“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

Beach season is now in full swing and all of us here at Constant Contact hope you’ll be taking advantage of the summer months.

If only for a few days or even a few hours, try and use these traditionally slower summer months to make a trip to your local beach, or lake, or wherever you can find time for yourself to disconnect and enjoy a great read. This will be a great way to relax and refresh your business senses as you gear up for the busier fall.

On your way to the beach or lake, pick up one or all of these books, and leave your laptop at home. You don’t want to be that person constantly adjusting their screen to fend off the sun’s glare, while everyone else is enjoying it!

Here’s your list of 5 enlightening books on modern marketing and business success.

Book # 1

Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World, Gail Goodman

From our CEO and fearless leader Gail Goodman, comes this excellent overview on how the advent of social media and the rise of online interaction have forever changed small business marketing for the better. This book is chock-full of excellent case studies and tips on how small businesses can more effectively engage customers to develop long-term, fruitful, and profitable small business relationships.

Engagement Marketing in fact, is more than a book title. It is an entire marketing principle, custom-suited for small businesses in the 21st century.

Book #2

Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life, Trevor Blake

A winner in the 2013 Small Business Book Awards, Three Simple Steps is authored by serial entrepreneur Trevor Blake. Blake has founded 4 companies, all of which were started with only a few hundred dollars and ended up selling for millions.

The book details Blake’s journey towards complete financial independence, and in the process, he reveals the helpful tips he learned along the way, which Blake has condensed into 3 overarching principles:

1.    Reclaim your mentality
2.    Create winning ideas
3.    Transform ideas into achievements

Book #3

The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek sounds pretty good, right? While working only four hours may seem like a slight stretch to most of us (the author claims to have gone from making $40,000 per year working 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month working four hours per week,) the book’s laser-focus on improving personal efficiency makes it a must-read for anyone feeling time-starved. Sound familiar?

Whether you are looking for more bandwidth to focus on inventory overhaul, or simply want to spend more time with your family without sacrificing the bottom line, Ferriss’ no-nonsense suggestions on time management and project outsourcing will go a long way in getting more time back in your day.

Book #4

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell

In 1994, men’s footwear brand Hush Puppies sold about 30,000 pairs and was on the brink of closing all together. A mere 18 months later, prominent fashion designers John Bartlett, Anna Sui, and Joel Fitzpatrick, were featuring them in their high-end collections. In 1996, the company sold 430,000 pairs of shoes.

What exactly caused this abrupt explosion in popularity? Why do “trends” and “fads” happen at all? In The Tipping Point, New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell attempts to answer these exact questions and his conclusions remain just as relevant today as when they were first published in 2000. Using case studies ranging from crime in New York City to teen smoking, Gladwell suggests that trends occur the same way that viruses spread, and his “social epidemic” theory offers a thought-provoking thesis on how to tap into human behavior to increase public awareness for products and services.

Book #5

Me 2.0: Four Steps to Building Your Future, Dan Schawbel

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in as a small business owner because, you are undoubtedly an expert in your field. Learn how to brand yourself as one. There are a host of new online tools and platforms that allow you to create a public persona. In this book, author Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, teaches you how to leverage those tools to create a personal brand to help in your business ventures.

Regardless of your knowledge level, when it comes to online marketing and social networking, Me 2.0: Four Steps to Building Your Future, is an insightful read about the future of personal branding.

And there you have it! Those are the 5 books I’d recommend you read this summer. They will help you get primed and ready to succeed in the fall and holiday season, all while you enjoy some much needed R&R in the summer. Enjoy!

Any other great books you’ve heard about or have already read that you’d like to add to my summer reading list? Tell me about them below.