7 Best Business Books for Summer Reading

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The weather is finally warm enough to where I’ve created my outdoor patio space.  And that means that it’s summer reading time!  A cool drink, my feet up and I’m going to be reading these books all summer long.  The Small Business Trends Book Review team has already read and reviewed some of them and others are currently on our reading list.

So take a look at these short write-ups and see if they belong on your summer business book list as well.



Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work 
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath 

best business booksI was lucky enough to see Dan Heath (@Heathbrothers) speak about the insightful and simple decision making process that anyone can use for both personal and business decisions.  In fact, that’s where I got my copy of this book.

Like their previous books; Made to Stick and Switch, Decisive is written in an engaging style that’s easy to read. Decisive is loaded with lots of wonderful examples of familiar brands and how they made both good and bad decisions.  Here’s a teaser – Remember the old story about David Lee Roth and his insane request for having all the brown M&Ms removed?  It’s true.

But you’ll want to read the book to find out the method behind the madness.



Contagious: Why Things Catch On 
by Jonah Berger 

best business booksAn enthusiastic referral from a fellow business book junkie convinced me to buy this book by Jonah Berger (@J1Berger) and I have been referring it to anyone who asked me about how to generate word-of-mouth for their business.

This is a fabulous summer read because it has all the ingredients – fun stories about brands you’ve heard of and other small businesses that have creatively tripped the triggers that make us want to share and spread the word about businesses and products we love.



What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences
by Brian Solis

best business booksBrian Solis (@BrianSolis) is at it again.  The Future of Business is the ideal summer read because it’s what I call a “thinking book.”  This is a beautiful hardbound book with plenty of full-color graphics that illustrate Solis’ points about the ongoing and increasing importance of creating meaningful experiences for your customers that gets them hooked and keeps them coming back for more.

Here are just a few of the points you’ll ponder: Why experiences matter to your nosiness, what’s the importance of brand in a world of “Digital Darwinism” and how to marry customer experience with leadership.

Definitely a book loaded with big thoughts for small business.



Rock Your Business: What You and Your Company Can Learn from the Business of Rock and Roll
by David Fishof and Michael Levin

best business booksWhat’s summer without Rock ‘n’ Roll?  I’m not even going to contemplate it.  Instead, I’m going to sit down and read my review copy of Rock Your Business.  David Fishof (@DFishof) is the Founder of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camps that have been a huge hit with music fans who dream of getting on stage with their favorite rock stars.

In this hot summer read, you’ll pick up the strategies that rock stars use to launch them from garage band to household name.  Rock Your Business covers all the business basics, from how to create a business plan to writing out the perfect pitch.

What can be better than using your love of rock and roll to grow your business?



Stiletto Network: Inside the Women’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business
by Pamela Ryckman

best business booksIf you’re a guy, you’re probably thinking about passing on this book.  I can respect that.  But Stiletto Network brings to light a very interesting trend; women collaborating, working together and leveraging their collective wisdom to succeed both individually and together.

I’m not at all prudish, but I have to admit that some of these women’s networking group names really piqued my interest; “Power Bitches,” “Brazen Hussies,” and “S.L.U.T.S (Successful Ladies Under Tremendous Pressure).  With names like that, can you really afford to ignore their impact on small business?

Pamela Rykman (@Pamela Ryckman) is a New York Times author.  So you know the writing is good and engaging.  If you’re a woman business owner, you might be inspired to start your own brain trust.  And the guys will certainly get a peek inside what my husband likes to call “The Women’s Mysteries” – of business.



Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs
by Larry Keeley, Helen Walters, Ryan Pikkel and Brian Quinn

best business booksThis is yet another beautifully designed book, full of colorful graphics that enhance the content and make it a lot easier to read and understand.  I really love the principle of this book that innovation and success happen by design.

The authors, who are highly qualified strategists, prove their knowledge inside the pages of this book.  Innovation is a complex topic and the text and graphics guide the reader through the authors process rather effortlessly.

This is a highly heady topic brought down to earth in manageable, understandable and doable chunks.



Whiteboard Selling: Empowering Sales Through Visuals
by Corey Sommers and David Jenkins

best business booksHow many times have you heard that PowerPoint is “out?”  Whiteboard Selling is saying exactly that, but not because PowerPoint is bad, but because PowerPoint can disconnect you from engaging with your customers.

The authors point out how powerful standing in front of a whiteboard can be in building the relationship between salesperson and customer.  More importantly than the message, however, is the fact that this book also offers mini tutorials and training on how to use the whiteboard in a variety of selling situations to pull out specific customer needs.

I received a review copy of this book but would have bought it on my own.  In fact, if you’re a fan of Back of the Napkin  and Blah Blah, Blah, this is a book you’ll want to read as well.

There you have my summer business book reading list.  What’s on your reading list this summer?

16 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

16 Reactions

  1. Shawn Hessinger

    Love your outdoor patio space, Ivana, and the books you’ve chosen to enjoy there. Got to put these on my list.

    • Hey Shawn – I’m glad you like the space- I totally wasn’t kidding either. That’s exactly where these books get read in the summer. Now, if only we’d have some more sunshine!

  2. Ivana,

    I have a big problem with your post.

    I don’t know what book to start reading first.

    The Franchise King®

  3. Hey Joel – I had problem with that as well. I think I can probably make a list of 20 or more books – but I decided to pick these because they all had some sort of summer flavor; serious, not too serious – some are truly beautiful books that are a feast for the eyes as well as for the brain. Good Luck choosing.

  4. Martin Lindeskog

    Ivana:

    I am will finish The Republic of Tea during the summer. I have ordered Colonel Sanders and the American Dream. I am a fan of Back of the Napkin, so I have to get Whiteboard Selling.

    Do you drink tea when you are reading books?

  5. As documented by executive surveys run by global consultants, many companies cannot innovate competitively because they are hamstrung by a “traditional management system”.

    In my new book I present an innovative and a comprehensive approach that lets the leadership evaluate their innovation capabilities, and to review the management system in place, and then I propose a 5 step program to implement the transformation.

    This book, now available at the main on-line bookstores, has been targeted at the consultants that are called to help business leaders transform their organization, and at the academics that teach a course on the management of innovation and on the innovation of the management.

  6. Ivana…

    Another great book to add to this list is The Facts of Business Life by Bill McBean. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and immediately put into place his 7 facts. I passed the book to my mentor and they are also very excited about reading it.

    Liz Anne

  7. This is a really nice mix of books and I’ve added a couple to my reading list. Thank you. I would add The Institute Way from The Balanced Scorecard Institute. Easily the best book on business strategy and management that I have read in recent years.

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