Best Books for Small Business Owners

By Megan Glosson

August 27, 2021

Best Books Small Business Owners

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Thanks to the internet, starting your own business is easier than ever before. Because of this, it’s probably no surprise that 31.7 million small businesses exist in the United States alone. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of those small business owners.

Whether you’re ready to start your business from scratch or raise your company to the next level, you’ll likely want to read the best books for small business owners so you can prepare yourself to achieve your goals. However, there are literally thousands of titles that claim to be the best business books for beginners—so how do you know which one to read first? 

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

There’s a reason why this classic from Stephen R. Covey appears on so many lists of book recommendations—it’s just that good. 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provides holistic solutions for personal and professional problems. With step-by-step suggestions for creating an environment that thrives on fairness, honesty, and integrity, this book is one of the best books for small business owners who want to develop a healthy work environment.

This bestseller has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since 1989, and even though it’s over 30 years past it’s initial publication, the content is still highly relevant for all types of managers and business executives.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Once you read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, you’ll see why it’s sold more than 30 million copies since it’s initial release. Carnegie, a successful salesman turned public speaker, compiled years of seminars into a single book that teaches you how to get people to like you and convince them that your reasoning is correct. You’ll also learn about how to change others without causing resentment and, at the end of the day, win people over with charisma.

While the general premise of this book is applicable to nearly anyone, it’s hands down an essential read for small business owners and a great book for business beginners. It provides an amazing framework for effective leaders to follow, and it can help managers and business owners effectively connect with employees and business partners without coming across as offensive or snide. 

Grit by Angela Duckworth

Many business beginners think that their talent and innovation will make their company successful. However, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth analyzed multiple studies that say talent alone isn’t enough to breed long-term success. In her book Grit, Duckworth explains that people need passion, persistence, and perseverance to reach their long-term goals.

Using this knowledge, entrepreneurs and business owners can shape their short-term and long-term goals to align with the mindset that setbacks happen, and it’s up to them as individuals to push through difficult moments to come out stronger on the other side. In other words, small business owners need a growth mindset to maximize their potential so they don’t quit before their company has a chance to thrive.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini

Any good business owner needs to know how to persuade their customers, and Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is the perfect book to help small business owners learn how to do just that.

In this book, Cialdini provides business owners with valuable information on the six universal principles of persuasion. He also explains how business owners can use these principles to influence customer behavior and protect themselves from subconscious persuasion from other sources. While this may sound too good to be true, Cialdini provides 35 years of evidence-based scientific research to back up every single piece of advice he provides. 

Whether you’re just starting out or looking for advice on how to really tap into your customer base, chances are Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion will help maximize your sales.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Entrepreneur Eric Ries says that most of the common errors beginning business owners make can easily be prevented—they just need the knowledge to help them survive. In The Lean Startup, Ries explains how small business owners can test their visions and adapt ineffective plans before their company falls. Because of this, it’s one of the best business books for beginners who don’t want to fall victim to major losses that may cost them their entire livelihood.

Because of the fresh approach it provides, The Lean Startup is gaining momentum with business owners across the globe, and Ries’ practical advice is changing the way companies operate all over the place. With the Lean Startup approach, entrepreneurs and seasoned executives alike are looking at their day-to-day operations with a fresh pair of eyes and making changes they feel will ultimately benefit their business.

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

Known as “the world’s number one small business guru,” entrepreneur and coach Michael Gerber delivers over 40 years of expertise to your fingertips in his series of E-Myth books. In this top-selling book for the series, The E-Myth Revisited, Gerber breaks down the most common myths about starting a business and walks you through the business lifecycle so you can grow your business in a productive way. 

While this title is hands down one of the best business books for beginners, it’s a great title for seasoned entrepreneurs to sift through as well. In fact, this “small business owner Bible” can help you learn how to move from working “in” your business to working on the business in a way that will bring your company to the next level.

After reading this book, your whole perspective on owning a business will change—and so will your company’s day-to-day operations.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

Entrepreneur and digital marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk knows more than a thing or two about starting a business in our modern, social media-driven world. In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Vaynerchuk shares what he’s learned about connecting with customers and beating the competition out with content that not only matters, but adapts well onto social media platforms so you can ultimately drive up your engagement.

Most reviews rave about the way in which Vaynerchuk provides lots of practical, amazing tips to readers without losing them in complex rhetoric that goes over a beginning entrepreneur’s head. What’s more, it’s definitely one of the best books for small business owners to read if they’d like to focus their energy into boosting their social media presence because it’s filled with so much valuable information about each specific social media platform.

While you’re at it, you should also take a look at one of Vaynerchuk’s other New York Best Sellers like Crushing It! or The Thank You Economy.

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Can companies that don’t instantly take off or appear great right away succeed in the long-term? According to Jim Collins, the answer is yes.

In Good to Great, Collins shares what notable companies around the world have done to make themselves stand out from the competition and make the leap from good to great. Collins also highlights what companies need to do to not only achieve greatness, but sustain it for decades. 

Final Thoughts

All of these best books for small business owners have something valuable to offer, regardless of your business sense and prior experience. With the knowledge and decades of successful experience these authors have, you can gather all the information you need to make sure your business not only succeeds, but succeeds in every possible way.

All the knowledge you need is at your fingertips—it’s up to you to take the next step for your business (and yourself).

Looking for more books to read that will also help you improve some skills? Here are over 35 of the best books to help you up your writing game!

Author Bio

Megan Glosson is a mother and freelance writer based Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoys writing on a variety of parenting topics, but loves taking on anything with a personal connection to her own life. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Megan building Legos or playing board games with her two adorable daughters. To check out more of Megan’s work or to contact her about freelance opportunities, visit

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