My book club is ready to give me the boot. Actually they have been very patient with me these past few months when I recently announced that due to “income, time and duty” demands I could no longer justify reading the fiction choices we’ve tended to gravitate towards, at least for the immediate future. Possibly ’til the end of time as we know it. It was a sad day when that announcement had to be made. I’d practiced it a few times in the car on my way over to our March book club gathering in the hopes that it would either sound pathetic enough to illicit the response I needed, which was basically that they would all understood that any book I was reading for the next six to 9 months, or possibly for the rest of my life had to contain either 2.0 or Guerilla somewhere in the title. 

They understood, and did not give me the boot, especially when I volunteered to be the entertainment at all future meetings. Whatever that meant. They’re good, if not curious people.

So to appease my grave decision that my reading choices were having to take a Walk on the Serious Side, and for at least the time being stop being my escape, but rather my inspiration and business focus, it has occurred to me that I have a number of excellent recommendations which I can be sharing with anyone out there who, like me, is constantly on the lookout for business and entrepreneurial inspiration, techniques for both personal,professional and business growth, and implementable tidbits of wisdom and skills that can be immediately applied. Without it being termed “self-help”. Yuck.

Who couldn’t use that?

Therefore, here in begins a new form of blog, Suzen’s Book Recommendations, which I will attempt to share once per month, depending on how much reading time life allows me.


3 Great Book Recommendations for Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs and Those of us Just Seeking Personal Growth (but not ‘self-help’):


My #1 of all time recommendation is …drumroll please…

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


Steven has written a whole host of personal , business and success oriented books and is for sure one of the top pioneers and masters of creating one’s “Personal Best”. Since the early 70’s he has been preaching time honored, revolutionary mindsets and practices to lead one to their peak performance, in whatever flavor of the month is popular at that time.

This is my second go around with 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which was updated and refreshed a bit in 2008. I found it just as, if not more compelling than the first time around. Covey is king of the “paradigm shift” and teaches us that often it is not the issue itself that is in need of a makeover but rather the way that we look at the issue, or person that is in need of a “shift”. Once one ‘gets’ and is able to shift the way we are thinking about things, all else can fall into place because we are now seeing things with different, more enlightened eyes. He gets us out of ourselves and our old, destructive habits. I especially love that he does not preach the specific steps as much as conveys the necessity of change in our underlying attitudes that is required for growth to emerge and positive changes to be made. We could all use a new way to look at ourselves, a chance to step back and evaluate ourselves with an outside eye, to learn how to be more “effective” in all aspects of our lives, and Covey enlightens us on how to make that happen. Does it read a bit like a spiritual advisor with a PhD in business and psychology? Yes, a bit, but in this case, that is the good news. His insights are inspiring and enlightening; it’s almost like having your own personal spiritual cheerleader there by your side.

Love this book. And it’s a great graduation gift, by the way.

Guerilla Marketing For Free by Jay Conrad Levinson should be required reading for anyone either starting a small-or large for that matter- business, or for those in business for a while who may be experiencing less than stellar sales and need to get back to basics. Levinson, the uber-marketer extraordinaire, gives 100 methods of getting your word out, building your business and staying ahead of your competition, all with the KISS method in mind. (Keep It Simple, your choice of ‘s’ words). Although a few of his techniques may have a “duh” factor attached to them…like attending Chamber of Commerce and other networking events…if one implemented just half of these techniques and kept to it (key) consistently (key again), there is no doubt that you will increase your business, provided you are able to deliver the quality work you are marketing. There are SO MANY easy ways to promote without spending money that why small businesses throw money at expensive advertising prior to using free marketing techniques like these is beyond me. Large businesses are thinking outside of the paid ad box as well, and in a big way- look at last years Pepsi Superbowl marketing campaign all done on the internet rather than with traditional TV ads. Pepsi saved millions of dollars and raked in bigger sales numbers than in any previous year. (Disclaimer: I haven’t looked at their books/this is what was reported). Because the book was written in 2003, it is somewhat behind the times in terms of use of the internet, which, when used effectively (hire yourself a good internet marketer, just perhaps) in conjunction with Levinson’s “offline” methods, will indeed create much more easy exposure to a wider audience than ever before possible, if applied consistently, will cause your business to go “viral”, and create the passive income you desire. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog….

The first book I read when starting to form my own business was Jane Pollak’s “Soul Proprietor, 101 Lessons From A Lifestyle Entrepreneur. Jane has always been an inspiration to me as an artist turned business coach and speaker, and her collection of witty, clever and candid (but so relatable) frustrations and successes were such a comfort to read as I was getting my business off the ground. There is something calming in her simple prose style writing, which she delivers in straightforward, often humorous tales, using her own examples of mishaps and lessons learned while transitioning from her prior life as an artist to her current business coaching entity.

Jane is inspiring and down to earth with her lessons, making it easy for anyone beginning their own path to incorporate into their budding business. It’s especially helpful for those of us “recreating” ourselves, at a “certain age”. It is generous of Jane to share her lessons learned with those of us out there going down a similar path, with the hopes of what my mother would say “learning from someone else’s mistakes!” (“for God’s sake”).

Hope these have been helpful. Do you have book suggestions of your own or comments on the above book choices? Please share below!



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