Best Motivational Books For Small Businesses

Most entrepreneurs want to stay positive and upbeat.  If we don’t we might succumb to defeat, and let down those who are counting on us:  our employees, our customers, and our business partners.

That’s where motivational books come in.  A good inspirational book can be reassuring.  It helps you see that other business owners have encountered the same issues and overcame them.  The right book can also motivate you to tackle the big issues you know you need to tackle, but so far haven’t had the energy or will to.

That’s why we’ve assembled the following list of 10 motivational books (plus one bonus) to inspire you, pump you up, and reinforce your confidence to take on the world! Here they are, in no particular order:

Love- is the Killer App

Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends” by Tim Sanders, Gene Stone

This is the book that set the stage for business culture in the new world of the internet. Tim Sanders, former Chief Solutions officer at Yahoo!, sees love as the killer way to add value to our business and personal lives. He calls it BizLove or “business love” — “the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your bizpartners.” This is an enthusiastic and practical book that will give you countless examples of exactly HOW to share your knowledge, networks and compassion. Even though this book was written before Twitter and Facebook hit the social media landscape, the principles are sound and easily applicable to today’s social media environment.

Read our review of “Love is the Killer App”

Flying Without A Net

Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success” by Thomas J. DeLong

In this educational book, DeLong explains how to draw strength from vulnerability. First, understand the forces that escalate anxiety in high achievers and the unproductive behaviors you turn to for relief. Then adopt practices that give you the courage to “do the right things poorly” before “doing the right things well.” The jargon-free book delivers a helpful read that will give you a sophisticated means to accomplish your tasks with grace and aplomb. After reading this book, you’ll be ready to reassess your ambitions, restore your sensibilities be inspired to do more than just checking tasks off a list.

Read our review of “Flying Without a Net


Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul” by Howard Schultz,  Joanne Gordon

In this inspiring and motivational book, Howard Schultz; the Starbucks CEO tells a personal and engaging story of Starbucks’ roller coaster rise, fall and slow resurgence. This book has plenty of valuable lessons about management and leadership, but you will learn more about the mindset and strategies of Schultz and what defines him as a person and as a leader. Because it’s written in the first person, this book reads more like a business biography, but you’ll find that the stories, and examples teach as well as inspire.

Read our review of “Onward

Innovation Secrets Steve Jobs

“The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success” by Carmine Gallo

Several books have been written about Steve Jobs since the onset of his illness and recent passing. It’s almost as if authors were trying to grab every ounce of learning, inspiration and motivation from a man that many call a genius but who strived not to let success, fame or fortune alter who he was as a person and as a leader.  If you’re looking for a different approach to coming up with creative ideas, this book offers a gentler way of thinking about how to run your business.

Read our Review of “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Guitar Lessons

Guitar Lessons: A Life’s Journey Turning Passion into Business”, by Bob Taylor

Guitar Lessons is the story of a company that enters a crowded business segment and changes everything. Bob Taylor, cofounder of Taylor Guitars, a world-famous acoustic and electric guitar manufacturer, mixes the details of his experience as a craftsman with philosophical life lessons that have practical application for building a business.  Taylor shows how a small business with an offline product can inject just enough technology to enhance strategy and tactics. Business owners who are ready to dream BIG will find this a compelling, entertaining and engaging story.

Read our Review of “Guitar Lessons

The Highest Calling

The Highest Calling” by Lawrence Janesky

This book is an instructional and motivational business novel. Troy Becker (a stand in for any small business owner), owns a home remodeling business that is barely squeaking by. Troy is the proverbial business owner so caught up with working in his business, that he can’t muster enough energy to work on his business.  He feels overwhelmed and stuck in a rut — that is, until gets a visit from Cy, an older businessman who helps him. Troy’s journey to transform his business and become more successful, will inspire you.

Read our review of “The Highest Calling

Living a Richer Life

Living A Richer Life: Getting the Most out of Life’s Gifts and Circumstances”, by Ervin (Earl) Cobb, Charlotte D. Grant-Cobb

Living a Richer Life is written by Earl and Charlotte Cobb. The Cobbs are entrepreneurs having launched CobbCare GNC and Better Life sunrooms. In this introspective book, they explain the Life Continuum Model, a process for discerning value from life events and managing the associated decisions effectively. You will be guided through a personal, insightful and, at times, touching journey of a remarkable and fascinating couple in their search for how we all can improve our ability to respond to life’s unexpected and sometimes painful circumstances.

Read our review of “Living a Richer Life

One Simple Idea

One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work” by Stephen Key

One Simple Idea is a practical, real-world guide that will help you take your ideas and get them to market with minimum investment of time and money. Stephen Key walks you through the steps of taking your idea from birth all the way through getting some company to send you royalty checks every quarter.  You come up with the idea, then follow the steps laid out to getting paid for that idea. You do not need to have really brilliant ideas either. A simple product improvement can be licensed. A manufacturing change can be licensed.

Check out “One Simple Idea” on Amazon


Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance” by Jonathan Fields

If there is anything that recent events have taught us, it’s that the only thing we can count on is uncertainty. In his latest book, Uncertainty, Jonathan fields encourages readers to embrace fear and doubt and use them as a fuel for creativity.  This is a book about learning to manage yourself and your thought processes. You will learn the daily practices such as “attentional training”. These are techniques that include physical activity such as mountain biking, transcendental meditation, mindfulness or hypnosis and can help you make that leap into greater creativity, with more confidence.

Read our review of “Uncertainty

The Accidental Creative

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice” by Todd Henry

Author, Todd Henry has transformed his popular podcast into this motivational book. It’s ideal for anyone who has to be creative on demand such as writers, marketers and even business owners. This book will help you uncover what’s at the core of your blocked and frustrating creative moments. And then helps you create workable resolutions.

The book is full of helpful tips such as grouping like tasks so that you can maintain creative rhythm or paying attention to when your creative energy is highest during the day and take advantage of it.

Check out “The Accidental Creative” on Amazon

Bonus Selection!

Business Devotional“The Business Devotional” by Lillian Hayes Martin

This business book is a bit different.  As the title implies, it’s set up like a daily devotional, or prayer book.  But you don’t use it to pray.  Instead, use it as a daily dose of business guidance and motivation.  It is a collection of 365 readings intended to be read one each day, every day of the year.  Each daily reading is no more than one-page long.  Each includes a short quote by a famous person, and then uses some point about that person’s life to teach a business lesson, most of which are inspiring.  Included are people such as Zig Ziglar, Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey,Warren Buffett and more.

Read our review of “The Business Devotional

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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."