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The Most Inspiring Books for Small Business Owners

By Ashtyn Douglas, Last Modified
May 06, 2015
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> Human Resources

When searching for “inspiring business books” on Amazon.com in preparation this post, 1,227 results were populated, and we realized small businesses owners don’t have time to sift through a library so vast in order to find the mental fuel you need to get things moving and shaking. 

To help you find your next piece of inspiration, we compiled a list of books that will provide you with insight and fortitude for when the small business going gets challenging.

Read on to build your next reading list!

The Science of Success by Charles Koch

Recently named one of Time’s “must-reads”, this book reveals how market-based management styles built Koch Industries. Charles Koch has erected the world’s largest privately held company and he discloses just how he did it. "My father, Sam Walton, stressed the importance of fundamental principles (such as humility, integrity, respect, and creating value) that are the foundation for success,” explains Wal-Mart’s Rob Walton in a review, “No one makes a better case for these principles than Charles Koch."

The Science of Success by Charles Koch

(Source: Amazon.com)

The Business of Belief by Tom Asaker

One of your chief responsibilities as a small business owner is motivating others- employees, customers, vendors- to do what you want them to do (more or less). This book will explain the inner workings of the mind and how you, as a leader, can influence the behavior of others. Tom Asaker is the author of six books and is accomplished entrepreneur.

The Business of Belief by Tom Asaker

(Source: Amazon.com)

Related Article: Small But Mighty: 6 Ways Small Businesses Can Outperform Corporations

Do Cool SH*T by Miki Agrawal

Need the motivation to quit your day job? Maybe you’ve already launched your business, and now you’re looking to gain the confidence to expand your reach. Whatever your current situation may be, Miki’s book will be that kick in the pants you need. After all, she knows a thing or two about doing cool sh*t. With no capital, Miki started a farm-to-table pizzeria in New York and also a high-tech underwear company. If you need a boost in self-assurance, read this book.

Do Cool SH*T by Miki Agrawal

(Source: Amazon.com)

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

As a business owner, you want to hire innovative people and then encourage them to take risks. Read Creativity Inc. and take a few notes from the most creative of creatives. The author, Ed Catmull, co-founded Pixar Animation Studios with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter and has since inspired his company all the way to 30 Academy Awards.

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

(Source: FastCompany)

Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences by Jane Hyun and Audrey Lee

“Flexing” is the leadership skill that enables you to switch between various leadership styles to manage an eclectic workforce. The authors of this recently published book shed light on generational differences, social distances between you and employees, and effective communication techniques. Get this book and learn how to manage your team in way that will inspire every single employee, no matter his/her personality or background.

Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences by Jane Hyun and Audrey Lee

(Source: Amazon.com)

Related Article: The Top 10 Qualities That Define An Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson

Ever wondered how the most successful entrepreneurs think and act? What drives them to be modern-day business moguls? Well if you read this book, you’ll most likely find out. Kevin Johnson, president of Johnson Media Inc., identifies 100 key lessons that every entrepreneur should learn, and guides the reader into thinking more like a kick-ass entrepreneur. He dives into seven key areas (strategy, education, people, finance, marketing/sales, leadership, and motivation) and tackles issues like securing investors, thinking outside the box, and cons of too much structured education.

The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson

(Source: Amazon.com)

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Sometimes the most inspiring books talk about things no one wants to talk about. In his book The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, Ben Horowitz gives advice on running a small business and difficult problems you never imagined running into. While most books talk about the pleasantries of owning your own business, this one embraces them with open arms and offers techniques to deal with them. Plus, Horowitz is a hard-core rap fan, so pages are filled with lyrical elegance (and humor).

 The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

(Source: Amazon.com)

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

Want to create a genuine, focused, super-hip, and utterly happy workforce? Get this book or borrow it from the library. Forward-thinking Zappos CEO Tony Hseih shares his secrets to creating an effective corporate culture (and a #1 company to work for). He also shares life experiences learned from his various ventures- like that time he started a worm farm or when he offered new employees $2,000 to quit.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

(Source: Amazon.com)

Ashtyn Douglas
Ashtyn Douglas
See Ashtyn Douglas's Profile
Ashtyn Douglas is a Social Media Team member and B2B marketing content writer at Business.com Media, Inc. Her favorite B2B topics include social media, mobile marketing, sales optimization techniques, and content creation. Ashtyn studied Business and Psychology at the University of California, San Diego developing her passions for research and writing. She went on to pursue work in Ad Operations and Social Media for both small and medium-sized businesses. When she doesn't have her nose in a book or computer screen, you can find her surfing.
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