Ah, spring. It's a time of year when business picks up... just when the kids get out of school and it's harder to get work done. It's still important to use this time productively, even working in a little reading time while you hang with your family.
This season, my business bookshelf is once again stacked high with interesting new books whose titles have intrigued me enough to keep them out of the donation pile. Among them are useful tomes out recently for wannabe business owners, as well as bootstrappers, innovators, and leaders of all stripes.
This isn't a ranking -- they're in alphabetical order:
1. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau. The author is the nomadic entrepreneur behind the popular Art of Non-Comformity blog. In his new book, he shares his own tips -- as well as success stories he's collected -- on how to start a location-independent business on the cheap and build it into a decent living.
2. Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong by Alina Tugend. I recently studied how companies such as Twitter and Groupon stumbled upon their winning idea almost as an afterthought to another business. Now I'm looking forward to reading more examples of serendipitous business success from The New York Times' "ShortCuts" columnist.
3. Building a Small Business That Warren Buffett Would Love by Adam Brownlee. This book could be renamed "The Warren Buffett Way." It's a manual on the business fundamentals the Oracle of Omaha looked for in Berkshire Hathaway acquisitions including GEICO and Fruit of the Loom.
4. Mob Rules: What the Mafia Can Teach the Legitimate Businessman by Louis Ferrante. Been missing The Sopranos? Learn how to apply mob principles to your business by networking, cutting overhead, staying up on the competition, and compromising. Just limit the whacking, please.
5. Mother Teresa, CEO: Unexpected Principles for Practical Leadership by Ruma Bose & Lou Faust. Before you laugh, note that Mother Teresa did go from nothing to heading a multinational organization, on a shoestring budget all the way. Maybe we could all learn something from that.
6. Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur by Ryan Blair with Don Yaeger. We all love rags-to-riches stories, and this one delivers that in spades. It details how Blair descended into gang life, went to jail, and then turned his life around with help from an entrepreneur-mentor.
7. The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf. Blank teaches the Lean Launchpad program at Stanford University that's now being used to train government scientists, while Dorf has been a serial entrepreneur for 40 years. In this book, the two share their methods for quickly discovering the best business model and getting a new business off the ground.
What business books will you read this spring? Add to my list in the comments below.