11 Best Small Business Books for 2019
The world’s bit crazy right now. Sure, the economy’s reaching peak records of productivity and that’s something FundThrough is proud to help with. But these days, many of us are nervous much of the time. Culture and tech are accelerating so fast, we’re almost afraid to go to sleep at night — because by morning, everything’s changed!
That’s why the following small business book recommendations are broken into 3 helpful categories.
There’s 5 books for better productivity and time management, followed by 5 more for inspiration in crazy times. Each recommendation comes with a brief summary and why we think it’s relevant to your small business. They’re ordered by newness, relevance, and classic trustworthiness.
Lastly, you get a bonus recommendation, because these days, more than ever, small business owners deserve a break.
5 Small Business Books for Better Productivity and Time Management
1. Win Your Morning, Win Your Life: The Morning Routines of The Most Successful People on Earth by Stephen Jones
That title’s unambiguous. Learn to begin your day when your day begins — with advice hacked from people who are getting it VERY right. If you’re really busy, it’s available as an audiobook to listen to while working out, walking the dog, or stuck in traffic. Of course, if you’ll never be a morning person, read on
2. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Remember that distracted cartoon dog, saying “Squirrel!”? The point: Just because you’re managing your time well, it doesn’t mean you’re productive. This book helps you focus on the most cognitively challenging tasks without getting distracted. By focusing deeply for even short, uninterrupted periods, you’ll accomplish the big tasks not just sooner, but better.
3. 168 Hours: You have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
Remember Marie Kondo’s advice regarding neatness? If something doesn’t bring you joy, eject it. This book does that for your schedule. Vanderkam has you list, in priority, all you’d like to accomplish during the total 168 hours each week provides (including if it’s 56 of those deeply sleeping). Then, when you’re bound to realize there’s only so much time to do what matters most, from bedtime stories with your kids to marathon training, you shed the less important bits.
4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
This practical, easy-to-read guide to ticking off important boxes arrived in 2001, stressful times themselves. Allen questions and guides you through the causes of your stress (incomplete tasks without clear objectives) while dispensing useful advice. That is, how to reduce that stress by specifically identifying and codifying those runaway thoughts that hit you in the middle of the night. Turn random worries into concrete to-do lists.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey
Remember Habit 7? This book is worth re-reading and re-implementing. It champions the common sense of forming positive habits like starting with the end in mind, putting first things first, understanding others before worrying whether you’re being understood, and thinking win-win. That last one may seem out of step with celebrity negotiators but makes a great segue.
5 Small Business Books for Inspiration in Crazy Times
1. This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence by Terry O’Reilly
Most Canadians are familiar with our ad guru’s entertaining and insightful radio show. Here, O’Reilly shares his calming and charming wisdom with examples of marketers who “outsmart their competitors, not outspend them.” What entrepreneur can’t find inspiration in that?
2. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
Wickman’s step-by-step advice teaches you to control your small business, not the reverse. If put into practice, his methods work. Something this solid that produces quick results is welcome for busy people. Speaking of which, it’s available on audio.
3. Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom
Consider how effective a dentist would be by noon, Monday, if she accepted her patients’ fear and distrust. This book deliberately questions the value of feeling others’ pain, promoting a more egalitarian morality. Prepare to have your assumptions questioned and, if you’re among those wondering what’s gone wrong with the world, your conscience validated.
4. (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Any entrepreneur/company can tell you what they do for a living. Few can explain their reason for getting out of bed and going to work. Sinek shows that great companies don’t make stuff, they live their ideals. Their products result from these. Like all the most revolutionary ideas, it’s ultimately simple and common (aka uncommon) sense. This FundThrough customer gets it.
5. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
No entrepreneur ever launched a business to work more hours than their last job. This guide to exploiting what the modern world offers, to have it all right now, was “updated” in 2009. But its basic tips are more relevant than ever.
Bonus! The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
Like many self-help, entrepreneurship, and small business books, Ruiz’s book is short and simple. But that’s because every sentence is packed with age-old wisdom. The agreements are behaviours you literally practice to become a fuller, happier human: 1) think before you speak 2) don’t take things personally 3) never assume and 4) always do your best. Simple, yes, but not easy. And harder to maintain. But that’s why they’re called practices. Your practice will probably never make perfect but you’ll certainly feel inspired, even in crazy times.
Still looking for ideas that’ll grow your small business? Maybe FundThrough can help by freeing up your cash flow.