lost in them throughout the day. He also suggests using an app like Freedom or Self Control to temporarily block access to distracting websites.

I have used several pieces of his advice to systematically build more productivity and less distraction into my day – including my regular use of FocusMate. (He didn’t recommend this in the book, but it is one of the solutions I found to experiment with.} If you click the link, you’ll be able to schedule a session directly with me! You get 3 free sessions a week, and unlimited sessions for $5/month. I’m not an affiliate, but I would be if they had a program. I love it that much!

12. Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media by Brittany Hennessy

Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media

Influencer is a book about how to leverage your personal brand to build a successful career. Brittany Hennesey walks readers through the process of creating and maintaining a strong personal brand, from developing an authentic voice to using social media effectively. She also provides practical advice on networking, negotiating, and managing difficult conversations.

Whether you’re just starting out in your career or looking to take things to the next level, Influencer will show you how to make your mark.

13. Sick Success: The Entrepreneur’s Prescriptions for Turning Pain into Profit and Purpose by Hilary Jastram

Sick Success: The Entrepreneur's Prescriptions for Turning Pain into Profit and Purpose by Hilary Jastram

Sick Success is a book about turning pain into profit and purpose. It is written by Hilary Jastram, an entrepreneur who has turned her own health challenges into a successful business. The book provides readers with practical advice on how to turn their own health problems into opportunities for success.

Jastram’s own story is one of sick success. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 30, and she used her experience to create a successful business helping others with chronic illness. In Sick Success, she provides readers with actionable steps for turning their health challenges into opportunities for growth.

The book is divided into three sections: “The Turning Point,” which looks at how to identify and seize the opportunity; “The entrepreneurial journey,” which provides practical advice for starting and growing a business; and “The power of purpose,” which explores how to turn your health challenge into a source of strength and motivation.

With her signature mix of humor and honesty, Jastram provides readers with an inspirational and practical guide to turning their health challenges into opportunities for success. Sick Success is the perfect book for anyone looking to create a meaningful and successful life despite health challenges.

Disclosure: I happen to know this lovely woman, and was featured as a guest on the now-defunct Sick Biz podcast, many years ago when I first tried to launch this website. Life got in the way and I kick myself when I think about how far along I could be with this venture if I had just done the thing then. Anyway… that’s not at all why I included this book on the list. I loved it, and I feel it is a must-read for any entrepreneur dealing with chronic health issues.

14. Sparked: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work That Makes You Come Alive by Johnathan Fields

Sparked: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work That Makes You Come Alive by Johnathan Fields

Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions at work? Maybe you’re in a job that’s “okay,” but it’s not quite what you’re passionate about. If this sounds familiar, then you need to read Sparked: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work That You Come Alive by Johnathan Fields.

In this book, Jonathan Fields shows readers how to find work that truly sparks their passion. He helps them identify their unique talents and interests, and provides guidance on how to turn those into a career that will make them come alive.

With Jonathan’s help, you’ll finally be able to find work that you love and that makes you excited to get up in the morning. So if you’re ready to find your dream job, then pick up a copy of Sparked today. You won’t regret it.

15. Ditch the Pitch by Steve Yastrow

Ditch the Pitch by Steve Yastrow

Salespeople are always looking for that one perfect pitch that will close the deal. But as Steve Yastrow explains in his book Ditch the Pitch, this quest is ultimately fruitless. Instead of trying to find the perfect pitch, salespeople should focus on building relationships with their customers.

Yastrow argues that the traditional pitch is based on two false assumptions: first, that the customer is interested in what the salesperson has to say; and second, that the salesperson knows what the customer wants or needs. In reality, customers are much more interested in themselves than they are in the sales pitch. And even if a salesperson does know what a customer wants or needs, that doesn’t mean that the customer will believe them.

The solution, according to Yastrow, is to ditch the pitch and focus on building relationships with customers. He recommends that salespeople ask questions and listen to the answers, rather than trying to sell the customer on a product or service. By taking the time to build a relationship, salespeople will be in a much better position to understand the customer’s needs and offer solutions that meet those needs.

If you’re looking for a new approach to sales, Ditch the Pitch is definitely worth a read. Steve Yastrow offers a refreshingly different perspective on how to build relationships with customers and close more sales.

16. Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur: Blueprint for Building a Solid, Profitable Business by Sylvia Inks

Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur: Blueprint for Building a Solid, Profitable Business by Sylvia Inks

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on small business finance, then this is the book for you.

Inks starts by discussing the different types of financing available to small businesses. She then goes on to provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply for and obtain financing. The book also includes case studies of successful entrepreneurs who have used various financing options to grow their businesses.

Inks covers all the major financing options available to small businesses, and provides a step-by-step guide on how to apply for and obtain financing. The book also includes case studies of successful entrepreneurs who have used various financing options to grow their businesses.

Best Books for Small Business Owners: Wrap Up

No matter which one of these business books you start with – make it a point to add the ones that speak to you to your list. Many of these books for entrepreneurs also carry lessons that help us with our personal life, too.

Despite the fact that no two business journeys are the same, these books can help guide you through yours. 

What other business books have you read that should be on this list? Share them with me and other readers below.

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