Books I Recommend

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Steven Covey

I was cynical about this book before I read it (shame on me). Now I believe it’s a book every person should read. It’s much more than a book about doing business. It’s about how one might live his or her life.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

As a person who is not by nature highly organized, I’ve searched high and low over the years for a system that would allow me to get it together…and not forget where I put it. Allen’s capture and review system does the trick.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to do About it. by Michael Gerber

At some juncture you’ve likely heard the phrase “work on your business, not in your business.” This is where it comes from and Gerber explains the importance of working on the business. Gerber walks the reader through the stages of an entrepreneurial business and shows how one might use the lessons of franchising (whether or not one is a franchise) to grow the business in a predictable and productive way.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

The title of this book pretty much explains its main premise. As Sinek says, “any person or organization can explain what they do; some can explain how they are different or better; but very few can clearly articulate why. Why is not about money or profit—those are results. WHY is the thing that inspires us and inspires those around us.”

Small Is the New Big: And 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas by Seth Godin

I’ve been an avid reader of Seth Godin’s blog for quite some time. This book is a collection of 194 “riffs, rants, and remarkable business ideas,” nuff said.

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

A quote from the author explains this book well: “It’s simple: There are tribes everywhere now, inside and outside of organizations, in public and in private, in nonprofits, in classrooms, across the planet. Every one of these tribes is yearning for leadership and connection. This is an opportunity to find or assemble a tribe and lead it. The question isn’t Is it possible for me to do that? Now the question is Will I choose to do it?”

Anything else by Seth Godin (  You might have guessed by now that I’m a raving fan of what Seth Godin writes. He’s the author of 17 books, and none of them would be a waste of your time.

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping: Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond by Paco Underhill

Anyone who is involved in any way in a retail business MUST read this book. Underhill is a “retail anthropologist” and can explain the behavior of retail customers to the finest detail of how they enter a space, what they handle, what signs they’ll read (and which ones they won’t). I’ve had the good fortune to spend some time with Paco and owe him a great deal.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink

“Lawyers, Accountants, Software engineers. That’s what Mom and Dad encouraged us to become. They were wrong. Gone is the age of “elf-brain” dominance. The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: Designers, inventors, teachers, storytellers—creative and emphatic “right-brain” thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.” — Daniel Pink

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others by Daniel Pink

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that one in nine Americans work in sales. Daniel Pink says that all nine do. He then goes on to describe how all of us can use the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another’s perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and pages and pages more of practical and perceptive tips.

It Takes a Village Books: 35 Years of Building Community, One Book at a Time by Chuck Robinson

It Takes a Village Books is the story of an idea that became a bookstore and a bookstore that became a central part of the community. It’s also a personal story of two people who found their passion and turned it into a life.

The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership: Building High-Performing Nonprofit Boards by Cathy A. Trower

In 2005 Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan, and Barbara E. Taylor published Governance as Leadership. The book has become a classic in the nonprofit sector. However, it is a dense, academic tome that left many in the field scratching their heads. Seven years later Cathy Trower published The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership, which has become the seminal guide for nonprofit boards.

Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to raise money joyfully by Susan Howlett

This is the quintessential book for working with boards on fundraising issues. Susan is both inspiring and amazingly practical in her approach. This book can help convert reluctant board members into passionate fundraisers.

Order directly from Susan Howlett –

The Nordstrom Way to Customer Experience Excellence Robert Spector & breAnne Reeves

I’ve long been a fan of the series of Nordstrom Way books written by Robert Spector.  breAnne Reeves joins him in this latest one, based on the values by which the Nordstroms have operated their company for so many years.  This is essential reading for anyone engaged in a business or nonprofit organization.


Small Business Development Center

These centers, located throughout the U.S. offer free consulting to small businesses. You can find an office near you on the website.


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