When I think about all the business books I’ve read, I realize how much I’ve learned. David Meerman Scott opened my eyes to content marketing long before it became a buzzword with his bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR . Susan Friedman taught me that it’s better to be a big fish in a tiny pond in Riches in Niches .
You can imagine how much fun I have working as Communications Manager for the Small Business Book Awards  each year. I’m surrounded by the very best books published the year before! I don’t even have to hunt for the books that will make an impact on my business; they’ve already been nominated.
I wanted to look at this year’s nominees and share some of the lessons these books have taught us. If you haven’t read some of these, put them on your must-read list.
Lesson 1: Don’t Let Email Run Your Life
We know we should check our email less, yet few of us have actually made strides in this productivity-reducer. Thank goodness Joost Wouters, author of The 15-Minute Inbox , has a process anyone can follow. If you feel like a “reactive firefighter” when trying to cut through your masses of emails, reading this will turn you into a “proactive business builder” and help you get back to business.
Lesson 2: Market Less, Not More
Despite the fact that content marketing has been around a while, many people try too hard, resulting in customers feeling like businesses are cramming messages down their throats. In Epic Content Marketing , Joe Pulizzi (who knows his stuff) shows readers how content, delivered to the right person at the right time, can capture the hearts of your audience.
Lesson 3: You Control How Profitable You Are (or Aren’t)
It’s too easy to throw our hands up when our businesses don’t make money and say “it’s not in the cards,” but Ruth King, author of The Courage to Be Profitable , won’t accept your excuses. She provides tips you can manage in 30 minutes a month. Who can’t devote that to increasing profits?
Lesson 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Entrepreneurs often fear failure above all, but in Fail Fast. Succeed Faster , we learn from some of the most successful business folks around that the sooner you fail, the quicker you can shed bad ideas and strategies.
Lesson 5: You Could Learn a Lot (About Business) from a Monk
Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks  shows us that inspiration for successful businesses comes in the least likely of sources. Author August Turak studies how Trappist monks at Mepkin Abbey apply solid business strategies for their own business endeavors, and how others can learn from them.
Lesson 6: We Can’t Ignore Big Data Anymore
Another buzzword many of us have chosen to ignore is “Big Data.” What is it, and why should businesses care? Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think  answers those questions, and the answers might surprise you.
Lesson 7: Marketing Your Own Book Is Easier Than You Think
If the idea of writing a book and then marketing it to sell more copies is daunting to you, pick up a copy of Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies . Even if marketing is a foreign language to you, this book will help you build a strategy around marketing your book. Now all you need to do is write the book!
Lesson 8: It’s Not Always About Being Successful
Even the most successful entrepreneur often feels unfulfilled. Make A Difference: From Being Successful to Being Significant is a business novel that provides the groundwork to make a positive impact on the world around you, not just your bottom line.
Lesson 9: You Can Break Out of Corporate America
If you’ve only ever dreamed of starting a business, Freedom From Bosses Forever  will empower you to finally make a move. While it’s peppered with humor, it’s a serious take on how to break out of the 9-to-5 syndrome and start something for yourself.
Lesson 10: There are Always More Amazing Business Books Out There
I can’t cover all the amazing nominees for this year’s Small Business Book Awards , but I encourage you to check out this year’s list and contribute your own. Think about those books that have made a difference to you and nominate them.
Join Us for a Discussion!
I’d also like to invite you to the upcoming Google Hangout, Best Small Business Books , on April 2, 2014, at 11 am Pacific (2 pm Eastern). I’ll be there, along with Small Business Trends Book Editors Ivana Taylor and Pierre DeBois, as we discuss some of the awesome books we’ve reviewed for Small Business Trends.
We want to hear from other entrepreneurs — like you! Share your favorite books and book resources with us, and why. Hope to see you there!
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