Profit Minded

Gift Books for the Small Business Owner or Wannabe

Coinciding with the rise in entrepreneurship and self-employment, this year saw the publication of many great books for the startup founder and small business owner. Just in time for holiday shopping, here's a list of 10 great books—most, but not all, published this year—for the entrepreneur on your gift list.

1. The recent re-release of a classic, Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, originally published in 1937, shares now ancient wisdom about self-empowerment and might have been the original "power of positive thinking" tome for the business set.

2. Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup, seems to share the same passion that The 4-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferris has for freeing yourself from a boss in order to lead a life of international intrigue. But even if global airline travel and developing world adventures aren't what motivate you to be your own boss, Guillebeau's book shares some inspiring stories about how others started their own businesses on a shoestring.

3. The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries is a not just a book, it's a movement. There's the Lean Startup newsletter, the 5 principles, the flashy website, the wiki, the conferences, and meetups in 17 countries. As O'Reilly Media CEO Tim O'Reilly attests in the promo materials, "The Lean Startup isn't just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business...it's about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do."

4. Business journalist and bestselling author Daniel Pink's latest, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, won't be released until December 31, but you can pre-order now for Kindle. Thousands already have, according to Pink, and if you join them, you'll get all kinds of freebies including a webinar, an audio, a workbook, and a bookplate. The guy knows the truth about moving book sales.

5. Amazing Things Will Happen: A Real World Guide on Achieving Success and Happiness by marketing consultant, motivational speaker, and podcast host C.C. Chapman, promises to "get you on the path to success" and more than a few reviewers say it can get you out of a rut.

6. How to Start a Business by Jason Nazar, illustrated by Rochelle Bailis, is a concise A-Z guide contained in a 99-cent eBook; what do you have to lose? Nazar is the CEO of Docstoc.com and creator of the annual Startups Uncensored conference.

7. Taking People With You has been ranked #1 in self-help by the New York Times and #1 in business by the Wall Street Journal. The book's author, David Novak, is CEO of Yum! Brands, parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, and it comes recommended by Warren Buffett, Jack Welch, Jamie Dimon, Indra Nooyi, and other major company CEOs for its advice on leadership. But the wisdom applies to small business owners and new entrepreneurs as well as the Fortune 500 crowd.

8. Peter Diamandis, CEO and founder of the X Prize, is the author with science journalist Steven Kotler of this year's 400-page Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. Less instructional than inspirational, the book introduces readers to innovators and innovations that will change the future.

9. Steve Blank has taught entrepreneurship at Columbia, Stanford, CalTech, and University of California, Berkeley. His Lean LaunchPad curriculum has been covered in Forbes, Nature, Science, the Economist, and NPR, and his blog is considered indispensible for entrepreneurs. His 2012 book, coauthored with serial entrepreneur Bob Dorf, The Startup Owners Manual: The Step By Step Guide for Building a Great Company, is the self-proclaimed "power tool for startups."

10. Who better to pen "a survival guide for entrepreneurs and their families" than Meg Cadoux Hirschberg, wife of Stonyfield Yogurt founder Gary Hirschberg? An entrepreneurship columnist for Inc., her 2012 book, For Better Or For Work, shares how entrepreneurship impacts the whole family. In an interview, she said, "I've learned that the spouse of an entrepreneur can't divorce the business, even if there were times she'd like to. The concept of work-life balance doesn't really apply when you are an entrepreneur—it's just one big life." Perhaps better as a gift from the small business owner.

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