Open books: The summer reading listSummer officially arrived last Saturday, along with its many rights including vacations, relaxation, and time in the sun. As a busy small business owner, you may balk at taking time off for an extended vacation. But, there is no excuse for not granting yourself at least a little “me” time to unwind and relax. Of course, if you need help rationalizing taking a break from your hectic schedule, select a title or two from one of these business-related reading lists. You’ll not only escape into a good book, but you may just learn something that will help you better run your small business.

The following book lists cover a wide range of business topics, so you’re sure to find something to your liking. To get you started, here are four books that appear on multiple lists (with excerpts from publisher’s descriptions and linked to their page on

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger. The book, “reveals that even though children start out asking hundreds of questions a day, questioning “falls off a cliff” as kids enter school… questioning isn’t encouraged—and, in fact, is sometimes barely tolerated… The author takes us inside red-hot businesses like Google, Netflix, IDEO, and Airbnb to show how questioning is baked into their organizational DNA.” At the heart of Berger’s book is a simple question—“What if companies had mission questions instead of mission statements?”

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
by Eric Ries. “Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty…Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want…Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.”

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink. The book, “offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. Pink…reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extraverts don’t make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an “off-ramp” for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds…Along the way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another’s perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more.”

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. “Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited should be required listening for anyone thinking about starting a business or for those who have already taken that fateful step. The title refers to the author’s belief that entrepreneurs–typically brimming with good but distracting ideas–make poor businesspeople. He establishes an incredibly organized and regimented plan, so that daily details are scripted, freeing the entrepreneur’s mind to build the long-term success or failure of the business.”

For more suggestions, check out the books in these lists:

Business Books

Business Fiction and More

If you don’t think you have time for a full-blown read, check out 53 Takeaways from the World’s Best Business Books. After flipping through the slide show, you may just be tempted to pick up a book.

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Image Credit: Open books: The summer reading list by opensourceway, on Flickr

Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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