Best Business Books 2008 – Readers’ Choice

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Editor’s Note:  This inauspicious exercise below was the genesis for our Small Business Book Awards.  Since the very beginning of this site, we’ve written about business books (at last count we’ve reviewed over 800 books).  One day on Twitter back in 2008 I decided to ask people for their suggestions of the best business books.  We have preserved this post as part of our company history — and because the following contains a selection of excellent books.  All are still in print or Kindle versions. Where there are updated editions, we’ve replaced the images and links with more current information as of January 2019.

2008 Readers’ Choice Business Books

Here at Small Business Trends we just love business books.  They are a low cost way to sharpen your skills and widen your horizons. In a small business they are especially valuable, because you may not have the time or budget to travel to business conferences.

I thought it would be fun to ask for input into the top business books for 2008. So I polled people on the social media site Twitter, and chose 10 responses. While not all books were new to 2008, they certainly look to be valuable.

Without further delay, here are the Small Business Trends Readers’ Choice Nominees for 10 Best Business Books, 2008 edition:

Eat That Frog Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy.

We love this book on how to stop procrastinating. Procrastination is a mental block.  For many reasons we put something off, and it causes stress in the process. After a while the guilt weighs on us. It gets harder and harder to start that project that’s always in the back of your mind. This book can help.

Nominated by Marianne Mullen (@polkadotpatch), proprietor of Poldadot Patch Boutique. A “must read for any small biz owner who has a never ending to do list.”

Web Analytics an Hour a Day

Web Analytics, An Hour A Day by Avinash Kaushik.

Most people install an analytics program, such as Google Analytics, and then never use it well.  Why? We don’t know what to do with the data. This is a fantastic book by someone who has become an expert in using — really using – analytics tools.

There’s an updated book called Web Analytics 2.0 that might be a better bet now.  Read our review of Web Analytics 2.0.

Nominated by John Joyce (@johnmjoyce) of

Hot Flat and Crowded Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew by Thomas Friedman.

Are you concerned about our environment?  Do you want to know more about sustainability?  This is a good starting point that will, frankly, scare you a bit.

And it might also inspire you in personal life and also in your business life, to focus on sustainability.

Nominated by Jesse Schumacher (@jschumac) who says “renewable environmental technologies are the new big economic opps.”

Execution Revolution by Gary HarpstSix Disciplines Execution Revolution: Solving the One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier by Gary Harpst.

This book is about real world business.  Not trendy tech startups in Silicon Valley.

It’s about starting and growing a business to be profitable — and doing it anywhere.  And solving problems by executing with discipline.

Nominated by Skip Reardon (@sreardon) of Be Excellent. Read my review of Execution Revolution here.

No BS Marketing to the Affluent No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent: The No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners Guide to Getting Really Rich by Dan S. Kennedy.

Dan Kennedy is a marketer extraordinaire.  Indeed he is a marketing guru of gigantic fame in marketing circles.

This is one of Kennedy’s “No BS” series of books.  He has a “No BS Guide to Direct Marketing.”  There’s a “No BS Guide to Maximum Referrals.”  And several more.

Nominated by Tim Johnson (@Tim_Johnson).


The Breakthrough Imperative The Breakthrough Imperative: How the Best Managers Get Outstanding Results by Mark Gottfredson and Steve Schaubert.  This is a management book.  And who couldn’t benefit from becoming a better manager?

And what small business couldn’t benefit from have a management team that gets sterling results?

The authors break it down into four simple rules that separate the great managers who get results — from the rest.

Nominated by Todd Sattersten (@toddsattersten).


Plan as You Go Business Plan by Tim Berry

The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan is by Tim Berry, fondly referred to as the father of the modern business plan.

Nominated by Chelle Parmele who writes for Palo Alto Software’s BPlans site  (@cparmele).  She says, “I’m rather fond of [it] … but I might be a little biased. 😉 ”

Yep, I’m rather fond of it too, Chelle.

Read more about The Plan as You Go Business Plan here.


Back of the Napkin

The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam.

This book poses simple methods – back of the napkin simple — for solving problems in business.

Nominated by Chad Gardner of PaySimple (@chadgardner).

Chad says, “I loved it …. We had some fun with our company vision and eventually made a post about it.”


Street Smarts by Bo Burlingame

Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham.

The authors also have written column in Inc magazine for years, called Street Smarts.

Originally this book in hardcover was titled “The Knack.”

The updated version shown for Kindle is called “Street Smarts”.

Nominated by Brian Moran of Small Business Edge (@BrianMoran) who says “a must read!”


Marketing OutrageouslyMarketing Outrageously Redux: How to Increase Your Revenue by Staggering Amounts, by Jon Spolestra.

This is the updated Kindle version of the original print book.  It is written a renowned marketer who has been called “the best marketer in the world” by leadership guru Tom Peters.

This book is perfect for those without big budgets who aren’t afraid to push the envelope.

Nominated by Jim Kukral (@jimkukral), who says, “every small business owner needs to read it.”


Marketing Strategies for the Home Based Business

And for one bonus choice, my top business book pick for 2008 with a Twitter connection would be:

Marketing Strategies for the Home Based Business by Shirley George Frazier.

The reason I chose this book is that Shirley Frazier is active on Twitter (@ShirleyFrazier) and no doubt was too modest to nominate it herself.

If you run a home-based business (or any microbusiness with 5 or fewer employees), this is a practical on-point marketing book.

Okay, now your turn. Which books would you suggest for the Readers Choice list?

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

22 Reactions
  1. You know, I can’t believe they left out some of the best business books ever written.

    Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath – Communication
    Good to Great by Jim Collins – Business
    Buyology by Martin Lindstrom – Marketing

    Or, if we want to talk about the best business books of this year. I would have to nominate these:

    Tribes by Seth Godin
    Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
    Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
    Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

    The thing about business books is that there are so many of them, but if I had to choose just a few, the above books would be them.

  2. I’m reading Web Analytics right now, and it just a fantastic read! Three days into it and I’ve already made some significant changes to how I approach analytics. Just a WOW book for me right now.

  3. Great idea of a book list for the new year! I will bookmark it and pick the items one by one during the year. I think I will start out with Eat That Frog! I think it could be a good companion to Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. I have read this book several times and my resolution is to really start applying the GTD system to my work-life during this year.

    Derek Halpern: I have heard about Tribes and Talent is Overrated and I will get these books later on. Is Made to Stick in the same field as Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch? I read Good to Great during my studies in Business Administration at Southern New Hampshire University. As an experienced purchaser, I got curious by the title, Buyology…

    I don’t buy into the notion that the so-called global warming is a problem and I see that the rising income level as a long-time effect of the industrial revolution and its great impact of improving our living standard as something good. I see the growth of the population as a huge potential for future new markets. But I want to read Hot, Flat and Crowded anyway due to the fact that I will be involved in renewing the energy sector here in Sweden by supplying the market with new alternatives… I see the opportunities in North America too.

  4. Great list! The Plan-as-go business plan book and the Knack are especially intriging to me, I’ll have to add these to my reading list.

  5. @Martin Made to Stick is about how to communicate ideas so that people remember them. It is a great book and should help you both become a better writer and marketer.

  6. Made to Stick seems a good read Derek. I’ve always wanted to become a good writer and marketer.

  7. Martin Lindeskog


    Thanks for the information. I will get this book too.

  8. As the creator of a business book summary site, Squeezed Books, I’d be curious to hear which of these books are good candidates for summaries, and which should be read in their entirety.

  9. Martin Lindeskog

    David N. Welton,

    My wild guess would be Eat That Frog! and The Plan as You Go Business Plan The Plan-As-You-Go Business with the addendum that you could read more on a blog / website designated for the book.

    By the way: I tried to comment on your online journal, but I got an error message. I want to discuss cross-cultural behaviour with you.

    All the Best,

    Martin Lindeskog – American in Spirit.
    Gothenburg, Sweden.

  10. Excellent list. Thanks for sharing.

  11. There are some interesting books on this list to consider. The Web Analytics book caught my eye first and after reading Andertoons praise of the book, I may need to purchase that one.

  12. Fantastic list. I am definitely going to take a look at Web Analytics after I finish reading Tactical Transparency.

  13. I have to weigh in to say that I am just finishing Norm Brodsky’s The Knack. This is an excellent, well-rounded book that takes you through business issues from start-up to fully matured company. Brodsky certainly has a knack and I am learning many great things through his book and the countless stories he tells to back up his points.

    2 other great books (published in 2007 but read in 2008) are Chet Holmes’ The Ultimate Sales Machine, which is about more than just sales and really helped me to overcome the never ending to do list and get more done every day in my business; and How Toyota Became #1 by David Magee. Lots of great things to be learned from Toyota’s success.

    Thanks for compiling this list.

  14. Thanks everyone for that list. I’ve read several and a few of these are on my list NOW! Thanks Anita

  15. A must read for all businesses of all sizes that want to participate in the new digital age is “GroundSwell”.TWO THUMBS UP and then some. We have also published a recommended reading list on the MediaTrust blog for all aspects of business.

  16. Shirley George Frazier


    I’m honored that my book is on the list, and most of all, I’m thrilled to receive comments and feedback from solo entrepreneurs who benefit from what I share on each page.

    Here’s wishing all of us a healthy and prosperous 2009.

  17. I read ‘The New Rules of Marketing and PR’ by David Meerman Scott over the holiday period and I’ve got to say it’s one of the best business books I’ve read in a while. It’s packed full of real-life case studies and an action plan is also included. Definitely a great read.

  18. Here are two more to add to the list. Both are free. Both can transform any business.
    The first is the “Criteria for Performance Excellence.” Its the book from the Malcolm Baldrige Award. Available for free PDF download at:
    The second is “On The System: The End of the Disorganized-Organization.” Available for free PDF download at:
    If you are a leader of manager who is serious about learning how to transform your disorganized-organization into a finely tuned machine, then these are the books for you.

  19. You did poll but I think there’s been some corkers missed out. I guess because it was just 2008 not everything is going to kick in. I’ve got a few to add which you can click on here. Thx

  20. I’m reading Web Analytics right now, and it just a fantastic read! Three days into it and I’ve already made some significant changes to how I approach analytics. Just a WOW book for me right now

  21. Excellent collection for the time when was made, 🙂