The best books for small business owners

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Heather Smith and I love writing. I love Accounting and AccounTech. I gratefully sit at the Ikigai inflection point, where my profession, passion, vocation, and mission intersect, and I can use my explanation skills to empower others in the accounting industry. Ikigai is a Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for living. Believing Accountants don't save lives, Accountants save livelihoods; I use my superpower of explanation to educate the accounting profession about accounting technology and modern accounting practices. I do this through many channels including my latest book Xero for Dummies, 5th edition. 


I wrote...

Xero For Dummies

By Heather Smith,

Book cover of Xero For Dummies

What is my book about?

Keeping your business running smoothly has never been easier with Xero. You’re in good hands with Xero For Dummies, the only book endorsed by Xero. With the tips and tricks included in this helpful guide, you can easily tackle tasks like accounts payable, invoices, and estimates. It’s packed with easy-to-follow explanations and instructions on how to use this popular accounting software. It’s like having a personal bookkeeper at your fingertips!

Filled with real-world scenarios that show how you can use Xero every day in your business, Xero For Dummies can help you get your paperwork done quickly, so you can spend your valuable time running your business.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Heather Smith Why did I love this book?

“You do not rise to the level of your goals you fall to the level of your systems” James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits, explains the power of habits and how to build good habits and break bad habits. Everyone probably understands the concept of a habit. What James does in his book, is explain the compound impact of habits. Micro habits help you achieve your goals. An example of a good hydration habit I’ve adopted is I keep an insulated bottle of chilled water, and a stylish glass on my table desk. I’ve established an environment where it is easy for me to frequently drink chilled water.

By James Clear,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Atomic Habits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller. Over 4 million copies sold!

Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the…


Book cover of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Heather Smith Why did I love this book?

I think Tim works a lot more than four hours a week. But if you are doing what you enjoy is it called work? In his book, Timothy talks extensively about getting work done by other means. As someone who wholeheartedly embraces automation, I heartily encourage this. It’s a good educational foundation to start reimagining your work-life balance.

By Timothy Ferriss,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The 4-Hour Workweek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new, updated and expanded edition of this New York Times bestseller on how to reconstruct your life so it's not all about work

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan - there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.

This step-by step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:

* How Tim went from…


Book cover of The Secrets Of Business For Young Entrepreneurs

Heather Smith Why did I love this book?

Alex has a really deep understanding of running a modern business, and operating as a digital nomad living across the world. She has written an inspirational companion guide to give you the motivation and resources you need to start your own entrepreneurial journey. This stuff is not taught in universities, but truly unlocks the power to lead the life that you want to lead. 

By Alex Falcon Huerta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secrets Of Business For Young Entrepreneurs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once you start a business you'll wonder why the hell you didn't do it before! And so the journey starts, but what should every young entrepreneur know about having and being in business so it has the best chance of being a success? This rich, original and motivating resource shares the secrets that can make you more and better prepared for life as a business owner, boss and entrepreneur. Written to be your companion, guide, inspiration and resource - it's great to know that there are many others that have been on the journey before you, and have words of…


Book cover of The Numbers Business: How to grow a successful cloud accountancy practice

Heather Smith Why did I love this book?

Della has a way of simply explaining what’s practically needed to run a modern practice. Like Della, I’ve built a modern practice and she has laid the steps to start and thrive in a clean and easy-to-follow manner. Hudson's writing style is engaging and accessible, making it easy to understand and apply the concepts presented. With personal anecdotes and asides littering the narrative, the book reads like a quiet meeting between friends over a nice cup of tea. Overall, The Numbers Business is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to build a successful cloud accounting practice.

By Della Hudson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the manual every qualified accountancy professional needs to read before setting up their own practice. Having applied her corporate experience to building a modern cloud accountancy practice, Della Hudson presents her road map to help you to do the same. Here, she shares her hard-earned knowledge so that other accountancy professionals can grow their own successful, scaleable and even sellable businesses. This book is a road map that will help a qualified professional to: start a successful business from scratch with no personal or business contacts; move from the kitchen table to an office space; recruit and train…


Book cover of The Profits Principles: The practical guide to building an extraordinary business around doing what you love

Heather Smith Why did I love this book?

This book provides entrepreneurs with a practical, user-friendly guide to understanding their businesses' numbers. Being a Chartered Accountant, I often see entrepreneurs who have the drive, ideas, and passion for their businesses, but fall short when it comes to the numbers. I recommend this book to anyone who is working to create a business they love but needs a little help with the numbers. With no jargon, and easy-to-follow guidance, you'll discover how you can grow your business.

By Steven Briginshaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Break free from the 'time for money' treadmill and build a business that works for you!

Too many business owners work too many hours for not enough pay. They don't have time or the energy for family, friends, hobbies and relaxing. If they don't work, they don't get paid. You may think you own a business but, if these points ring true for you, chances are you actually own a job.

In The Profits Principles Steven Briginshaw draws on his vast experience as a chartered accountant and business mentor to show exactly what you need to do to...

Build a…


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Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

By Jim Brown,

Book cover of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

What is my book about?

In this thoroughly researched and exquisitely crafted treatise, Jim Brown synthesizes the newest understandings in neuroscience, developmental psychology, and dynamical systems theory for educators and others committed to nurturing human development.

He explains complex concepts in down-to-earth terms, suggesting how these understandings can transform education to engender optimal learning and intelligence. He explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and mind.

Brown then offers a model of optimal human learning through lifelong brain development within a supportive culture--drawing on the work of Piaget, Erickson, Maslow, Kohlberg, and Steiner--and how that work is being vastly expanded by neuroscience and dynamical systems thinking.

Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

By Jim Brown,

What is this book about?

In this thoroughly-researched and exquisitely crafted treatise, Jim Brown synthesizes the newest understandings in neuroscience, developmental psychology, and dynamical systems theory for educators and others committed to nurturing human development. He explains complex concepts in down-to-earth terms, suggesting how these understandings can transform education to truly engender optimal learning and intelligence. He explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and mind. Brown then offers a model of optimal human learning through life-long brain development within a supportive culture--drawing on the work of Piaget, Erickson, Maslow, Kohlberg, and Steiner--and how that work is being vastly expanded by neuroscience and dynamical systems thinking.


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