It’s hard to believe that summer 2019 is almost upon us! What better way to celebrate the beginning of prime vacation season than with a list of small-business-oriented books with which to fill your beach bag. Our list is comprised of the top five books small business owners, or those thinking of starting a small business, should read for inspiration, tips, or lessons learned.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
It’s a classic for a reason. Named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the 20th Century, 7 Habits author Stephen Covey’s take on business is encapsulated by the following philosophy: We should be living lives of greatness and enduring purpose. His bestseller has been shaping and transforming lives for 25 years.

2. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth was a somewhat surprising bestseller. In this edition, he has completely revised his seminal work. Gerber walks you through the life of a business from inception to the end. He draws a distinction between working on your business and working in your business, and the difference can change how you view and run your business. In addition, he supplies plenty of ways to apply franchise lessons to your business model, even if you don’t own a franchise.

3. Built to Last: Success Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Collins and Porras spent six years on a research project conducted by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. They took 18 companies and did an in-depth comparison between them and one of their largest competitors. The results provide countless examples and principles that can be applied to any level of business management.

4. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
One of America’s premier biographers takes on one of America’s great business visionaries. Apple’s founder put nothing off limits, submitting to 40 interviews in a two-year period and allowing family and friends to be interviewed while refusing any creative control over how Isaacson portrayed him. The result is a riveting look into the life and business practices of the man who invented one of the top computer technology companies and then resurrected it from the brink of irrelevancy to make it one of the most powerful companies in the world today.

5. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by Phil Knight
This is the autobiography of the Nike founder and board chairman. It’s a candid look at, as Booklist called him, “the man behind the swoosh.” Bill Gates named this one of his five favorite books of 2016. Rife with hidden gems by one of the top names in sports apparel, this book is definitely worth a read.

Honorable Mentions (because five books just isn’t enough):
1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap & Others Don’t by Jim Collins
2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
3. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill