Recommended Books

If there were a curriculum for second stage companies, these books would be in it!

Read Traction and you’ll know if the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a fit for your business. (Chances are the situations Gino describes will sound familiar!)

Bo’s book, Small Giants inadvertently started a movement by identifying a group of businesses that each chose to operate differently. In short, they’re focused on sustainability vs. rapid growth. If that resonates with you, check out this book and sign up for the next Small Giants Summit!

Jack Stack’s story of transforming a blue-collar workforce into an amazing financial team via The Great Game of Business is inspirational! Read the book, and if you’re inspired to learn more and/or start implementing, he hosts a series of events including the Annual Great Game of Business. More here:

I wish I would have found this book at the start of my entrepreneurial journey! Seriously, getting good accounting and finance advice is half the battle. Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! is a great foundation.

Regardless of where you’re at in the Startup journey, these lean principles are helpful. Having heard Eric speak, he gets it. He’s tried the traditional model of detailed planning and execution – and failed by flawlessly executing on a flawed model. Now, he approaches everything differently and shares his learnings in The Lean Startup.

In second stage you’re dealing with why people buy, and figuring out why some things sell better than others, or what tweaks could be made to sell more. In Predictably Irrational, you’ll learn what drives people to make what seem to be “irrational” decisions. This field of behavioral economics is made accessible by Dan, who takes a storytelling approach to sharing his research and observations. A fascinating read!

Doug Tatum is one of the very few giving a voice to the second stage. Having lived through the awkward “adolescent” stage of business himself, he now focuses on helping other businesses succeed and survive No Man’s Land. Doug is a frequent speaker at Small Giants events.

After hearing one too many people ask Why is Everyone Smiling? during company tours at Beryl, Paul wrote this book to share how a total commitment to culture can make such a big difference. Paul is on a personal mission to change corporate culture so that smiling in the workplace becomes the norm – instead of the exception! Paul is the founder of the Small Giants group.

Improving team communication is high on the “to do” list of many second stage CEOs. Understanding where your teams strengths are is a starting point in the journey.  Strengths Finder 2.0 is one of the most straightforward of the personality tests on the market, with a quick online test, and a book to keep handy for future reference. (And at ~$20 per book/test, it’s an affordable place to start!)

Continuing on the theme of communication, Crucial Conversations is another good book to have in your arsenal. This practical guide helps entrepreneurs through conversations in the variety of challenging situations, providing actionable tips for handling particularly hard situations – when stakes are high, there are opposing opinions, and strong emotions.