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6 Books Every Small Business Owner NEEDS to Read!



Marketing can be a tricky trail to navigate for people just stepping out on their own, whether you're starting your independent PT practice with Concierge Orthopedics, building your personal brand as an influencer, or opening an Etsy shop for your handmade jewelry! Businesses big and small have been perfecting the art of marketing for years, but as social media grows and the term evolves more and more, this becomes increasingly difficult for the little guys to navigate alone. Social Media Marketing has become the rage, and if done right, can take your business to new heights- BUT how do you stand out?


There are entire careers and majors carved out around this niche of marketing, but there's a secret the pros don't want to tell you... Social Media Marketing can be done by literally ANYONE! Every person with a smartphone can download an app, create an account, and use the free tools the app provides to boost themselves and build a following in a matter of minutes. Once you understand the basics, you are part of the marketing club! As the Social Media Director with C/O, I want to give you guys all of the tools I've picked up and tried out over the past 6 years of my ever-evolving career in social media. As I've continued to share tips, tricks, and how-to's on the marketing side, I've gotten a lot of the same questions: Where did you learn that?! It's been a lot of trial and error if I'm being totally honest, BUT also a lot of research, reading, classes, seminars, and mentorships too.


Below, I've compiled a list of 6, VERY readable books from my personal collection of favorites on the topic of marketing and social media- These are books I've marked up, reread, and referred back to time and time again! I highly recommend checking out a few of these titles and adding them to your arsenal of business-building literature. ENJOY!!



  1. The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

This book is one of my all-time favorites; as a psych nerd, I love learning how the human brain works, how to be more in control of my own, and how to work with the way other people think. In marketing, this is something we do ALOT! To gain a better understanding of the way your audience thinks and manage your own thought is to conquer the biggest obstacle of marketing, the human element.


"Already an international bestseller, The Art of Thinking Clearly distills cutting-edge research from behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience into a clever, practical guide for anyone who's ever wanted to be wiser and make better decisions. A novelist, thinker, and entrepreneur, Rolf Dobelli deftly shows that in order to lead happier, more prosperous lives, we don't need extra cunning, new ideas, shiny gadgets, or more frantic hyperactivity - all we need is less irrationality."



2. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell


This one is important once you begin building a following- to put it bluntly, some people on the internet love to find things to fight about. Some people are highly sensitive. Sometimes, WE are ignorant of things and slip up. BUT, the internet is a dangerous place to make mistakes and you could jeopardize your business with one tweet. As the host of an account or platform, it's our responsibility to build and keep a safe space for a community to flourish. By learning to "talk to strangers", we minimize our chance of "being canceled".


"Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times."




3. HOOKED by Nir Eyal


Now, a book to understand marketing itself and the process by which we make marketing decisions. This book takes a very calculated and mapped-out approach to classic marketing techniques. If you are someone who enjoys a step-by-step guide, this is for you!


"Why do some products capture our attention, while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us? This book introduces readers to the "Hooked Model", four-step process companies use to build customer habits. Through consecutive cycles through the hook, successful products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back repeatedly - without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

Hooked is a guide to building products people use because they want to, not because they have to. Written for product managers, designers, marketers, startup founders, and people eager to learn more about the things that control our behaviors, this audiobook gives listeners:


  • Practical insights to create user habits that stick.

  • Actionable steps for building products people love.

  • Behavioral techniques used by Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other habit-forming products."


4. Contagious by Jonah Berger


One of my all-time favorites! This book is a must-read- Professor Jonah Berger dives into an intense study of communications and the correlation to marketing. This super interesting read turns marketing on its head to help us really understand the crux of the marketing matter: What do people really want?


"What makes things popular? If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?

Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times articles make the paper’s own Most E-mailed list, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children.

In Contagious, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheesesteak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the most boring products there is; a blender.

Contagious provides specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on."



5. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman


This is an intense, study-based read but still a very insightful one. Kahneman outlines the process by which we quickly make decisions that leads to mistakes, the difference between a quick decision and a good one, and highlights our need to slow down and think. This is an especially good read if you are somewhat of a moment-to-moment person, not the best with planning and time-management, or reactionary to things you read on FACEBOOK! It's an abstract way to view the concept of marketing and our own thought process when making marketing decisions.


"Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic."


6. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller


Last but ABSOLUTELY not least, Building a Story Brand is another favorite! This book covers the seven key elements to building a powerful "story" that gets your brand recognized. This book is the how-to guide when it comes to being seen and heard on social media. There are two types of people at dinners: the ones who tell engaging, interesting, exciting versions of a story that everyone focuses on, and the ones who can not. This book tells you how to be the first one through a social media lens.


"If you use the wrong words to talk about your product, nobody will buy it. Marketers and business owners struggle to effectively connect with their customers, costing them and their companies millions in lost revenue.

In a world filled with constant, on-demand distractions, it has become near-impossible for business owners to effectively cut through the noise to reach their customers, something Donald Miller knows first-hand. In this book, he shares the proven system he has created to help you engage and truly influence customers.

The StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their companies. Without a clear, distinct message, customers will not understand what you can do for them and are unwilling to engage, causing you to lose potential sales, opportunities for customer engagement, and much more.

In Building a StoryBrand, Donald Miller teaches marketers and business owners to use the seven universal elements of powerful stories to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses."

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