I know what you’re thinking. Nobody reads books anymore.
Newspapers are dying out, and anything I need to know I can get from videos and Twitter.
Well, I’d argue that number one, you read Twitter, and number two, you’re reading this. So, why not take it a step further?
Just because books are seemingly becoming less popular doesn’t mean they don’t have a ton to teach us. Though online research is way better, faster, and easier than it used to be, books still hold an important place in our culture. Plus, people took a long time to write them, so why not make their efforts worth it by reading them?
With that in mind we’ve compiled what we think are five of the best books for small business owners.
1. A Classic: The Wealthy Barber
Written by author and former Dragons’ Den TV personality David Chilton, The Wealthy Barber: Everyone’s Common-Sense Guide to Successful Financial Planning is a classic.
The title just screams business, but the contents practically turned the genre on its head. The narrative centers around Roy, the local barber in Sarnia, Ontario, who generously hands out financial advice to three people in their 20s.
Not only is it a fun read, but Chilton (through the barber) gives some pretty sage advice for financial planning. Granted, the book is almost 30 years old, and Chilton has released the sequel, The Wealthy Barber Returns for the “significantly older and marginally wiser” barber to fill some gaps left by the original.
But, in all, The Wealthy Barber is a great read, and a great introduction to the world of personal and small business finance, without feeling like a textbook.
2. Get Your Mind Right: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
This is more self-help than business-oriented, and it’s on every list of books for business people to read.
Yes, I get that.
There’s a reason why Stephen Covey’s 1989 classic lands on so many of these lists. It was hugely popular, selling 25 million copies upon initial release. But, more importantly, Covey’s “habits” can be applied and utilized in a variety of situations.
From personal improvement to business development, Covey’s focus on themes of independence, interdependence, and continual improvement have resonated with millions in countless fields for almost 30 years.
The “habits” and advice aren’t particularly groundbreaking in today’s standards, but Covey’s breakdown of the intricacies behind thinking about the endgame and putting yourself first reveal a truly nuanced understanding of psychology, leadership, and business.
3. Girl Power: Girl Code
Cara Alwill Leyba’s 2017 Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur is a breath of fresh air in a male-dominated world.
Leyba’s book is written by a woman for women, and is a bit different than the previous two books. As the description says, her book “won’t teach you how to build a multi-million dollar company. It won’t teach you about systems or finance. But it will teach you how to build confidence in yourself, reconnect with your “why,” eradicate jealousy, and ultimately learn the power of connection.”
The last one is the crux if Leyba’s book. By connection, she means women coming together in support of each other to collaborate, and share their experiences of working in industries that aren’t tailored to them.
Like Covey’s book, Leyba is much more focused on well-being and personal connections than on actual business operations. Whether you’re a man or woman, this book gives critical insight into the experiences of women in office-environments, and can open your eyes to an issue you might not have known existed.
4. Fact or Fiction: Things Fall Apart
This might seem a little odd, but humor me here.
Chinua Achebe’s 1959 novel follows the story of Okonkwo, the leader of a small Nigerian village pre-colonial rule. Okonkwo is physically strong, mentally tough, and stubborn in his ways.
He faces many challenges, including the invasion of British colonists, challengers to his leadership of the village, and the troubles of his teenaged son, Nwoye.
You’re probably thinking, “what does this have to do with small business?” Well, a lot, really. Okonkwo faces similar challenges that business owners and entrepreneurs do, giving much to think about in any leadership role readers might encounter.
But, most importantly, Okonkwo’s leadership ambitions often conflict with the interests of those he leads. It’s an interesting and complex dynamic that delves into the effects of difference.
At the very least, give it a shot. It might be a long one, but you may be surprised how much this almost sixty-year-old novel can teach you.
5. Globalization: Small Business in a Big World
Arguably the most important aspect of modern business is globalization.
Whether we, or our lawmakers more specifically, like it or not, the world is shrinking, and we’re all inching closer together day by day.
That’s why Marwan Forzley’s Small Business in a Big World is necessary for small businesses and entrepreneurs alike.
Forzley’s first book is written for small business owners. He accumulates all of his experiences in several countries to compose a guide for the business owner looking to go international.
But, it’s not just about business. Forzley takes on issues of cultural difference, challenges with dealing in certain locales. The traditional stuff is in there, including legislation, regulations, and all the technical-jargon small business owners have to deal with broken down into easily-digestible and understandable portions.
Forzley is the CEO of Veem, a global payments company helping small businesses pay and get paid globally easier, safer, and cost-effectively.
It’s easy to assume that business is a global language. Money talks, and the promise of it should be enough to close a deal, right?
Small Business in a Big World shows readers that global business is much more than that. It’s about building relationships and learning. More than ever, we need to foster that mindset.