20 Best Small Business Books to Help Expand Your Skill Sets

Starting a small business, no matter how small, is a huge undertaking and these best small business books can help you get started out on the right foot.

Even if you’re just setting up a web-based business, it is still something you’d invest your money, time and effort into.

If you’re looking for guidance and don’t know where to start, need some push from success stories, a road-map to guide you through your small business plan, there’s nowhere better to go than straight into the minds of those who have successfully done it before you.

Check out my list of the best small business books, before you begin plotting your small business, or even if you’re right smack in the middle of busy day-to-day operations:

Best Books for New Small Business Owners

If you’re just starting out, these books could definitely serve as your guide:

1. Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months by Melinda F. Emerson

Ideal for people with absolutely zero experience in business.

This guide will lead you through everything from a start-up checklist to creating a business and financial plan, from setting up marketing campaigns to hiring employees, and everything else in between.

2. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

There isn’t an entrepreneur out there who hasn’t read the 4-Hour Workweek early in their journey.

This is another blueprint for starting your own small business, but its focus is working smart.

Great for beginner entrepreneurs who are getting overwhelmed with the thought of working non-stop to build a new company.

Tim details how he went from $40,000/year with 80 weekly work hours to $40,000/month with only 4 weekly work hours spent.

3. The E-Myth Revisted by Michael Gerber

This book is an update to Gerber’s 1998 bestseller.

It helps new business owners in separating the myths and assumptions of entrepreneurship, so you can get the ball running with a proper business structure.

4. The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki

The title says it all.

Written by Silicon Valley venture capitalist and marketing specialist (known for campaigns of the original Mac computers in the 80s), Guy Kawasaki knows what he’s talking about.

What I like best about this book is Kawasaki’s advice to focus on the beginning phases, so these issues won’t pop up as your business grows.

5. Will It Fly? by Thomas K. McKnight

The author compared over 200 business launches to pinpoint 44 key elements of success, which you can use to determine if a small business idea has the potential “to fly” or not.

6. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Talk about a classic book.

Released in 1998, this book remains a best-seller because it teaches you how to win people over and changing people without them knowing.

It’s a good resource, if you’re starting your small business with employees right off the bat.

7. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

The author is a co-founder of PayPal, a venture capitalist and early investor of Facebook, so expect a lot of insider knowledge shared within the book.

However, instead of just a roadmap to launch your small business, Thiel focuses on the idea that you have to create something that nobody else has created to succeed no matter the industry or niche you’re in.

Productivity and Tools of the Trade

Every skill can be learned.

If you’re just discovering that you lack expertise in areas like leadership or public speaking, you at least know what you need to fix. Here are the most common themes and solutions:

8. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership for Leading

The author is an internationally-renowned leadership expert and speaker who has trained millions of leaders around the world.

In the book, he shares what he learned (along with mistakes made) throughout his 30 years of leadership experience in categories as varied as sports, military, religion, politics, and business.

9. Setting the Table for Customer Service

Shake Shack founder shares effective customer service techniques he has used at his restaurants.

You don’t have to be in the food business to appreciate his tips, as long as your small business involves customers, this book can help you maneuver your own customer support department.

10. The Ultimate Sales Machine for Time Management

This book will help you identify which tasks you want to prioritize since saying “yes” to one thing means it would take your time away from another thing.

As a small business owner, you will be your own boss and learning how to keep on track is one of your biggest challenges.

11. Deep Work for Time Management

“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” is exactly what the title says.

This book gives you four rules to follow that will help you hit your stride when you sit down to work and it will help you stay focused with your goals.

12. Speak and Get Results for Public Speaking

Some people are born with impressive public speaking and communication skills.

Others aren’t.

If you’re part of the second group and you’re starting a small business, don’t fret.

You can still bag deals, get funding, or win your people’s trust by working on your presentations and following a formula for public speaking success.

13. Influence for Marketing

Fortune Magazine lists this book in their “75 Smartest Business Books” and for good reason.

It is an impressive book about persuasion, sales and influencing your would-be customers to buying your product or service.

Robert Cialdini is a renowned behavioral scientist and you can read his experience through his books. The case studies, which show why a product sells poorly or well, are golden.

14. Virtual Freedom for Scaling Your Business

This is specific to small business owners who built their businesses online.

Ideal for affiliate marketers and online entrepreneurs who brought their business up from scratch and now need to bring in people to help scale the business.

This book helps those who have been used to doing everything themselves (as the boss, customer representative, IT guy, and so on) and letting go by hiring someone else (like a virtual assistant) to perform tasks on your behalf and free your time for more important stuff.

15. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business for Scaling

If you have big dreams for your company, make sure you’re in control.

This book will help you re-focus your goals with its 3-method “Entrepreneurial Operating System” in avoiding business burnout and strengthening the six key components of your business.

Best Business Books to Get Inspired

If you need inspiration, or want to read success stories of people who had an idea just like you and turned those ideas into a successful business, check these books out:

16. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Who doesn’t love Elon Musk?

Written by veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance, this book has insider conversations from the man himself, as well as his family, friends and colleagues from his PayPal days to his ambitious SpaceX.

Doesn’t matter what niche you’re in.

You’ll definitely learn a thing or two from  Silicon Valley’s most daring entrepreneur.

17. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Originally published in 2002, this book has since been a New York Times #1 best seller with over 35 million copies sold.

Christian pastor Rick Warren can help you find your purpose in life and help you focus to reach that goal.

This is a spiritual road map, so be warned if you’re not a fan of Bible verses mixed into your non-fiction reading.

18. 32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business by Earvin Johnson

If you only knew Magic Johnson as the famous basketball player, you’ll be surprised that he’s also a successful entrepreneur who now owns Magic Johnson Enterprises, a conglomerate company with a net worth of $700 million.

This book isn’t just about Johnson’s successes, but he also shares where he failed and gives real-world tips in navigating your own business.

19. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Good to Great)

This book is a compilation of several successful companies, which Collins and Porras studied in a span of 6 years at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

This book has real-world examples of companies, comparing their developments as start-ups, to midsize companies, and up to large corporations status.

You’ll learn what some of these companies did right (and did wrong), so you can apply to your own small business.

20. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

The author is the founder of Nike himself.

Serving as CEO for the multibillion company from 1964 to 2004, and as board chairman until 2016, Phil Knight is definitely an interesting figure not only in the world of sports, but also in business.

If this is one of Bill Gates’ favorite books, I’m pretty sure you’ll find something to love here as well.

The Bottom Line

These 20 best books for small business owners are enough to get you inspired and started.

They’re ideal for anyone launching a small business, regardless if it’s a brick-and-mortar, pop-up store or a completely online FBA Amazon store.

Just make sure you handpick and keep tips from all these best small business books that would be perfect for your small business, situation and personality.

While there are “step-by-step” guides listed here, know that you can customize them to fit your current business standing.

20 Ways to Get Free Kids Books By Mail

Reading books to kids soon after birth may translate into higher language and vocabulary skills and when you can get free kids books by mail, there’s no reason not to read to them.

Plenty of research has been done to prove this. You probably know it in your heart to be fact, too.

But sometimes, buying books for kids can be costly. Especially for book-loving children who eat up one book after another.

To support your child’s brain development, while still keeping loyal to your monthly budget, you can get free kids books by mail (yup, snail mail AND email).

Here’s how:

20 Ways to Get Free Kids Books by Mail

Nothing beats the smell of books, as you turn the book one page at a time.

If you’re a fan of old-school reading and want to read to your child with hardcopy books, here are several websites to join:

1. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

This is probably the most popular resource out of all in the list.

Of course, it is!

It was built by legendary country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton herself and has since mailed over 120 million books across the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

Like the 1.5 million users on the site, you have to register your kids to participate in the book gifting program. Children (ages 0 to five years old) can receive books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

The cool thing about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is that once your child is registered, the organization will automatically deliver a book to your home, giving your kid a mail to look forward to.

The only downside to this site is that it’s only available in select areas. To find out if your area can be accommodated, check the website. Plus, kids given books are those only age 5 and below (particularly kids who aren’t in school yet).

2. Read Comingo

If you’re training bilingual kids to love reading, Read Comingo could be a great resource for you and your child. You can access English-Spanish books aimed at preschool through 5th grade kids.

The printed books are only available for delivery if you live in certain areas of California, Florida, and Texas. Kids books by mail are only sent every four months.

However, the Read Conmigo Bookshelf is accessible to anyone after sign-up. So far, there are 43 bilingual books for kids on the web-based “bookshelf.” You can download free book samples once you join, and read it straight from Conmigo’s mobile app.

3. Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

This is a bit different.

Technically, you’ll need to buy several books first (8 to be exact) that your kid chose from a list pre-grouped titles for specific age groups.

The idea behind this is for kids to read books all throughout summer and maintain a “Summer Reading Journal” detailing what parts you loved about each book. Once your kid’s journal is completed, you and your kid should visit the nearest Barnes and Noble branch (sometime between May and September) to receive a free book.

Swap Books with other Book-lovers

If your kids have already graduated from nursery rhymes, and want to move on to fairy tales, one way to get free kids books is by swapping them to other booklovers.

In most cases, you need to register to the book-swapping website.

From there, you either list the books you’re ready to let go of, or wait for other people to look for those titles. Either way, once you find a match, you have to shoulder shipping cost. You’ll then receive points or credits as good karma, and you’ll get your chance to request a book.

Note that each site would have its own swapping system in place, so check first for rules before swapping books.

4. BookMooch

This site works on a points system.

You first list down book titles you want to give away.

Every time you receive a request from interested parties, you have to mail the books. You’ll receive points for each “swap,” which you can then use to request books from others.

5. Books Free Swap

Available only in the US.

Unlike other swap sites wherein you’d have to shoulder shipping fees to send it out, the recipient pays an average of $3.28 to ship out a book.

The wish list feature is searchable, which means you have a better chance of finding a match for your book titles.

6. PaperBackSwap.com

This is the largest book club around with over 1.5 million books ready for swapping at any given time.

PaperBackSwap works similarly to other book-swap sites, except you’d have more title options of free books for kids.

You do have to pay to ship the books you send to other people, but the ones you request will be sent free of charge.

Free Books in Exchange for Reviews

7. Fresh Fiction

If you have a knack for writing, Fresh Fiction can be an amazing pastime for booklovers.

This is because the website gives you free books, if you’re willing to write a review.

Not everyone can become a reviewer though (there’s a quick test run for those interested).

Once you’re accepted as a book reviewer, you’ll have access to a ton of online books. You can get physical copies of books delivered to your home by mail.

The site never runs out of titles and they’re home to hundreds of children’s books too! Most of the titles here come from authors directly and Fresh Fiction sells the best-of-the-best books as part of a book box subscription via its sister site freshfictionbox.com.

8. NetGalley

Book authors send their pre-release copies of their books to NetGalley.

From there, users like you and me can read books for free, but write a review in return.

The categories aren’t easy to find, but NetGalley has a Children’s Fiction and Children’s Non-Fiction sections.

9. OnlineBookClub.org

This web-based book club has been around for over 10 years.

Boasting 300k+ members, the club gives away a free book in exchange for a review.

If you eat up books quickly, you can even turn this into a money-making gig after your first review. The Online Book Club also pays experienced book reviewers anywhere between $5 and $60.

10. Enchanted Book Promotions

This company serves promotion services to authors and publishers.

One effective way Enchanted Book Promotions spread word about a particular book is through book reviews, which they pass on to regular folk like you and I.

Unlike other websites on this list, this company lets users post reviews on their own blogs, Amazon, or Goodreads. In exchange for the book review, users get books for free.

The company updates the list of books available for review. Check it out here, and simply fill out the form if you’re interested.

11. Lola’s Book Tours

Lola’s Book Tours is similar to Enchanted Book Promotions.

Both companies provide promotional services to up-and-coming authors to get a wider audience.

Book reviewers can get a copy of books free. You just have to post the review on your blog, or personal account from Goodreads or Amazon.

Check out the “Open Review Opportunities” section for a list of books available. Aside from adult fiction books, Lola’s regularly has free children’s books and young adult categories.

Free Online Books: How to get Free Books Sent to Your Kid’s Tablet

Unlike paperbacks and hard copies of books, digital versions are more easier to find.

With eBooks, you can:

  • Download free PDFs of books online and have them printed (with real pages)
  • Download free PDFs of books online and access the PDF via a phone or tablet reading app
  • Buy an electronic reading tablet or an “e-reader” (like Kindle or Kobo), then find free books for your kids directly from their respective libraries

12. Amazon’s Kindle

If you’re looking for free Kindle books for kids, there’s no better resource than directly at Amazon (creator of Kindle).

The children’s ebooks section is divided into two – top 100 Paid and top 100 Free, both of which are updated hourly.

You need to have an Amazon account, so you can simply “buy” the ebook with 1-click. From there, all you have to do is check your Kindle device if the book you chose was sent successfully.

It’s hard to run out of free books for kids on Amazon’s Kindle library, so take advantage of this amazing resource. Or better yet, check out this awesome list of 200+ free Kindle books for children, compiled by Goodreads users from around the world, to get you started…

13. FreeKidsBooks.org

This website may look outdated, but it holds millions of free books that you can download without paying a cent.

Titles are categorized only by age group, but you can find clickable tags on each listing (such as Public Domain, Non-fiction, Cars, Counting, author’s name, and so on).

You have the option of reading the book online, or downloading its free PDF version.

14. Project Gutenberg

If you’re trying to find classic children’s books like “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” and “Peter Pan,” it is highly likely that Project Gutenberg has it.

In fact, Project Gutenberg boasts more sub-categories of kid’s books, including School Stories, Children’s Myths and Fairy Tales, and Children’s Fiction (among others).

The site features a whopping 56,000 free books in PDF version, which you can download for free and enjoy for as long as you want.

Just type in “children” or “kids” in the search field, and enjoy!

15. OpenLibrary.org

Like Project Gutenberg, the OpenLibrary is a site with a massive catalog.

You can borrow one copy at a time (from its 3 million eBooks at the Lending Library) and finish reading for up to two weeks.

OpenLibrary has book dating back to 1450 to this year, with favorite children’s books like “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and so on. Browse through the Juvenile Fiction and Juvenile Literature sections to explore hundreds of children’s book titles.

16. FreeChildrenStories.com

The free children’s books here will definitely be new to you.

It’s because this website features original kid’s stories perfect for children ages 3 to 5, 5 to 8, and 8 to 10, as well as “middle graders.”

You’ll love the illustrations, which seem to be crafted for this generation’s “eye.”

Some books here are not free, but they’re available super-cheap at 99cents via BarnesAndNoble.com.

17. KidsWorldFun.com

There is no shortage of free books for kids at Kids World Fun.

All ebooks listed here are free to read, download and enjoy anytime, anywhere.

There are also poems, short stories, and quotes for kids to give your child some introduction to other forms of literature.

18. Read.gov

Sponsored by the US Library of Congress, Read.gov helps in promoting literature to young kids.

There are plenty of classic children’s book titles available here from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” to “Cinderella.”

Free books can be read straight off the site, too! You don’t need to download it as PDF and read it on a separate ebook reader.

19. Bibliomania

It’s not the most user-friendly website out there, but it is definitely another must-bookmark website simply for having 800 classic literature.

If you can’t find the children’s book you need at Project Gutenberg and OpenLibrary.org, you can try your luck here.

“The Jungle Book,” “Huckleberry Finn,” “Oliver Twist” and other fiction children’s books are available for reading any time you want.

20. BookBub

BookBub organizes ebooks for you.

The titles are available for any platform or device, including Kobo, Google, Apple, Kindle, Barnes&Noble, and more.

Many of the books here are not free, but they do feature free books every now and then. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to read adorable free books for children and middle-graders without costing you a penny.

Free Kids Books by Mail is a Win for All

You can also get free books for kids from your own neighborhood, or donate books you no longer need (and are willing to let go).

Make sure to visit Little Free Libraries and OverDrive to find the nearest free library in your area.

Want to receive more stuff by mail aside from books?

Check out this massive list of free samples you can get mailed directly to your door. Here’s a different list of free samples, but only exclusive to baby products.