These 6 Books Will Make You a Better Small Business Owner

Written by | Entrepreneurship

“He that loves reading has everything within his reach.” – William Godwin

Many service businesses are started by technicians who are longing for something more in their career and the usual path to becoming a service tech doesn’t include an MBA. It’s not a surprise anymore that a lot of today’s entrepreneurs actually don’t have an MBA, a business degree or even a college degree for that matter, and are motivated to teach themselves or get as much work experience as they can. On that note, we’ve compiled the top six books that will help you bridge the gap to becoming an uber-successful small business owner.

 1. Build the Fort by Chris Heivly

Why 5 Simple Lessons You Learned as a 10-Year-Old Can Set You Up for Startup Success

Heivly, the founder of MapQuest and the Startup Factory (a startup investor and mentorship program), uses his childhood pastime of fort-building as an analogy for how he built two wildly successful businesses. Heivly touches on five main elements to successful business (and fort) building:

1. Socializing your idea without fear
2. Identifying and marshaling the people you trust
3. Gathering the minimal resources closest to you
4. Acting on the smallest and simplest of the idea
5. Building the fort

Build the Fort is your chance to learn from someone with 30 years of startup, investing and business experience.

2. The E-Myth by Michael Gerber

Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

The E-Myth (entrepreneurial myth) is that small businesses are started by entrepreneurs who that are risking capital to create a profitable business. Michael Gerber knew this wasn’t true because most businesses are started by technical professionals with little to no formal business training, so he created E-Myth Worldwide, a company that provides help and coaching to technical professionals who are trying to start a business or need help making a current one successful. If you don’t know the difference between working on your business and working in your business, this book is for you.


3. The Power of Broke by Daymond John

How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage

Daymond John, a billionaire investor, fashion icon, mogul and “shark” on the popular hit ABC reality show Shark Tank, gives insights on how to build a successful business with no money. Mark Cuban, fellow shark, billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks says that John “knows the difference between a want-repreneur and an entrepreneur” and that he knows how to make things happen. John built his empire from the streets of Hollis, Queens and he shares secrets from other visionaries who have made it to the top despite the odds. This book is perfect if you’re questioning your capabilities and need some inspiration or a spark to relight the fire that got you going in the early on.

4. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

After you’ve seen one cow, you’ve pretty much seen them all right? The thrill wears off pretty quickly. But a purple cow? That would probably grab your attention. Godin uses cows as a metaphor for marketing and explains why some businesses grow year over year, practically embarrassing the competition while others fail miserably. A purple cow is something incredible, revolutionary, and counterintuitive and it can’t be inserted into something that exists, it’s either present or it’s not. Godin encourages you to put a purple cow into everything you do, and to not only be different, but remarkable, in order to gain success and maintain it.

“You’re either a purple cow, or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.”

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5. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

If you like to learn from through stories, this is a great read. Livingston collected insights from powerful founders of some of the world’s top companies through interviews with people like Steve Wozniak, the founder of Apple, Max Levchin, the founder of PayPal. The founders share shocking and entertaining learnings they discovered while building their businesses. For example Wozniak says “All the best things that I did at Apple came from (a) not having money and (b) not having done it before, ever.” This book is helpful for anyone wanting to learn from the best in the business.

6. The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

A wealth of street-smart tips that can help you increase productivity with the hours that you spend at the office or in front of your computer. Written by Guinness Tango world record holder, national kickboxing champion, and successful entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss, discusses is methods and insights, which go against the grain and gives actionable tips on how to work less, outsource more, and make it easier to get what you want. If you want to learn why “being busy is a form of laziness, lazy thinking and indiscriminate action” then this book is a must read!

Let us know what you think about these books or share your favorite reads in the comments!

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Last modified: November 28, 2016

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