Best Business Books 2010: Editors Choice Winners

2010 Small Business Book Awards - SmallBizTrends.comReaders (that’s you!) have already voted on the 2010 Best Business Books — Reader’s Choice Edition.

Now, as the Editors of Small Business Trends, it’s our turn. Below we present the Small Business Book Awards – Editor’s Choice version for books of 2010.

Here at Small Business Trends, we read and review well over 100 business books during the year.  Some are provided by authors in draft form, giving us the opportunity to review and comment on the book before publishing.  Some are sent to us by publishers to review.  Some we purchase ourselves simply because we have heard they are good books and want to read them.

Regardless of how we got the book, what’s most important to us is the overall value the book will bring to small businesses. Are the ideas fresh? Does the book get us to think differently? Do we learn something we didn’t already know? Does it tell us enough, with sufficient detail, that we can put it to work in our businesses? Can the book make a difference to our businesses?

In 2010 there were a lot of excellent books — making it very tough to choose. For purposes of this list, we looked at books published between October 1, 2009 and October 31, 2010.

The following books are NOT in any order. It was challenging enough to whittle the list down from over 100 books we had – putting them in order would have really been tough. Without further ado, the 2010 Small Business Book Awards – Editor’s Choice version.

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Switch by the Heath brothersSwitch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Author: Dan Heath, Chip Heath
Book Site: Switch (Our book review of Switch)

Switch makes the psychology behind how hard it is to change accessible. It demystifies the basic psychological conflicts that can lead to poor choices or derail the most complex business team. It makes its points using narrative, yet the stories are rooted in scholarly sources.

Why We Love It: Switch is a lesson in how to fearlessly take on a challenge, and lead groups through a change. And if change is the one thing we can count on, this book has great ideas, inspiration and examples.

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Built to SellBuilt to Sell: Turn Your Business into One You Can Sell

Author: John Warrillow, Bo Burlingham
Book Site:  Built to Sell (Our book review of Built to Sell)

Are you running a business — or is your business running you? Whether you ever intend on selling your business or not, Built to Sell will turn your business into a money machine that you can either run or sell. John Warillow’s allegorical story about a business owner who transforms his business and himself will inspire you to do the same.

Why We Love It: Behind every profitable business and happy business owner is a systematized, automated money making machine. Built to Sell teaches you how to build your own business system in a fun educational way.

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The 1% Windfall: How Successful Companies Use Price to Profit and Grow

Author: Rafi Mohammed
Book Site: 1% Windfall (Our book review of The 1% Windfall)

“A study by McKinsey and Company of the Global 1200 found that if they increased their prices by just 1%, and demand remained constant, on average each company’s operating profits would increase by 11%.” If you’ve been avoiding pricing, this sentence alone should get you interested. Need to sell more product to existing customers – there’s a pricing strategy for that. Mohammed makes pricing easy and engaging by grouping pricing strategies by marketing challenges.

Why We Loved It: If you’re not making money, you don’t have a business. You can literally pick a pricing strategy from 1% Windfall and use it in your business today.

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The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself

Author:John Jantsch
Book Site: The Referral Engine (Our book review of The Referral Engine)

If we all know that referrals are the best, most cost-effective marketing strategy, then WHY do we continue to leave referrals up to fate or some happy coincidence? John Jantsch, author of “Duct Tape Marketing” and award winning social media publisher has filled his book with lots of practical, real-life examples and case studies that you can use as inspiration to develop your own referral strategy.

Why We Love It: Referrals are STILL the best strategy for building a profitable small business. The Referral Engine is loaded with creative ways small businesses of all shapes, types and sizes use referrals.

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Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans

Author: Andrea Hoffman, Leonard Burnett
Book Site: Black is the New Green (Our book review of Black Is the New Green)

Uptown Media Group (known for Uptown magazine) Co-CEO and group publisher Leonard E. Burnett Jr. and Andrea Hoffman, founder of marketing research firm Diversity Affluence, apply their 40 combined years of experience to examine corporate America’s advertising relationship with African American consumers. Black Is The New Green solidly conveys how nuanced today’s African American consumer is, and how the strategy to target consumers must also be nuanced.

Why We Love It: If you’re selling to minority consumers, this book will give you valuable insights into how to connect with traditional affinity groups as well as how to structure your online marketing strategy accordingly.

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The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy

Author: Adrian C. Ott
Book Site: The 24-Hour Customer (Our book review of The 24-Hour Customer)

Today’s consumers are multi-tasking more than ever. This book shows you how to take advantage of time-slicing strategies to develop products and services that your customers will be happy to interact with. Ott uses a variety of research studies to show us how there are exponentially more products and services competing for a static slice of our time.

Why We Love It: Being at the right place at the right time is not just a trend, but a pre-requisite in being chosen by your ideal customer. 24-hour Customer will get you thinking in a new way about new products and services that you can launch in your business.

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Attention! This Book Will Make You Money: How to Use Attention-Getting Online Marketing to Increase Your Revenue

Author: Jim F. Kukral
Book Site: Attention! This book Will Make You Money (Our book review of Attention! )
Small Business Trends Radio Show: Interview with Jim Kukral, Attention!

When you’re an entrepreneur and run your own business, chances are your marketing budget is limited. But you can make up for that limitation with attention marketing. Kukral gives loads of case studies and examples of outrageous entrepreneurs and the creative ways they get noticed. The best part is that you will start thinking about your own ways of getting attention.

Why We Love It: Guerrilla marketing is alive and well and this book is LOADED with low-cost high impact marketing ideas that will get you noticed and chosen.

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The Mesh : Why the Future of Business Is Sharing

Strong: Lisa Gansky
Book Site: The Mesh (Our book review of The Mesh)

Traditional businesses follow a simple formula: create a product or service, sell it, collect money. Mesh companies use social media, wireless networks, and data crunched from every available source to provide people with goods and services at the exact moment they need them, without the burden and expense of owning them outright.

Why We Love it: The movement for ecologcal living has openned up a series of services and products. The Mesh will show you how to build trusted brands and value through leveraging shared resources.

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The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done

Author: Peter Miller
Book Site: The Smart Swarm (Our book review of the Smart Swarm)

Based on extensive globe-trotting research, this lively tour from National Geographic reporter Peter Miller introduces thriving throngs of ant colonies and many other examples of the wisdom to be gleaned about the behavior of crowds-among critters and corporations alike. He explores how these “swarms” inspired computer programs for streamlining factory processes, telephone networks, and truck routes.

Why We Love It: Since we live in a series of interconnected networks and have started using the wisdom of crowds to develop not just products and services, but policies. This book will give you ideas on how you can leverage your network for your business.

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Competitive Selling: Out-Plan, Out-Think, and Out-Sell to Win Every Time

Author: Landy Chase
Book Site: Competitive Selling (Our book review of Competitive Selling)

Landy Chase doesn’t believe in messing around. If you’re in a selling situation, then recognize that your customer is considering alternatives to what you’re selling – and you’d better be prepared. Sales people will find this book a sales coach in a box and marketing people will find this book helpful in defining exactly where you should put your focus to get your customer to choose you.

Why We Love It: What’s not to love about a book that gives you practical strategies on getting and keeping more new and profitable customers?

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About the Editors:
Choosing a book for the editors’ choice is never easy because there are so many wonderful books to choose from. This year we have four passionate and well read book editors that had to duke it out for their favorites to get on the list:

  • Anita Campbell – The Editor in Chief and the publisher of Small Business Trends and expert on all things Small Business.
  • Ivana Taylor –  Book Editor for Small Business Trends and the publisher of Her focus is on finding and reviewing books that help small businesses get and keep customers.
  • Pierre DeBois – Web Analytics Strategist and President of Zimana You’ll often find Pierre reviewing books on online marketing analytics and on topics such as minorities in small business and economic trends that impact small business.
  • Margie Zable-Fisher – President of Zable Fisher Public Relations and business book lover. Margie also reviews across a wide category of books, primarily those that help small businesses.

WINNER’S BADGES: If your book was named an Editor’s Choice Winner, you can grab a Winner’s Badge here.

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."