The best books for new entrepreneurs and small business leaders

Dan Purvis Author Of 28 Days to Save the World: Crafting Your Culture to Be Ready for Anything
By Dan Purvis

Who am I?

When I went back to school for my MBA, I was looking for a way to apply the passion I’d found for changing lives for a better world. Studying business started my journey toward founding Velentium, a medtech engineering firm, in 2012. The pandemic was a make-or-break season for every industry, medtech included. We were determined to do our part, but were faced with an unprecedented challenge: boost the world’s emergency ventilator production from hundreds per month to thousands per week—in just 28 days. We succeeded—and it was a spiritually moving experience. I wrote 28 Days to Save the World in hopes of inspiring other organizations to punch above their weight class like we did.


I wrote...

28 Days to Save the World: Crafting Your Culture to Be Ready for Anything

By Dan Purvis, Jason Smith,

Book cover of 28 Days to Save the World: Crafting Your Culture to Be Ready for Anything

What is my book about?

After our company was recruited for "Project V", the massive ventilator production scale-up authorized by emergency production act, my marketing strategist and I got to tell the story of our experience. Serving on the frontlines of pandemic response is enough pressure to cause any size business to buckle. Our company didn't. In the book, we unpack how a small engineering firm tasked with completing a 7-month project in 4 weeks not only got it done, but thrived while doing it. 

Our odds-defying success is the product of a carefully crafted company culture. Eight years in the making, it was culture that carried us through an unprecedented crisis. You can do the same for your team—we wrote this book to show you how.

The books I picked & why

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Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

By Gino Wickman,

Book cover of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Why this book?

I read a lot of business books. If you want to build a small business from nothing—if you want it to be sustainable and capable of long-term success—Traction is the authoritative work, the number-one must-read. Wickman walks readers through the step-by-step, six-part process of building your own personal EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System). You’ll progress from Vision, to People, to Data, Issues, Processes, and finally, to Traction itself. This process aligns with everything we did to build our company from a 2-person, six-figure operation in 2012 to a 120-person, $30m world-class medtech engineering firm today.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

By Gino Wickman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you? All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations--personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It's not complicated or theoretical.The Entrepreneurial Operating System(R) is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 2,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do. In Traction, you'll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You'll discover simple yet…


Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't

By Verne Harnish,

Book cover of Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't

Why this book?

Is Scaling Up a textbook? Yes. Can it be a struggle to read cover-to-cover? Also yes. But once you’ve proven that your business model is viable, is Scaling Up a tried-and-true reference for keeping you encouraged and on track for taking your organization to the next level? Resoundingly: Yes!

But reading Harnish is more than an exercise in practicality. My mentor likes to say that leading a business often consists of making a decision in the face of extreme ambiguity… and then doggedly putting in the work to turn that decision into the right decision. Entrepreneurship, whether as a sole operator or heading an org chart, can be lonely. Harnish reminds us that we’re not alone: Many have faced similar challenges, and if they’ve found a way through, so can we.

Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't

By Verne Harnish,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Scaling Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the International Book Awards for General Business


Winner of the Readers' Favorite International Book Award for Non-Fiction Business



It’s been over a decade since Verne Harnish’s best-selling book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits was first released. Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) is the first major revision of this business classic which details practical tools and techniques for building an industry-dominating business. This book is written so everyone — from frontline employees to senior executives — can get aligned in contributing to the growth of a firm. Scaling Up focuses on the four major decision areas every company must get…


Great By Choice

By Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen,

Book cover of Great By Choice

Why this book?

Is this my favorite Jim Collins book? Maybe! It is honestly hard to choose. I own, and regularly re-read, all of them. I find Great By Choice to be the most practical of the set, giving the entrepreneur meaty things to consider as they build the strategy of their next company—or the next strategy of the one they’re currently leading!

Great By Choice

By Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Great By Choice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW QUESTION
Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague, Morten Hansen, enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times.

THE NEW STUDY
Great by Choice distinguishes itself from Collins's prior work by its focus not just on performance, but also on the type of unstable environments faced…


The Culture Solution: A Practical Guide to Building a Dynamic Culture so People Love Coming to Work and Accomplishing Great Things Together

By Matthew Kelly,

Book cover of The Culture Solution: A Practical Guide to Building a Dynamic Culture so People Love Coming to Work and Accomplishing Great Things Together

Why this book?

From the author of The Dream Manager comes a book that will challenge and inspire the core of your organization. Kelly’s bread-and-butter as a business coach and motivational speaker shows in his writing style—be prepared to have the six key lessons reinforced through repetition (great for those of us who read in short bursts with lots of life happening in between). But this book has a strong practical aspect too. Applying its lessons will fill your to-do list for months to come!

The Culture Solution: A Practical Guide to Building a Dynamic Culture so People Love Coming to Work and Accomplishing Great Things Together

By Matthew Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Culture Solution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Culture is about creating empowerment, not entitlement . . .

Culture is not about bringing your dog to work, free lunches, unlimited vacation, or even casual Fridays. Culture is not a collection of personal preferences.

Our thinking about culture has been kidnapped and polluted by the spectacular, attention-grabbing fads that 99 percent of organizations cannot implement. It is time to get beyond these "here today, gone tomorrow" illusions that foster entitlement, complacency, and mediocrity, so we can start implementing the timeless principles that are: The Culture Solution.

The six foundational principles of a Dynamic Culture are universal and unchanging. In…


The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations, and Your Team

By Patrick M. Lencioni,

Book cover of The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations, and Your Team

Why this book?

Lencioni’s latest work gave words to inner frustrations that I’ve felt my entire life. Six Types of Working Genius finally gave me permission to admit that I’m not tenacious! As a leader, I need to lean into the geniuses I have and build a leadership team that complements me and shores up my weaker areas. And, I need to do the same at every level of my organization.

This book will be key to leaders for years to come, giving them the tools they need to build and grow teams that will be more enthusiastic, more energetic, and more effective than ever before. 

The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations, and Your Team

By Patrick M. Lencioni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 6 Types of Working Genius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni unveils a truly groundbreaking new model that will change the way we think about work and teams forever.

The 6 Types of Working Genius is the fastest way to help people identify the type of work that brings them joy and energy, and avoid work that leads to frustration and burnout.

Beyond the personal discovery and instant relief that Working Genius provides, the model also gives teams a remarkably simple and practical framework for tapping into one another’s natural gifts, which increases productivity and reduces unnecessary judgment.
 
In classic Lencioni fashion, Pat brings…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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