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Despite busy schedules, successful women entrepreneurs know the benefits of making time to read books that affect their businesses in positive ways. Browsing at an airport while waiting for her flight, Theresa M. Welbourne, CEO of Ann Arbor, Michigan, technology and relationship management research firm eePulse Inc., found the book Whale Done (The Free Press) by Ken Blanchard.
After finishing the book, Welbourne, 46, thought about her team. "I realized we were not doing as good a job as we should be in appreciating our employees' efforts and reaching out to congratulate them on a job well-done." She gave a copy of the book to all her direct reports, requiring them to read it for their business planning process. When the management team presented the business planning results to the staff, "our employees appreciated that we not only went through financials, projections and plans, but also talked about the way we are communicating and managing the business."
Other recent books that inspire and educate:
- How to Use What You've Got to Get What You Want (Jodere Group) by Marilyn Tam: Co-founder of three corporations and a former top exec at Aveda Corp., Nike and Reebok, Tam shares personal experiences and advice. She includes the four principles that helped her succeed: 1)Truth-tell the truth all the time; 2)Partners-find people who support your efforts, and make them allies; 3)Mistakes-make big mistakes, and learn from them; and 4)The good fight-die by your own sword; fight for your convictions.
- Use What You've Got & Other Business Lessons I Learned From My Mom (Portfolio) by Barbara Corcoran, with Bruce Littlefield: The founder and chairwoman of The Corcoran Group, a $2 billion real estate company in New York City, reminisces about her childhood and early career with a big dose of humor. In each chapter, Corcoran applies one of her mom's 24 unconventional lessons to the business world. Example: For real estate, Corcoran translated her mother's lesson "If you don't have big breasts, put ribbons on your pigtails" into maximizing the positive and minimizing the negative to make a real estate property appear more attractive in ads.
- The Architecture of All Abundance: Creating a Successful Life in the Material World (New World Library) by Lenedra Carroll: Entrepreneur and businesswoman Lenedra Carroll explores the lessons learned from running and losing a small business and helping manage the career of her daughter, the popular singer Jewel. Any woman who has dealt with treachery in business, struggled to make ends meet, overcome health problems-and raised children-can relate to this book, which melds practical business advice with soulful musings.
- Kitchen Table Entrepreneurs: How Eleven Women Escaped Poverty and Became Their Own Bosses (Westview Press) by Martha Shirk and Anna S. Wadia: Hear the inspirational stories of women who used entrepreneurial skills as a way out of poverty and became their own bosses and role models for their children.
- Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way: Timeless Strategies From the First Lady of Courage (Prentice Hall Press) by Robin Gerber: While business books based on the strategies of prominent men such as Attila the Hun, Gandhi and Lincoln abound, this book is a rarity because it is based on the leadership strategies of a modern American woman. The book interweaves Eleanor Roosevelt's life story with practical advice to serve any business owner, such as staying focused in difficult times, learning from your past, defying convention and facing criticism. According to Roosevelt, you must "develop a skin as thick as rhinoceros hide." Good advice for any entrepreneur.
Aliza Pilar Sherman is an Internet pioneer, netpreneur, speaker and author of the book PowerTools for Women in Business: 10 ways to Succeed in Life and Work (Entrepreneur Press).