Business Books for the Beach

Classic management texts. Inspiration and self-help. And a primer onfarming? That's what we found when we asked entrepreneurs what they're reading this summer. Below, a few suggestions for your beach bag
David Rudes/BW

I plan to read The Future of Management by Gary Hamel. Part of being a young entrepreneur—I'm 24—is that I'm interested in modern views on management. I'm less into, "I'm the manager, so do what I say," and more willing to use a team approach. — Vanessa Johns-Webster, owner of the 20-person Blue Ribbon Cooking School in Seattle

I think there's a lot in How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People by Les Giblen that could help me. Before I got into this business, I was the wallflower. I'm making progress, but I want to work on my confidence. — Lee Bowling, owner of On Doody, a five-person pet-waste cleanup service in Memphis

Randy Pausch's memoir, The Last Lecture, is a story of inspiration and motivation. Pausch is a Carnegie Mellon professor who has cancer, and he's all about time management and how you need to go out in the world and do great things. He's knows he's going to die, but his mental outlook is unbelievable. — Rob Daley, CEO of Thorley Industries, a 10-person Pittsburgh company that designs and markets children's products

L. Muhlbach's Frederick the Great and His Court ties together all the royal families at the time, and that's fun. Also, studying battles can help you in business. You see strategies, you learn about being prepared, and you learn not to underestimate your enemies. — Diane Ranger, CEO of 100-person Dana Point (Calif.) cosmetics maker Colorescience

The Warren Buffett Way by Robert G. Hagstrom shows how Buffett catapulted himself ahead by sticking to his philosophy and missing the Internet boom. He shows that you should believe in your own ideas and not follow every new manufactured paradigm. — Steve Wasserman, CEO of 50-person Tealuxe, a Franklin (Mass.) company that operates a chain of cafés

Food is my passion. I have a garden; I sell cheese; I used to be a chef. So I'll read Joel Salatin's You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise. It's about farming organic, healthy food. — Hugh O'Neill, founder of St. Kilian's Cheese Shop, a two-person company in Denver

I want to read Timothy Keller's The Reason for God not so much for his religious philosophy as to see why his approach is generating so much interest. Our small company is trying to grow, so I'm looking to people who have had success. — Richard Ekstrom, CEO of Proteopure, a Pittsburgh biotech company with four employees

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, is about condensing ideas and making them punchy. It's important to make ideas into stories, so people remember them and spread them. — Tom Loveland, CEO of Mind Over Machines, a 50-person consulting firm in Baltimore

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