My favorite books for business owners planning a transition (and I know all 5 authors personally)

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a coach to business owners for the last 25 years, with a concentration on exit planning for the last twelve. During that time I have personally worked with over 500 owners. I’ve written 4 books on the subject, two of which were award winners. I’ve seen so many owners who built excellent businesses, but are stymied by how to leave them without deserting their employees and customers. Almost two-thirds of business owners over 60 years old have no plan for the transition of their businesses. I am on a mission to fix that.


I wrote...

Your Exit Map: Navigating the Boomer Bust

By John F. Dini,

Book cover of Your Exit Map: Navigating the Boomer Bust

What is my book about?

Fast-paced, enjoyable to read, and even more fun to look at, Your Exit Map: Navigating the Boomer Bust is a new kind of business book for the 21st century. Over 200 illustrations, photos, graphs, and cartoons take the reader through the historical shifts that created a generation of Baby Boomer entrepreneurs, and the equally powerful forces that are assembling to challenge their successful transitions.

Your Exit Map covers the various strategies for transferring a business to new ownership. It describes the features that attract different classes of buyers, how they target companies for acquisition, and their methodologies for assigning value. Your Exit Map: Navigating the Boomer Bust is supplemented by an online library of free interactive planning tools, checklists, and educational resources at YourExitMap.com.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Exit Planning: The Definitive Guide

John F. Dini Why did I love this book?

John Brown is the Founder of the Business Enterprise Institute (BEI,) the organization that grants the Certified Exit Planner (CExP)designation. This is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive book on the options, strengths, and pitfalls of exiting your business. It is, however, pretty dry for the average owner, and is much more useful as a reference work for professional advisors.

By John H. Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Exit Planning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leaving your business is the most significant financial transaction of your life, and nothing has greater financial and emotional consequences. The future quality of your life depends upon how well you manage your exit process.

The Definitive Guide lays out the steps you must take to achieve all of your dreams and aspirations as you exit your business. Author John Brown shares the stories, tested process and exit planning roadmap that is the compilation of wisdom from hundreds of exit planning advisors across North America. These advisors, and John Brown’s company, BEI, create thousands of owner exit plans every year.…


Book cover of Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top

John F. Dini Why did I love this book?

Bo Burlingham is an original editor for Inc. Magazine, leading that publication from its founding in Boston through its acquisition and relocation to New York CIty. This collection of “real life” exiting stories is entertaining and a quick read. The subjects are actual business owners, although most had middle-market companies that attract far more interest than the average Main Street (Under $3,000,000 value) businesses. As the author says, “No two exits are exactly alike.” 

By Bo Burlingham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finish Big as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bo Burlingham, the bestselling author of Small Giants, returns with Finish Big, an original guide to exiting your company successfully and gracefully.

"Finish Big is for all those founder/leaders who want to do more than take...it is for the ones who want to leave something behind." Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last

"Practical and profound, fast-moving and thought-provoking, masterful in its clear prose and compelling stories- Bo Burlingham has once again done a tremendous service in deploying his craft." Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and co-author of Built to Last and Great by…


Book cover of Walking to Destiny: 11 Actions An Owner MUST Take to Rapidly Grow Value & Unlock Wealth

John F. Dini Why did I love this book?

Chris is the CEO of the Exit Planning Institute, the organization that grants the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designation. The first half of the book is about the transition of the Baby Boomers, the most entrepreneurial generation in history. The second half outlines EPI’s proprietary Value Enhancement Methodology, a system for increasing the value of your company.

By Christopher M. Snider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walking to Destiny as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Business Owners. By a Business Owner.
Walking to Destiny is not only your essential resource to understand what makes your business attractive and ready for transition; it is a business owner’s handbook to know HOW TO rapidly grow value and ultimately unlock the personal wealth trapped in your most significant financial asset: Your Business.

The Voice of the Industry:
Christopher M. Snider, CEPA, CEO and President of the Exit Planning Institute, creator of the Value Acceleration Methodology, and Managing Partner of Snider Premier Growth, is recognized as a thought leader and trendsetter in the field of value acceleration and…


Book cover of Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth: A Strategic Guide for Owners and Their Advisors

John F. Dini Why did I love this book?

John is the founder of the International Exit Planning Association, the organization that grants the Certified Business Exit Planning Consultant (CBEC) designation I’d place this book much higher than fourth, except that it was written in 2008, and could use some updating on legal and tax issues. Nonetheless, the first half is definitely the best in discussing the psychological and emotional issues of an owner separating from the business.

By John M. Leonetti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by John Leonetti-attorney, wealth manager, merger and acquisition associate, and fellow exiting business owner in his own right-Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth will guide you in thoughtfully planning out your exit options as well as helping you analyze your financial and mental readiness for your business exit. Easy to follow and essential for every business owner, this guide reveals how to establish an exit strategy plan that is in harmony with your goals.


Book cover of The $10 Trillion Opportunity: Designing Successful Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners

John F. Dini Why did I love this book?

I don’t know Richard Jackim, but Peter Christman is the founder of EPI, and this book is often described as “Where exit planning for business owners began.” It was the first to outline exit planning as a process that requires a team. It discusses tax and legal strategies, coordinating with estate planning, and developing a plan for due diligence. Written mostly for advisors, the focus is on the M&A process for middle market companies, but no list of exit planning books would be complete without it.

By Richard E. Jackim, Peter G. Christman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The $10 Trillion Opportunity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The $10 Trillion Opportunity shows business advisors how to develop comprehensive, integrated exit plans for business owners. With the baby boomer generation approaching retirement age, exit planning has become one of the hottest topics for business advisors. Exit planning is a process that asks and answers all of the personal, business, financial, legal, estate and tax issues involved in selling or exiting from a privately held business. The $10 Trillion Opportunity is a logically structured book with a no-nonsense approach to exploring and addressing a topic that is often misunderstood and at times overwhelming for business owners and their advisors…


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The Managing People Practice Manual

By Neil Thompson,

Book cover of The Managing People Practice Manual

Neil Thompson Author Of The Managing People Practice Manual

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Educator Adviser

Neil's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This manual addresses the need to ensure that people are at the centre of the organisation. There has never been a timelier reminder of the need to ensure that leading, supporting and developing staff are critical aspects of creating the right organisational culture to grow and develop. Written with sensitivity, it brings together essential learning and underpinning theoretical knowledge and frameworks to promote effective practice.

This is an essential handbook for managers and leaders who want to develop the full potential of their people. It not only covers the fundamental issues of human resource management, but also highlights important topics that organisations find difficult to address, such as empowerment, stress management, mental health, equality, diversity, inclusion, and the promotion of well-being at work.

The Managing People Practice Manual

By Neil Thompson,

What is this book about?

It is refreshing to come across an HR book that bridges the gap perfectly between the academic theory and the practicality of ‘how to do it'. Dr Neil Thompson takes us on a humanistic journey that genuinely captures the human dimension of people management. This is an extremely helpful manual full of important and practical information about promoting well-being to achieve the best outcome for various everyday people management issues. The easy-to-understand inclusive language of this book calls to anyone interested in people management, meaning this is a perfect book for students, HR leaders, and practitioners. I know I will…


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