As a small business owner, there’s always something to learn. You’re likely an expert in the subject matter of your business, but in the course of starting, running, or scaling a business, there are myriad lessons waiting for you. Fortunately, there are people who have done it before, and have taken the time to write down their words of wisdom for you to learn from. Here, in no particular order, are eight books for small business owners.
1. ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by Jason Fried
The founders of software company 37 Signals bring a new perspective to the life of a business owner. In ReWork, they propose an alternative to the 80-hour weeks and traditional trimmings of a small business as they re-think the way you think about work.
2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
A classic written in 1926, The Richest Man in Babylon teaches common sense financial lessons by way of ancient parables.
3. Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson
The life of a business owner is full of change, which can be difficult to manage. Who Moved My Cheese? gives advice on how to anticipate, accept, and handle change in a positive way while running your business.
4. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Another classic, How To Win Friends and Influence People has already taught millions of people around the world how to reach their maximum potential, both within business and in life in general.
5. American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman
The Ford Motor Company has been a example to business owners everywhere for a number of reasons, but American Icon details a less-than-glamorous moment in Ford’s history and the work that got them out of it. An insight on the changes that went into Ford’s turnaround in 2008, this book has been an inspiration to business owners everywhere.
6. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff
In response to the discord between the rapid improvement made to technology and the people it’s meant to serve, Douglas Rushkoff provides a picture of humans and commerce at a key moment in economic history.
7. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Entrepreneurs are, by nature, creative and non-conformist. This book analyzes the impact and crucial contribution of such people on the world.
8. The Spark and the Grind: Ignite the Power of Disciplined Creativity by Erik Wahl
Many struggle to take their brilliant ideas and put them into action, and Erik Wahl addresses this disparity in The Spark and the Grind, which can help any business owner understand how to make their latest idea come to life.
This article was originally written on November 5, 2018 and updated on February 1, 2021.