Jul 07, 2021

The 8 Best Books for Small Business Owners in 2021

As a small business owner, you have approximately 1 million things on your plate each day. So it’s understandable if sitting down to read a good book doesn’t often emerge as a top priority.

But stop the presses because we have an important announcement—reading can actually make you better able to handle all the other duties you must deal with on the daily. So cracking open a book is an investment that can provide a strong return.

“What exactly do human beings get from reading books?” asks health guru Rebecca Joy Stanborough. “Is it just a matter of pleasure, or are there benefits beyond enjoyment? The scientific answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health, and those benefits can last a lifetime. They begin in early childhood and continue through the senior years.”

It’s hard to describe all the benefits of reading, but experts have identified several through research. Highlights include:

Who wouldn’t want these things? It’s as though reading was specifically designed in a lab as a remedy for overworked and overstressed entrepreneurs whose bodies are crying out for help. Many of us would pay thousands of dollars to cure even 1 of the conditions on the list, so it’s incredible to think that we can experience at least a small degree of relief for only the price of a book from your local bookseller.

Bridging Gaps and Bringing Us Together

The best books can actually bring an additional benefit into your life: a higher sense of empathy. In this post-pandemic world, many of us have been shaken from our routines and are mourning the individual losses that have been ushered into our lives. Taking time from our busy days to slow down with a book can offer relief and help you connect better with your colleagues, employees, and customers.

“Getting lost in a good read can make it easier for you to relate to others,” explains health expert Abigail Wise. “Literary fiction, specifically, has the power to help its readers understand what others are thinking by reading other people’s emotions, according to research published in Science. The impact is much more significant on those who read literary fiction as opposed to those who read nonfiction. ‘Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies,’ David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano wrote of their findings.”

If you want to bring energy and optimism back to your business, perhaps a book is just what the doctor ordered. So with that in mind, let’s look at 8 of the best books for small business owners. There are plenty of thrilling novels and other literary works out there, but this list focuses on books that are dedicated to the skills, strategies, and philosophies of entrepreneurs.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Is there a more cliched way to lead this list? Probably not. But there’s a reason that entrepreneurs still lean on Dale Carnegie’s classic book for inspiration. If you aspire to be a better leader and connect with customers on a deeper level, this book offers great suggestions.

2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Running a business requires you to multitask in so many diverse ways that healthy habits within your team are a must. Charles Duhigg digs into the genesis of habits so we have a better understanding of how to nurture and develop them.

3.Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Finding your purpose as a company is a powerful way to help find your purpose on the individual level as well. Simon Sinek’s popular book looks at examples of businesses that are able to drive success through the lasting reasons behind everything they do.

4. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

There are 2 types of people in this world: those who love Seth Godin and those who are irritated by him. This excellent book might help put you in the former camp if you’re not already part of it. You’ll get valuable insights into understanding your customers and building lasting connections.

5. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Successful businesses invest in advertising. And successful advertising is built on brand positioning. Check out the collective wisdom of Al Ries and Jack Trout in this book that has helped many small businesses rise above the competition to truly make their mark on the world.

6. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads

You might never aspire to be a rockstar copywriter, but understanding how to communicate with current and future customers is an essential element of success. Luke Sullivan’s book walks you through every step in the process and helps entrepreneurs craft messages that get results.

7. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Buckle up for a fascinating journey through the evolution of Pixar in this beloved book from Ed Catmull. But this is much more than a history lesson. You’ll get to peek behind the curtain and find out more about the values that have helped the company thrive.

8. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

How you think about your abilities is as important as the abilities themselves, says Stanford psychologist Carol S. Dweck. This book is packed with actionable insights that will help you become a more well-rounded person and business owner.

There’s No Time Like the Present to Get Started

Which of the books on this list most piqued your interest? This is a great time to grab your favorite and get started. All you need to do after that is carve out some time to make your list a reality. Not only could it make you happier and healthier, but your entire business could benefit as well.

About the author

Grant Olsen
Grant Olsen
Grant Olsen is a writer specializing in small business loans, leadership skills, and growth strategies. He is a contributing writer for KSL 5 TV, where his articles have generated more than 6 million page views, and has been featured on FitSmallBusiness.com and ModernHealthcare.com. Grant is also the author of the book "Rhino Trouble." He has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University.

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