The ultimate small business summer reading (and listening!) guide

June 21, 2018
5 minutes read

As an entrepreneur, it’s crucial to keep your skills and business current—no matter the season—because no one else is going to do it for you. You’ve got subscriptions to all the relevant industry magazines and your favorite business blogs are bookmarked—now what?

Whether you need help with productivity, marketing, leadership, or are just looking for some inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of books and podcasts to help you stay motivated this summer.


Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business, by Gino Wickman

Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you? Gino Wickman’s book aims to help entrepreneurs learn how to run their businesses without becoming burned out. It’s a go-to book for problem-solving, helping you learn to gain control of your business without letting frustration derail you from accomplishing your goals.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. During a time when we’re all living in a blur of social media, email and instant messaging, is deep work even possible? Cal Newport believes so, and he’ll take you on a journey of memorable stories to teach you how to get more done, more efficiently, and learn once and for all how to dodge distractions.

Capturing Loyalty, by John Larson and Bennett McClellan

John Larson and Bennett McClellan, two pioneers in the field of customer loyalty, teach marketers and sellers how to turn satisfied customers into highly satisfied customers—and explain how this shift affects loyalty behaviors and dramatically impacts a company’s bottom line.

Off The Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done, by Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam believes that in order to get more done, you have to feel like you have all the time in the world, and in Off The Clock she reveals seven counterintuitive principles to help you get there. She’ll show you how to shift your mindset to help you feel calm on the busiest days, and give you tools to help you get more done without feeling overwhelmed.

Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman’s Playbook for Love and Success, by Charreah K. Jackson

Women of past generations had to choose between having a relationship or having a successful business, but that time is thankfully behind us. Author Charreah K. Jackson provides insight from more than 1,000 years of marriage and career success by accomplished women and shares tips on how you can have love and business success, without having to sacrifice from either side.

Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight

Knight is more well-known as the co-founder and one-time CEO of Nike, Inc. than as an author, but in this memoir he shares some of the keys to his success. Insights include a look into his personal journey, starting when he borrowed fifty dollars from his father to launch a company that would later top $30 billion in sales annually.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap…And Others Don’t, by Jim Collins

This book takes a look at companies that weather success and adversity well (not merely companies that have grown fast) and then compiles a list of key takeaways for the reader. It includes hiring insights, like the idea of “getting the right people on the bus” and being willing to kindly help the wrong people off it.

Remote: Office Not Required, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can. As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can. REMOTE shows both employers and employees how they can work together, remotely, from any desk, in any place, anytime, anywhere.

Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It, by Jeffrey Eisenberg, Bryan Eisenberg & Roy H Williams

Every business (B2C, B2B and others) can make Amazon’s Four Pillars work for them. This book will help you look beyond data about your company’s performance to see the data that reveals your customer’s reality. It will show you how Amazon’s business has exploded by aligning with values that focus on its customers above all else.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance

There aren’t many entrepreneurs that have achieved what Elon Musk has. This book traces his journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to becoming a leader in the global business world. This is the first inside look into the story of his world-changing companies; PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity.

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, by Seth Godin

In Purple Cow, first published in 2003 and revised and expanded in 2009, Godin launched a movement to make truly remarkable products that are worth marketing in the first place. Through stories about companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Krispy Kreme, and Apple, he inspires readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product.

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi

This book is a goldmine of tips and steps to reach out to people you definitely know, people you might know, and those you want to know. In this essential book for entrepreneurs, Ferrazzi demonstrates the power of relationships in business, and also outlines the timeless strategies used by some of the world’s most connected people, such as Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, and the Dalai Lama.

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine, by Mike Michalowicz

This book will show you that the traditional accounting formula (Sales – Expenses = Profits) will lock you into a never-ending cycle of selling more while profiting less. You’ll learn a cash management system that allows any business to become permanently profitable by adopting a formula that suggests taking profit first, without compromising your business.


Entrepreneur on Fire

Hosted by John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneur on Fire focuses on transparency and honesty. John puts together a monthly income report from his seven-figure business and shares with his listeners, stating that he wants entrepreneurs “to emulate our successes and avoid our failures.”

ALL IN: Elevating Your Leadership Game

This podcast, hosted by Alicia Dunams, features interviews with huge names in business, economics, and global affairs, discussing what it takes to elevate your leadership game.

This Week in Startups

This podcast is like reading the front page of an entrepreneurial newspaper. It brings you a weekly take on the best, worst, and most outrageous and interesting stories from the world of entrepreneurship.

1 Day Business Breakthrough

Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker bring entrepreneurs together to brainstorm and mastermind to achieve breakthroughs and business growth. Their tagline sums it up: “Where real entrepreneurs unite to unleash game-changing business breakthroughs.”

School of Greatness

New York Times best-selling author Lewis Howes shares stories from brilliant business minds, world-class athletes and influential celebrities and reveals what makes them great and how to apply those lessons to your own life.

Growth Now Movement

Justin Schneck sits with entrepreneurs and world changers and shares their personal stories. He believes that everyone can learn from life’s struggles and hardships and tries to inspire people to turn those challenges into exponential growth.

Everyone loves a good summer read, but why not kill two birds with one stone with some great books that help you get inspired and pick up some great tips for your business. But don’t forget to break it up with the occasional guilty pleasure, too!

By Vanessa Bruno

The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.

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