15 Must-Reads Small Business Owners Can Choose from This Summer



Small Business Summer Reading List: 15 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Pick Up

Summer is often a time of rest and relaxation, with plenty of time to sit out by the pool or on the beach with a good book. It’s no surprise that entrepreneurs fill up their summer reading list with books that will help them run their business better. There are the business classics like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Good to Great, but sometimes business owners can find valuable lessons in an unexpected read. We asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

“What’s one book from your summer reading list that may have insights for small business owners for an unexpected reason? “



Small Business Summer Reading List

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Quiet by Susan Cain

“I’ve been reading Quiet by Susan Cain and it’s all about introverts in a world that celebrates extroversion. As a leader, there are a lot of cues to take to better craft experiences and environments for both.” ~ Darrah Brusteindarrah.co

2. Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters

“I would recommend this book for growing businesses with a founder that makes too many changes too often (like me). It’s all about clarifying the roles of a visionary and an integrator in a business and learning when the founders need to let go for better execution.” ~ Sunny DesaiDesai Hotel Group

3. The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

“Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor, but he was also a Stoic philosopher. His Meditations aren’t a thrill-a-minute read, but they are full of insights that can be useful to entrepreneurs and managers. In stressful times, I often think of this quote: “When anything tempts you to feel bitter: don’t think, ‘This is misfortune,’ but ‘To bear this well is good fortune.’” ” ~ Vik PatelFuture Hosting





4. The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan

“Alex Banayan just released The Third Door, a book that took him seven years to write. I love it because it uncovers scrappy ways of getting to the likes of Bill Gates and Maya Angelou, how each of these “mega successful” people have all consistently found not the front door or the back door, but some “third” side door to bust into an industry or career.” ~ Beck BambergerBAM Communications

5. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog is a memoir by the creator of Nike. It made me realize that even the biggest companies of our time have gone through the same challenges most entrepreneurs face during their formative years.” ~ Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

6. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

“I love how this book outlines ways to make the most of your time, whether it’s during office hours, with friends or with family. Small business owners are notorious for burning the midnight oil trying perfect their businesses, and this book is an inspirational reminder that busyness isn’t the answer, and perfection isn’t attainable. It offers practical and implementable tips to be more present.” ~ Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

7. They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib

“This collection of personal essays illustrates how empathy works. If small business owners set out to solve problems and be a force of change, empathy is the muscle that needs the most exercise. These essays ask the reader to consider what makes the world around us meaningful, using music as its guiding lens. What if we used a similar principle when deciding how we fit into our customers’ lives?” ~ Sean HarperKin Insurance

8. Transform Your Life by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

“This is a book by Buddhist Master Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and it completely changed my approach to both life and work. The focus is on understanding that every experience is a perception of the mind, and that how we feel is based on how we choose to interpret situations. The more positive we are, the happier we become. This has helped keep me happy, which in turn, makes me more productive.” ~ Marcela De VivoBrilliance





9. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Aloneby Brené Brown

“I was inspired by this book’s message of becoming a true individual. More and more people are associating with people who already share their tastes and ideologies, and we see people with different opinions as “other.” She suggests disagreeing with the parts of your “tribe” that you disagree with and being true to yourself, even if it means having to walk alone and brave the wilderness.” ~ Alex FedorovFresh Tilled Soil, LLC

10. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

“Former head negotiator of the FBI Chris Voss’s book “Never Split the Difference” is a great book to read for anyone wanting to learn how to build their negotiation skills. There’s some atypical advice in there that works such as, “the fastest way to getting to yes is by getting to no.” ” ~ Kenny NguyenBig Fish Presentations

11. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Switch shares simple but powerful insights into why it is so hard for people to change their behavior. By sharing takeaways from anecdotes and scientific studies, small business owners can use the shortcuts presented in the book to implement personal change, as well as organizational change.” ~ Stephen BeachCraft Impact Marketing



12. The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin

“This book reveals that people fit into one of the following four tendencies: Questioner, Upholder, Rebel and Obliger. It helps you not only figure out yourself, it also provides insights to others and how they think and what motivates them. This makes it easier for you to work with them and find the best ways to communicate with them based on those qualities.” ~ Vladimir GendelmanCompany Folders, Inc



13. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou is about the collapse and scandal surrounding the biotech company Theranos. It’s an entertaining read, but it’s also important for anyone in business to read as a cautionary tale on what happens when people abandon ethics and run their business in a very secretive way. It’s a good primer on what not to do.” ~ Kalin KassabovProTexting

14. The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

“You wouldn’t think this book would give insight to small business owners, but it does. One part talks about Nietzsche, who proposed that we should see ourselves as gardeners in our life and in leadership. A freshly planted garden doesn’t seem like much, but a gardener knows the potential of it and works to cultivate it into something beautiful. The same can be said for starting a small business.” ~ Brian David CraneCaller Smart Inc.



15. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“I’ve read this book many times, and I plan on rereading it this summer. I love this book, especially for small business owners, because it reminds us never to lose hope. If we work diligently toward a goal, and we believe that we can achieve it, we will get there eventually.” ~ Zachary BurkesPredictable Profits

Photo via Shutterstock





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The Young Entrepreneur Council


The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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