Top Small Business Books – My Picks for SmallBizTrends 2012 #BizBookAwards

UPDATE: 46,000 Votes later, you can see the
Small Business Book Award Winners

Small Biz Trends Book Awards 2012The fourth annual Small Business Book Awards highlights the best new Small Business books specifically beneficial for small businesses rather than applicable only or primarily to enterprise or corporate level businesses.


Instrumental in bringing us this valuable awareness of books that can make a difference are:

Anita Campbell

Anita Campbell

Anita Campell, Founder of the Small Business Book Awards and the driving force behind:

Ivana Taylor

Ivana Taylor

Ivana Taylor, publisher of and an exceptional writer in her own right. She is co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers.” Do be sure to check out her DIY Marketers blog.


Over 200 small business books published within the last year have been nominated this year. There are my top picks – one in every category and three in Marketing:

Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed
(Excellent for entrepreneurs, small businesses and their employees and managers as well as the self-employed.)

Marketing Shortcuts

Engagement from Scratch

Engagement From Scratch

Managing with a Conscience

Managing With A Conscence

Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing & How to Profit From It

Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It

“One of the best things about the book is that each chapter ends with a concise set of information on resources/next steps you can take to get involved in that particular local investing approach.” ~ Elizabeth on GoodReads ~

Duct Tape Seo: WordPress SEO Done CheapDuct Tape SEO: WordPress SEO Done Dirt Cheap

Digital Impact: The Two Secrets to Online Marketing Success Digital Impact: The Two Secrets to Online Marketing Success

Become a Franchise Owner Become a Franchise Owner


Recommended: How to Sell Through Networking and ReferralsRecommended: How to Sell Through Networking and Referrals

And Death Came ThirdAnd Death Came Third

Books distill the wisdom and experience of decades into an easy to consume format; exceptional books provide actionable strategies and a map you can use to guide your small business to greater heights. I highly recommend them as the fast path to success.

I was not aware that Olivier Blandchard’s book was in the running when I originally created this post. I thought it had been out too long to qualify so I didn’t think to look for it.

I am adding it to my list as he is the only one I have seen writing about how you CAN track Social Media ROI and the impact of other actions by using timelines.

Social Media ROISocial Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization

No doubt other excellent books have been nominated so feel free to share your favorites or draw attention to your own book in the comments. I did not have time to review ALL the nominations – so your book could end up in this post.

Disclosure: Many of the images in this post and the Buy links take you to Biggerbooks – my choice as the best alternative to Amazon.  There is NOTHING unethical about a blogger using affiliate links provided they only recommend what they truly believe in.  I do not support, buy from, or recommend the highly unethical I have received free review copies of some of these books.


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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.


  1. Two years later, and the book I\’ve recommended most often and still recommend is \”Get Recommended… for why see How to Get Recommended: Recommendations ARE WHAT WORKS to Grow Your Small Business or Blog.
    Gail Gardner would love you to read ..Growing Your Small Business Using a Blog ~ Google Hangout [Recorded]My Profile

  2. Here is a list of books listed for voting.As I am a SEO professional, busy at work and not able to recover a little time to read books in any all.Can suggest a good book from the list that can be useful in my career as well.Thanks to share a wonderful article.

  3. Australia News says:

    I started to get called on to deliver market thoughts and quite frankly, I don’t think I could keep a concrete thought. This book hammered home about leading with your strengths even if you don’t think you have any.

  4. WoW this is the huge list of books. Can someone recommends the best one of it?

  5. My hat tip goes to Death Came Third. I started to get called on to deliver market thoughts and quite frankly, I don’t think I could keep a concrete thought. This book hammered home about leading with your strengths even if you don’t think you have any. Confidence came as a result of this book and the many tips and suggestions it gave. While not a great speaker, I can at least hold the interest of the room.
    Shane would love you to read ..One Day Swing Trades Download – Important DetailsMy Profile

  6. Wow, this is awesome. I have only read one on this list. I am going out this weekend to pick up the others. Reading can only help you and your business. Thanks.

  7. There are some very interesting books in that list. I think reading is very important because knowledge increses when you read books, people should try to do it a bit more…

  8. Good list. Two of my favorite (older books) are E-Myth, and the Internet Business Manifesto (free ebook). Both really changed my perspective.

  9. Thanks for your top picks. I haven’t read these books yet. Will check it out soon.
    Nirmal would love you to read ..Tamil movie Kochadaiyaan Cast and Crew, Stills and Recent UpdatesMy Profile

  10. great recommendation Growmap. There are some very valuable and useful books that relates to my niche. will surely search in details about these books and try some from this fantastic collection.

  11. Reliable resources for business start ups and I’d say, that’s such a brave post.
    Erin would love you to read ..New List of Classic Books AddedMy Profile

  12. I recently developed interest in reading and must admit that books have the power to change the life of anyone. From being a pessimistic person I am started seeing the positive sides of things now.

  13. I just loved reading the book ‘And the death came third’. This book is aimed at people who are attending business networking meeting where they will meet a lot of people in a short period of time to see if there is a chance of doing business together. However the tips are equally as useful if you’re going to a party or wedding where you know very few people. The difference is that people at business networking meetings are looking to sell their product.

  14. I really like your website, I will visit again some time
    to see the new info from you.
    pepaya would love you to read ..Cara Pesan Benih Bibit Pepaya California & BangkokMy Profile

  15. Nice collection of small business books! Managing with Conscience is my favorite. In any business, building your employees’ trust and maintaining customers’ loyalty are the core factors to survive in today’s competitive market.

  16. That’s a great list to select from and all are incredible books. I do like to add one of them in my collection.
    John Cooper would love you to read ..Girls BeddingMy Profile

  17. I have been looking for books that would strengthen my motivation. Thank you for your suggestions. This is a pretty good list and the books’ reviews are impressive.

  18. Thanks for the list, I like the book “Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed” very much, read before and very useful!

  19. I voted for Digital Impact: The Two Secrets to Online Marketing Success. Its a gread book for anyone working in the digital marketing field or small business owners trying to promote their business using the internet. Great read

  20. Thanks for the list of business books, I have to admit that that is one of my weaknesses. I’d love to hear the story behind “unethical amazon”.
    jack would love you to read ..Forex TradingMy Profile

  21. I just finished reading this book ‘Become a franchise owner’ by Joel Libava. This book is full of the resources you need if you are seriously considering buying a franchise, including a self-evaluation to see if you’re cut out to become a franchise owner. As Libava says, most people aren’t cut out for franchises, so this book is an affordable tool to help you figure out if you should move forward.
    David would love you to read ..Canaan 4- Steps Powder Coating MethodsMy Profile

  22. A friend of mine purchased one of these books to help him promote his new small business. So I’m looking forward to hearing it myself, if he ever lets it go! haha

  23. No doubt a good list of books. Duct Tape SEO: WordPress SEO Done Dirt Cheap is really good I read it some time back and it helped me a lot. Thanks for sharing. Good Luck

  24. Carol Hong says:

    This list reminded me a lot of those little books as kids that we got from the library and had to read to increase our knowledge. I must say that you seem to have a great list here. I am hoping to read some of these books and looking forward to gaining useful information that will help me when it comes to my online business.

  25. My vote goes to: Duct Tape SEO: WordPress SEO Done Dirt Cheap, but there are many good and useful books on the list.

  26. so many good resources and books that everyone can use. I bet some of them have really good contents and ideas. And some books are also ideal for beginners who want to learn the basic stuffs of SEO and internet marketing.

  27. I’ve never heard of any of these books, but I think I’m gonna order that one on SEO… I usually just read the classics for business like Eugene Schwartz and Zig Ziglar.
    Chad would love you to read ..Daygame Blueprint Review –’s Daytime Pick Up GuideMy Profile

  28. I haven’t heard about the most of these books, but marketing shortcuts is really a must-have one for the people who are in online marketing and SEO. Such a great collection of must.have items, thanks for the inspiration!
    Julie would love you to read ..cosmetic dental treatmentMy Profile

  29. Cammile Mailhot says:

    This is a wonderful list of books. I think I will buy “Managing With A Conscience”. I feel other books will also be helpful but I will buy them after this book gives me good amount of help.
    Cammile Mailhot would love you to read ..Achat home trainerMy Profile

  30. Looks like I’ve got a lot of reading to do. The main point is that SEO and inbound marketing is relatively new way of promotion and there’s a lot we haven’t experienced. So we really need to read a lot.

  31. I am an avid reader and read books regularly. I must say that is great fun reading books and all that and I must say that your list of books here are great reads as well as great on more information providers. I have a small business and I think your books are great to help promote them.

  32. This post is is good source of books but might and main is to deeply understand the literature and practically apply these tips in business.

  33. While I’m sure Joel, “The Franchise King”, wrote the book for entrepreneurs and future business owners, I am recommending this work for everyone working the franchise space including marketers, operations, sales, and especially suppliers. You need this book if you’re even sniffing the idea of being a franchise owner. It will be the best money you ever spend. I believe Joel’s book is the best I’ve read on the steps franchisees need to take in order to properly research franchising and how best to lower risk in the process.

  34. Wow! Amazing post. All the books you have suggested are good favorite among them is “Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed”

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