5 Books Every Small Business Owner Should Read

We’re big readers here at CCC. As Mr. King reminds us below, that’s a good thing because we’re writers, and we like to be well-versed at our craft. Reading is important even if you don’t write though. Business professionals and owners everywhere can benefit from knowledge and experience shared in a good book.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write. Simple as that.”  -Stephen King

business books on a bookshelf

A selection of business reads by UNCG Research via CC BY-SA 2.0 http://bit.ly/2eE8A47

So let’s have a book swap! Below we’ve shared 5 books that have helped us in business (in no particular order), and we’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments.

  1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking — Studies show that introverts are one-third to half of the U.S. population, and this book tells you how to embrace their personality and management style to improve your corporate culture and team. Introvert or not, every business professional needs to read this book.
  2. Death to All Sacred Cows — The most common negative review we’ve seen about this book is that its content is old news. Then why do so many businesses large and small still adhere to sacred cows for no reason? Beliefs such as, “The customer’s always right” can put you out of business. Read this book before that happens to you.
  3. David And Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, And The Art Of Battling Giants — Let’s be honest; any book by Malcolm Gladwell is a good choice, but we loved this one. David And Goliath shows how perceived underdogs may not be underdogs at all. This is a great read for small business owners everywhere who are wondering how to compete against bigger and better-funded opponents.
  4. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? The business world is constantly changing, and Seth Godin shows you how to be a linchpin. This book will help guide your career in corporate America or on your own, making you indispensable to bosses, organizations, business partners and clients. (Similar to Gladwell, any Godin book is a good and worthwhile read.)
  5. It’s Not About the Coffee — “We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.” Howard Behar talks about taking a people-centric approach and treating employees, business partners and clients as people — not revenue sources, assets or labor costs. It’s crazy how many businesses don’t understand this concept, and the results you’ll achieve once you do.

BONUS: Things a Little Bird Told Me — Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, takes readers along on his unpredictable journey and shares smart business lessons along the way. He focuses on the power of creativity and how to harness it to achieve success.

As we were compiling this list, we kept coming up with additional suggestions. As bookworms, it’s difficult to limit any reading list to five recommendations! We’re sure we missed some, but that’s the beauty of reading lists — they’re constantly evolving.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”  -Stephen King

What books have helped you in business or in life?

Have you read a children’s or YA book that’s relevant in your adult life?

What’s your favorite literature genre?

Your favorite bookworm,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about good books, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Want Your Business to Flourish? Kill Your Sacred Cows

What’s holding your business back? Probably a sacred cow.

Death to all Sacred Cows: How successful businesses put the old rules out to pasture

Death to All Sacred Cows is a business book worth reading, no matter what business you’re in.

A what?! You’ve heard them before — those magical sayings in the business world that savvy businessmen and women everywhere regard as sacred.

The customer is always right. 
Teams create the best solutions. 
Always trust your research. 

Here’s the problem with sacred cows: always and never are rarely a good idea in the business world, a place which is constantly moving, changing and adapting.

“Businesses that only look to the past to guide their futures can be doomed to failure. In a rapidly changing world, anything dated tends to be dangerous.”

We’re not saying to forget your traditions or roots; they shouldn’t be the sole decision makers within your walls. You need to make decisions based on the current situation by looking at all of your options. Making decisions based solely on past successes can cause a company to be afraid to take risks or try new things. Success breeds success, until it doesn’t.

“The point is, in order to prepare for the future you need to unchain yourself from the strictures of the past. Let the past help and inform you; just don’t let it hold you back.”

Here’s one of our favorite sacred cows: the customer is always right. Don’t get us wrong; customers are critical to the success of your business. You need people to buy your products and services. We’re lucky to work with some great customers at CCC, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. (Neither are we.)

Unless your business operates in an industry we’re not aware of, your customers are human beings. Human beings are fallible (yep, all of us), so customers are not always right. Of course, you want to provide the best customer service and experience in the world. You need to review each situation and understand when a customer is being unreasonable or is just plain wrong. (It happens, but if you work with great people, it doesn’t happen often. 🙂 )

“We’re just saying that slavishly kowtowing to the idea that the customer is the ultimate authority on how your business should operate is a surefire way to wind up with an inoperable business.”

In conclusion, use your brains. If you’re smart enough to run a business or be a successful businessman/businesswoman, trust your gut and decision-making skills. Don’t hide behind a sacred cow; it will kick you in the face eventually. (And read Death to All Sacred Cows for sound business advice and pure entertainment.)

Your Feedback
What is your favorite sacred cow to kill?
Have you read Death to All Sacred Cows? What’s your feedback?
What other business books would you recommend?

Eat, Pray, Love — In Business Too
Blink: The Power of Snap Decisions & First Impressions
Winning as the Underdog: Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

p.s. I’m not being paid to recommend this book. I just enjoyed it that much!
p.p.s. No real cows were harmed while writing this article (or the book, to my knowledge).

Your favorite bookworm,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about sacred cows, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Living a Good Life: On the Road to Authentic Happiness

“The more I learn about positive psychology, the more I am convinced of its tremendous potential. Potential to transform individuals and societies. Potential to steer humanity into a new era, an era that pays homage to this statement: Every human being, whether living now or in a future generation, should be afforded the opportunity to live a meaningful, happy, and fulfilling life.

Living a Good Life by Carol Ann Preibis

Are you living a good life? Carol Preibis’ new eGuide, Living a Good Life, is packed full of tips, ideas and inspiration on the subject. Divided into three parts, the eGuide explores what it means to live a good life (backed by science), showcases inspirational role models in this area and discusses the positivity project.

Loyal readers of the CCC blog will recognize the author’s name due to her contributions to this space. Preibis’ Kindness in the Workplace series: It Just Makes (Dollars &) Cents and A Guide for Your Organization, shows that kindness is important in the workplace because it directly affects your bottom line, and she brings the research to back up her claims.

low employee engagement is a crisis for businesses

Does your company engage its employees?
Photo credit: Kevin Kruse

Preibis does the same in her new eGuide.

Living a Good Life

In the first section, Preibis explores scientifically proven ways to achieve authentic happiness, beginning with the five elements of what free people choose to do in their lives and ending with the search for meaning to make sense of our existence.

“Simplicity is simultaneously a personal choice, a community choice, a national choice, and a species choice.”                                                                                                 –Duane Elgin, author

The Perfect Storm by Carol Preibis

“What is this place? It’s a crossroads, where we must choose between two paths.” -The Perfect Storm by Carol Preibis

If you’d like examples of those living a good life and achieving authentic happiness, you’ll be happy to move on to section two.


Role Models and Teachers

Who are the true superstars in our world? Preibis showcases 10 examples, from personal connections to Nobel Peace Prize winners and celebrities, who are doing extraordinary things and inspiring others to live a good life. Then she moves on to two iconic figures, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pope Francis, who have worked to make their dream of justice and equality for all real — 50 years apart.

“Four times in his I Have A Dream speech Dr. King proclaimed, “Now is the time.” In an exhortation 50 years later, Pope Francis asked, “So what are we waiting for?””  -Carol Preibis, Living a Good Life


The Positivity Project

In the third section of the eGuide, Preibis explores positivity and how it can impact our health just as much as diet and exercise. Shared positive emotion and social connections are major driving forces in our lives.

“Positive emotions are good for our health. Shared positive emotions — positive emotions people feel in connection with others — seem to be a real driving force behind health benefits.”                                                                                                    -Carol Preibis, Living a Good Life

Seeds of Light

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”
                                                 -Anne Lamott

The research, exercises and the author’s own contributions in this section will enable you to take advantage of the powers of positivity to improve your health and overall life. Discover how to build your own positivity portfolio, meditate on loving-kindness and explore what gives your life meaning.

We invite you to read (and share) the introductory version of Living a Good Life, which includes the table of contents and first chapter. If you find it as worthwhile as we did, you’ll want to purchase the entire eGuide, available in PDF or EPUB, for only $4.99. It’s a small price to pay to discover how to live a meaningful, happy and fulfilling — aka good — life.

What does living a good life mean to you?

What gives you authentic happiness?

Carol Preibis

Carol is passionate about food, recipes and cooking.

 

Carol Preibis and her sister Michele value the Simple Life and want to help you shed the complicated nature of today’s world. They share insights on food, decorating, stress relief and living more simply, while actually enjoying day-in, day-out living. Looking for a scrumptious, healthy recipe? Trying to figure out how to have fun on a budget? Head to Ahh The Simple Life to start feeling better and getting more out of your life.

 

 

I was honored (and surprised) to have the CCC blog included in the Resources section of the eGuide. As such, Carol did send me a complimentary copy of the guide as a way to say thank you. Rest assured, that’s not why I chose to review the guide or promote it. That decision was based solely on my opinion of her guide and the value it will bring to readers. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you, Carol! –Jaime

On the road to authentic happiness,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on living a good life, blogging or otherwise): 
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If Only Life Were A Never-Ending Summer…

A love triangle. A historic hurricane. A marriage for money, and the ultimate betrayal. Who knew life was so glamorous in 1938?

 A Hundred Summers

 

Socialite Lily Dane is looking forward to spending another summer with her family at idyllic Seaview, Rhode Island in 1938. The small seaside community may be a little too quiet for some, but Lily enjoys the escape from the hustle and bustle of the New York social scene. Then her former best friend (Budgie) shows up with her former fiancé (Nick) in tow, and the summer promises to be anything but quiet.

As tensions mount, the truth begins to slowly emerge about why Budgie and Nick married, and how Graham Pendleton, Nick’s former teammate and current Yankees pitcher, fits into the mix. As if the scandal and intrigue aren’t enough, the New England Hurricane of 1938 storms into everyone’s lives and forever alters the future.

“Summer of 1938: A scandalous love triangle and a famous hurricane converge in a New England beach community. Add in a betrayal between friends, a marriage for money, and a Yankee pitcher, and it’s a perfect storm.” —Good Housekeeping

I finished this novel as summer came to an unofficial end over Labor Day weekend, a time that usually makes me a little sad. Summer is my favorite time of the year, and I always dread as we move into fall, only because I know what lies behind for us Northeast Ohioans — the fury of winter.

It’s always fun to explore different time periods and social classes, and I began to think about the concept of ‘summering.’

Does your family ‘summer?’

Or do you have a tradition of taking vacations together?

What is your favorite summer or vacation memory?

What’s your favorite season?

 

p.s. Summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd, so you still have time for a good beach read!

If only life was a never-ending summer…

Wishing I was a socialite,
Jaime

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Blink: The Power of Snap Decisions & First Impressions

“On straightforward choices, deliberate analysis is best. When questions of analysis and personal choice start to get complicated — when we have to juggle many different variables — then our unconscious thought processes may be superior.” –Malcolm Gladwell

Do you agree? Or do you think the opposite is true?

This quote is pulled from Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, a book that takes you deep into the unconscious and explores the power of thinking without thinking (i.e. thin-slicing, snap decisions and first impressions). It’s amazing how powerful (and correct) our snap judgments can be although it is easy for them to become flawed by a number of factors. As Gladwell notes, “From experience, we gain a powerful gift, the ability to act instinctively, in the moment. But… it is easy to disrupt this gift.”

blink_malcolmgladwell

Discover example after example of people using thin-slicing to make impressive quick decisions in the face of pressure, and learn how we can practice these abilities to improve them, just like anything else.

What’s remarkable to me is the wide range of people, places and events represented in this book — inner city detectives, Civil War generals, marriage counselors, musicians who defy genre. I love psychology and learning about the powers of the mind, but even if you don’t, this book can help you in your life and career by helping you make better decisions.

At the end of this intriguing read, Gladwell leaves us with this final thought.

“This is the real lesson of Blink: It is not enough simply to explore the hidden recesses of our unconscious. Once we know about how the mind works — and about the strengths and weaknesses of human judgment — it is our responsibility to act.”

Have you read this book? What did you think?

What other books would you highly recommend?

Blink cover courtesy of Gladwell.com

Your favorite bookworm,
Jaime

Don’t blink! Join the conversation…
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Eat: An Experience, Not An Obsession or Afterthought

We’ve been conditioned for years to treat food as the enemy. There are so many delicious, savory foods out there that we can’t have. Cake. Cookies. Lasagna. French Fries. Hamburgers. The more we tell ourselves that we can’t have these foods, the more we want them.

Relax. I’m not selling you a food system, juicing program or magic weight loss pill that will transform your body overnight. (I’m actually not selling you anything right now.) I want to recommend a book that you should read. Yes, a book about food.

Eat: A Guide to Discovering Your Natural Relationship with Food

Well, it’s not about food exactly. It’s about our relationship with food and how distorted it has become in today’s society. Counting calories, watching our weight, only drinking grapefruit juice for the next 7 days to make up for last night. What?! It sounds crazy, but we used to eat for nourishment and energy.

Linda R. Harper’s Eat is all about returning to your natural relationship with food. Cut out the noise and busyness of modern society to ask yourself, “What kind of eating experience do I want now?” Seriously, stop what you’re doing and think about what you want to eat the next time you’re hungry. Think about where you’d like to eat — outside on a patio, with friends, alone with a good book — and incorporate that into your decision. It may take a little time to truly be able to listen to your body again, but you’ll be surprised what happens when you do.

Your body naturally wants what’s good for you, what you need to survive and thrive in life. Really, it does. It’s just that we’re always in a hurry, darting through a drive-thru on our way to pick up the kids or meet with clients or get to Billy’s soccer match remotely on time that eating has been relegated to an afterthought. We don’t stop to listen to what our body actually wants.

green smoothie

After trying them, I’ve discovered that I love green smoothies!

Initially it may be hard to give up control, which is really what counting calories and diets are about. But you have to trust yourself. Trust that you can listen to your body and hear what it’s asking for (and yes, that may be a doughnut or french fries sometimes).

I’ve been on a journey the past 10 years to a healthier me. No, I haven’t lost 100 pounds or underwent some shocking physical transformation. However, I have lost about 30 pounds and managed to keep it off while changing my eating habits and lifestyle. I’m so much healthier today and love fresh fruits and veges. Yes, I still eat some processed food and will never give up my Italian favs, but I’m healthy across the board. And the best part is that no one is telling me what to eat; I’m making these decisions myself.

So do yourself a favor and read this book. Read part of it or one chapter or however much of it that makes you get back to best self eating. And no, that doesn’t mean only eating vegetables for the rest of your life. OK, I’m heading out for a macchiato right now. Tell me what you think of the book!

Speak Up

How’s your relationship with food?

Does this book sound appealing?

Feel free to chime in with any good green smoothie recipes! I’d be happy to swap.

Let me know your thoughts on this book and other books/documentaries/media that focus on your relationship with food.

Happy Saturday!
Jaime

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