The 55 Best Books for Small Business Owners

There are hundreds of great business books that can teach you the ropes, help you understand a specific industry better, start a business, market your business or even raise funds. The list seems never ending, and more books and are being written everyday giving “expert” advice. The best business books help you success by inspiring you and motivating you. So find the books that are most applicable to you and your industry, read them and take the necessary steps towards wealth and success. To help you weed through the shelves we have chosen 55 books every business owner should read.

When looking to start a business you definitely need to do your research. Information on business spans from starting a business, to motivating your employees and marketing your products or services. Every potential business owner should do the necessary research so that they have a broad understanding of their industry.

Top Books for Entrepreneurs

Starting a business takes a lot of skill, expertise and hard work, at the very least. New entrepreneurs could definitely benefit from a “How-To Business-Plan” type of book that lays out the benefits and specifics of writing up a business plan as well as give you a road map of what to expect when starting your own business. Here are a few great picks that can help you lay out your business goals and plan and successfully implement them.

1. The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything (2004) by Guy Kawasaki

2. The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company (1992) by Jack Stack

3. Growing A Business (1987) by Paul Hawken

4. Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Don’t (2007) by Chip and Dan Heath

5. Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success (1996) by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg

6. On Competition (2008) by Michael Porter

7. Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time (1997) by Howard Schultz and Dori Jones Yang

8. The Tipping Point (2000) by Malcolm Gladwell

9. Mastering the Rockefeller Habits (2002) by Verne Harnish

10. The Four Steps to the Epiphany (2013) by Steven Blank

11. Your Idea, Inc. (2009) by Sandy Abrams

12. Ride Like A Penguin (2010) by Nicole Donnelly

Business Books to Read about Funding and Accounting

Small business owners have many options when it comes to funding their ventures. Having tips and advice from successful entrepreneurs who have already gone through the funding process can greatly help you understand the pros and cons of express loans, SBA loans, and merchant cash advances. When it comes to accounting, these books can help breakdown what type of system you should use, how you should file your taxes and whether or not you should handle the accounting yourself or contract out.

1. How To Win Friends & Influence People (1936) by Dale Carnegie

2. Never Eat Alone and other secrets to success, one relationship at a time by Keith Ferrazzi

3. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

4. Delivering Happiness (2010) by Tony Hsieh

5. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (2012) by Peter L. Bernstein

6. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (1995) by Michael Gerber

7. The Wealth of Nations (1776) by Adam Smith

Books on Marketing a Business

Marketing is an extremely critical part of every business. Marketing efforts drive sales and turn your business into a brand. These days marketing options range from social media platforms like FacebookandInstagram to SEO and content marketing, the possibilities are almost endless!

1. The Fire Starter by Danielle LaPorte

2. Ongilvy on Advertising (1983) by David Ogilvy

3. Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Became a Volunteer Sales Force (2002) by Ben McConnell

4. The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing (2000) by Emanuel Rosen

5. Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends by Tim Sanders

6. All Marketers Are Liars (2005) by Seth Godin

7. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (1997) by Harry Beckwith

8. Lovemarks by Kevin Roberts

9. The Referral Engine: Teaching your Business to Market Itself by John Jantsch

10. GroundSwell by Josh Bernoff

11. Purple Cow (2003) by Seth Godin

12. The New Rules of Marketing & PR (2009) by David Meerman Scott

13. How to Market to People Not Like You (2011) by Kelly McDonald

4. Launch (2011) by Michael Stelzner

Books on Motivation and Leadership

A great company requires superior leadership and an innovative atmosphere that motivates its employees make them the best.

1. The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries

2. Good to Be Great (2001) by Jim Collins

3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) by Stephen Covey

4. Good To Great (2001) by James Collins

5. Blink (2005) by Malcolm Gladwell

6. Drive (2009) by Daniel H. Phink

7. The 4-Hour Work Week (2007) by Timothy Ferriss

8. The $100 Startup (2012) by Chris Guillebeau

9. Enchantment (20ll) by Guy Kawasaki

10. The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle’s-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management, Fads and Other Workplace Afflictions (1996) by Scott Adams

11. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (1999) by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

12. The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn To Handle Whatever Comes Up (2008) by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham

13. Personal History (1997) by Katharine Graham

14. What Management Is: How It Works and Why It’s Everyone’s Business (2012) by Joan Magretta and Nan Stone

15. The Wisdom of Crowds (2004) by James Surowiecki

16. The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (2008) by Mike Michalowicz

17. Rework (2010) by David Heinemeier Hanson

Books on Business Ethics>

Wealth and success are generally the stick upon which a company is measured, however these days a business is also judged based on its mission statement and the general morality they encourage among their employees and clients. As a business owner the best thing you can do for your company is implement strong values; that way your employees will feel valued and your clients will feel trusting.

1. Green To Gold (2006) by Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston

2. Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organization (1998) by Thomas A. Stewart

3. Let My People Go Surfing (2005) by Yvon Choulnard

4. Small Giants (2005) by Bo Burlingham

5. The Go-Giver (2008) by Bob Burg and John David Mann

By taking the time to read some of these books, and the new ones that come out every day you can learn to be a more effective leader and run your business more smoothly. Research and knowledge highly influences how you operate and is critical for success. Intellectual curiosity is what inspired you to start your own business in the first place! No one knows everything, but it never hurts to constantly be on the lookout for new information, you can never know too much

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