According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50% of small businesses fail by their fifth year. After 10 years, only ⅓ of them are likely to survive. 

What leads small businesses to fail, and how can those common mistakes be avoided? In the 10 best small business books below, you’ll gain insight on why most small businesses fail, how you can flatten the learning curve, and why small businesses may be the next big thing.

Best Small Business Books

Whether you’re focused on money management, staying motivated, or just starting your business, the books below will guide you in the right direction. 

1. The E Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber 

The E Myth- Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

If you’re thinking about starting a small business but you’re still unsure how to start out, this is the book for you. In this, Michael E. Gerber speaks to the reader as if he knows everything about their business, and guides them through the processes that most small business owners have to do alone.

When starting out as an entrepreneur, this book will be your right hand man. As relevant today as it was back in 1986, this book explains both the basic organizational thinking skills and outside sources that can help you succeed and flatten the learning curve as a small business owner.

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2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

In The Lean Startup, Eric Ries goes into the ways that modern entrepreneurs continually innovate to create small businesses that stand out from the rest. He provides a scientific approach to creating small businesses that can figure out what the customer wants and how to create a useful product that gets in their hands faster than ever.

Useful for anyone navigating their way through the business world, The Lean Startup offers a real-world approach to manifesting a profitable business model that keeps customers coming. According to Ries, the best startups are open to change and adjust according to their customers’ evolving needs. 

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3. The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki 

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

The Art of the Start is a time-tested guide for anyone who wants to start anything. As a small business owner, starting is often the most difficult step. Whether you’re looking to start a new small business, organization, or create a new product, there’s always a way. Everyone who wants to make the world a better place is first plagued with a grand idea.

But what does it take to turn your idea into action? Everyone has ideas, but few go out and execute. For small business owners, there’s no shortage of advice about raising capital and effective branding. However, there is a shortage of advice on how to actually make your startup dreams a reality. 

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4. Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel 

Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel

Written by investor Blake Masters and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, Zero to One explains how the best small businesses are ones that build the future. From founding and selling PayPal, Peter Thiel goes into his most helpful insights on making an impactful business, and how to get others on board in the process.

By becoming a billionaire and investing in Facebook, Peter Thiel is no stranger to the most well-known startups of today’s world. That said, Zero to One is a valuable classic, giving you useful advice from only the most experienced businessmen in the modern world. 

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5. Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk 

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

In Crush It!, Gary Vaynerchuk explains why right now is the best time to cash in on your passion. Do you have a hobby that you wish you could indulge in all day, or a passion that you wish you could make your full-time job? If so, this is the book for you. After all, most small business owners start out by manifesting their passion into a business.

Make doing what you love into a living and use the power of the Internet to turn your passion into a real business. In this, industry leader Gary Vaynerchuk shares his secrets on building a small business and personal brand. 

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6. $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau 

$100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

$100 Startup is a book on how to reinvent the way you make a living. After all, this is why most entrepreneurs seek to start something new in the first place. Here, Chris Guillebeau guides the reader on how to make a profit while living a life full of risk and adventure. Chris himself has been able to live a life full of freedom and travel as his own boss. 

This book shows you how to break away from the traditional 9-5 and manifest your passion into a profitable business venture. By reading $100 Startup, you’ll be able to create this profitable venture for just $100 or less. 

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7. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Profit First is all about transforming your business from a cash-eating monster into a money-making machine. In this, Mike Michalowicz offers a simple cash management solution that will help small business owners break out of the doom spiral and achieve instant profitability. 

Although conventional accounting uses logical formulas to gain profit, small businesses are run by humans, and humans aren’t always logical. Luckily, Michalowicz has created a behavioral approach to accounting that flips the formula and makes it easy to follow. 

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8. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras 

Built to Last- Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Outlining the research extracted from a 6-year long research project, Built to Last explains the proven managing techniques that lead to legendary companies. Collins and Porras go into the process of building a business that is admired by peers, holding an outstanding reputation, and implementing a significant impact on the world. 

They consistently emphasize that while management techniques have the power to improve a company’s effectiveness, it’s how the managing techniques impact the organization as a whole that matters most in the long run. While focusing on the leader is essential, focusing on managing the entire business is perhaps the most crucial predictor of future success.

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9. Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

Lost and Founder is a painfully honest field guide to making it in the startup world. In this, Rand Fishkin explains how the Silicon Valley startup mindset leaves many small businesses astray. Completed with transparency and humor, this book explains the myths about starting a small business and what the reality is actually like.

Now the world’s expert on SEO and $45 million/year business owner, Rand Fishkin goes into how he got there, and why it took 15 years of his reputation to grow. He pulls the curtain away from the tech startup mythology and prepares you for the harsh realities of the small business life. 

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10. Company of One by Paul Jarvis 

Company of One by Paul Jarvis

Company of One is all about why staying small is the next big thing for businesses. Perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of being a business owner isn’t scaling your startup, but working your own hours and living life on your own terms. Perhaps the better and smarter solution is to stay small. 

In this refreshing new approach to owning a business, Paul Jarivs teaches you how you can remain a small business while reaping the benefits of being a business owner in the first place. By staying small, you still have the freedom to enjoy the more meaningful pleasures of life while making your passion your full-time job. 

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Final Thoughts: Best Small Business Books

Ultimately, starting (and maintaining) a small business is never easy. The expert guidance from the books above will help you stay motivated, prepare yourself for the common pitfalls of small businesses, and manage your money. 

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