Family Business Books

A Field Guide to Business Valuation
Casey Karlsen and Seth Webber, 2022
adapted description from Business Valuation Resources

Focused on the valuation of privately held businesses, this easy-to-follow and usable guide is intended for business owners and their advisors who want to learn more about how to estimate what a business is worth, what factors affect value, and how to make businesses more valuable. With insightful data from the field and the authors' extensive experience in helping business owners, this book serves as an excellent resource and introduction to the craft of business valuation.

Business Families and Family Businesses: The STEP Handbook for Advisers, Second Edition 
Simon Rylatt and Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), 2018
adapted description from

The resilience of family businesses has been evident from their success over centuries and across continents. In this second edition, edited by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), it considers what makes business families and family businesses unique, and examines the issues that advisers are often called upon to consider and address when assisting them. It helps practitioners to deepen their understanding of how families operate, and to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to advise on such complex areas as conflicts between working and non-working family members, ownership structure, succession, wealth management, governance, and meeting a family’s philanthropic objectives.

Family Champions and Champion Families: Developing Family Leaders to Sustain the Family Enterprise 
Joshua Nacht and Gregory Greenleaf, 2018
adapted description from

What makes successful family businesses flourish through multiple generations despite challenges? More important, how can you learn from the experiences of what Joshua Nacht and Gregory Greenleaf call champion family businesses? This book offers clear examples, practice tips and specific advice to start working on championship elements in your family. Each chapter ends with questions for you to consider, based on the material you’ve just read, to stimulate your thinking about championship ideas and issues related to your situation. The wisdom from these winning families and their stories can guide you around common obstacles and provide inspiration to your business family, regardless of its size or complexity.

Measure What Matters
John Doerr, 2018
adapted description from

In the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), objectives define what you seek to achieve, and key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. The benefits of OKRs are profound, including keeping employees on track and linking objectives across silos to unify and strengthen the entire company. Along the way, OKRs enhance workplace satisfaction and boost retention. Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations.

Successful Global Leadership: Frameworks for Cross-Cultural Managers and Organizations
Ramon Henson, 2018
adapted description from

Drawing on research findings, interviews with executives, and the author’s own teaching and consulting experience, this book offers practical frameworks for anyone hoping to become a successful global leader, and outlines the challenges the international firms face when managing across cultures. It highlights the cognitive, affective, and behavioral actions leaders can take to understand the differences between foreign values and traditions, and how to develop an environment where global leadership can thrive.

Family Business Mastery: Bridging Legacy and Innovation to Build a Family Business that Last for Generations
Ivan Polic and Mariana Polic, 2017
adapted description from

Provides insightful and practical tools you need to build a sustainable family enterprise. Moreover, Family Business Mastery shows you how to do it while nurturing and maintaining a level of trust and respect between the generations. Ivan Polic and Mariana Polic draw on their own direct experience and teach you how to avoid the death spiral of conflict; how to uncover invisible and dangerous family dynamics; how to unearth your Success DNA—the unique heartbeat of your company’s achievements; and how to navigate the succession process. The authors invite you to examine the past, present, and potential future of your business, and show you how you can leverage your findings to ensure that your family business—and family relationships—flourish, securing your future and your legacy.

How to Make Your Family Business Last
Mitzi Perdue, 2017
adapted description from

Only 30 percent of family business will make it to the next generation. The fact that so many businesses fail to make the transition to the next generation—the usual cause is family strife—means problems not only for the families involved, but for the entire global economy. In How to Make Your Family Business Last, Mitzi Perdue addresses the issue. She gives practical advice on how a family businesses can develop a culture that supports keeping the family business in the family. Her I've-lived-it experience comes from membership in two long-lasting family enterprises.

Managing the Family Business: Theory and Practice
Thomas Zellweger, 2017
adapted description from

This innovative textbook covers the most important managerial challenges facing family businesses. It is research-based and includes theory and practice along with concepts, cases and reflection questions to illustrate the key topics. Awarded Best Book of the Year Award by the European Academy of Management in 2018.

Succession for Change: Strategic Transitions in Family and ounder-Led Businesses
Harry Korine, 2017
adapted description from

It is inevitable that when the leaders of family and founder-lead businesses look to pass on the mantle they naturally want to preserve and maintain the firm they have worked so hard for so long to build up. The shaping influence of family or founder, and the instinctive emotional desire for legacy easily sways succession towards continuity rather than the possibly radical development the business may need to meet new challenges. Korine’s rigorous research and practical approach shows that when change becomes the focus of succession, and developing entrepreneurial values takes precedence over preserving the status quo, succession planning can ensure that firms not only survive the departure of their founders but thrive long after they have gone.

Deconstructing Conflict:
Understanding Family Business, Shared Wealth and Power
Doug Baumoel and Blair Trippe, 2016
adapted description from

Based upon the groundbreaking work of Doug Baumoel and Blair Trippe, Deconstructing Conflict will help scores of enterprising families navigate the challenges of owning and managing together as family. Utilizing “The Conflict Equation” methodology, the book deconstructs conflict into its component parts to arm family business stakeholders and their advisors with the most cutting-edge thinking for achieving generational success in family enterprise.

Entrepreneurs in Every Generation:
How Successful Family Businesses Develop Their Next Leaders

Allan Cohen and Pramodita Sharma, 2016
adapted description from

Families are complicated; family businesses even more so. Like other companies, family-run enterprises must develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills. But they must also manage family dynamics that rarely mirror the best practices in the latest Harvard Business Review. Allan Cohen and Pramodita Sharma, scholars with deep professional and personal roots in family businesses, show how enterprising families can transmit the hunger for excellence across generations. Using examples of firms that flourished and those that failed, they describe the practices that characterize entrepreneurial individuals, families, and organizations and offer pragmatic advice that can be tailored to your unique situation. Discover what makes family businesses beat the odds and thrive over generations.

Family Wealth Continuity: Building a Foundation for the Future
David Lansky, 2016
adapted description from

Most family business owners and wealth creators share an important vision: perpetuating family and wealth for many generations to come. To ensure wealth continuity, many families put into place various structures, plans, and processes, including estate plans (which may include multiple trusts), ownership succession plans, governance structures/strategies, and others.  These sometimes-elaborate plans are aimed at preserving family wealth.  In reality, for many families, they don’t. In fact, it has been estimated  that a majority  of estate plans in place fail, largely as a result of family conflict or communication problems. Author David Lansky reveals here that too many one-size-fits-all and elaborate continuity plans fail to take into account the idiosyncratic family factors that can interfere with continuity planning. Lansky details further how building the right foundation will help families implement the best continuity plans.  Addressing that foundation effectively includes understanding the building blocks that make it up, assessing their strengths, and developing strategies to improve them. The specific building blocks include: (1) Learning Capacity, (2) Familyness, (3) Safe Communication Culture, (4) Commitment to Personal Development, and (5) Effective Leadership of Change.
Dennis T. Jaffe, 2016
adapted description from
The secret to building great family enterprises is the ability to foster rising generations who are well prepared and eager to meet the enterprises yet-to-come challenges. Based on interviews with more than 70 enterprising families, Releasing the Potential of the Rising Generations shares unique experience based insights into successful transitions of family enterprises over at least three generations. These “100 Year Families,” over the centuries, have created and sustained enterprises that generate over US$200 MM in annual revenues. This publication’s insights cover such topics as developing character in the rising generation, creating a family learning community, and identifying the "calls" that appeal to specific members of the rising generation. Beyond making the enterprise transition to the next generation, it also shares best practices in designing exit policies from the shared enterprise, successful parenting techniques amid wealth, developing identity in the midst of a family enterprise, and creating family learning curricula. With the added benefit of direct quotations from these “100 Year Families”, Releasing the Potential of the Rising Generation will prove of great value to all generations of family members, and their advisors.

The Braveheart Exit: 7 Steps to Your Family Business Legacy
Randy M. Long, 2016
adapted description from

Did you know that fifty percent of successful business owners plan to exit their companies before 2020? For owners that have a plan, those strategies can easily fail due to inadequate transition tactics, poor implementation, and mismanaged processes. Randy M. Long created The BraveHeart Planning Process to ensure a successful business transition for you, the owner, and your family. The sooner you start preparing, the better your chances to exit well. When complete, your plan should provide for a transition when you want, to whom you want, for the amount you need for financial independence. And, it strengthens your family along the way. 
L. David Marquet, 2013
adapted description from
"Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers." David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, was used to giving orders. As newly appointed captain of the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear-powered submarine, he was responsible for more than a hundred sailors, deep in the sea. In this high-stress environment, where there is no margin for error, it was crucial his men did their job and did it well. But the ship was dogged by poor morale, poor performance, and the worst retention in the fleet.

The Family Council Handbook:
How to Create, Run, and Maintain a Successful Family Business Council
Christopher J. Eckrich and Stephen L. McClure, 2012
adapted description from

Just as a Board of Directors is a governance structure for shareholders, a Family Council oversees a family on everything from educating the family for their future responsibilities as owners to settling disputes within the family. Using the common term family council to refer to family governance, the book will be a practical manual for all business families seeking structure to manage how their family governs itself and relates to their business.
Stuart E. Lucas, 2012
adapted description from
Discover the best ways to build, protect, and sustain family and business wealth across generations! Wealth is the world's most valuable guide to wealth management for individuals, families, business owners, and the "upwardly affluent." In the six years since Stuart Lucas first wrote this book, however, the financial world has changed dramatically. Throughout the financial crisis and beyond, Lucas has led the University of Chicago's Private Wealth Management program, teaching more than 500 members of the world's wealthiest families. Now, he brings together extraordinary insights and constructs informed by this experience. Wealth, Updated and Revised Edition retains its core advice, which has been tested and proven by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. However, Lucas has updated his exclusive Strategic Wealth Management Framework to help even more individuals, families, and entrepreneurs aspiring to wealth or seeking to protect it.

Family Business Ownership: How to be an Effective Shareholder
Craig Aronoff, Ph.D., and John Ward, Ph.D., 2011
adapted description from

Ownership in a family business can be a rewarding and important role. It means stewardship, protection and nurturing the family business. As a guide for shareholders, this book will develop understanding and insight into the role of becoming more valuable as an owner, not just financially, but intellectually and emotionally as well.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, 2010
adapted description from

We attempt or avoid difficult conversations every day—whether dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with a spouse, or negotiating with a client. From the Harvard Negotiation Project, the organization that brought you Getting to Yes, Difficult Conversations provides a step-by-step approach to having those tough conversations with less stress and more success. 
Family Wars: The Real Stories Behind the Most Famous Family Business Feuds
Grant Gordon and Nigel Nicholson, 2010
adapted description from
Many of the world's greatest businesses are family owned, and with this comes the threat of family feuding, sibling rivalries, and petty jealousies. Family Wars takes readers behind the scenes on a rollercoaster ride through the ups and downs of some of the biggest family-run companies in the world, showing how family in-fighting has threatened to bring about their downfall. Covering families such as Ford, Gucci, McCain, Guinness, Gallo, and Redstone, Family Wars is an astonishing expose of the way families do business and how family in-fighting can threaten to blow a business apart.

Family Business Governance: Maximizing Family and Business Potential

Craig E. Aronoff and John L. Ward, 2010
adapted description from
While every family business is unique, embracing systematic governance processes can help any family business achieve goals shared by virtually all: orderly decision-making, peaceful continuity, and the freedom to make decisions based on the highest and best purposes of both the business and the family.
Barbara Spector, 2008
adapted description from
The Family Business Shareholder's Handbook, the 11th volume in the Family Business Handbook Series, focuses on helping active and inactive family company owners to become well-informed stakeholders and work effectively with each other. Covers such important topics as boards of directors and family councils, resolving conflicts over investing in the business vs. paying shareholder dividends, including the whole family in setting governance policies, shareholder valuation and much more.
Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries and Randel S. Carlock, 2007
adapted description from
The challenge faced by family businesses and their stakeholders, is to recognise the issues that they face, understand how to develop strategies to address them and more importantly, to create narratives, or family stories that explain the emotional dimension of the issues to the family. The most intractable family business issues are not the business problems the organisation faces, but the emotional issues that compound them. Applying psychodynamic concepts will help to explain behaviour and will enable the family to prepare for life cycle transitions and other issues that may arise.

The Family Business Policies & Procedures Handbook
Barbara Spector, 2006
adapted description from

A practical, step-by-step advice on sustaining your company for future generations. A resource for family firm owners, managers and advisers.

Perpetuating the Family Business:
50 Lessons Learned from Long Lasting, Successful Families in Business
John L. Ward, 2004
adapted description from

This is a comprehensive book on sustaining family businesses that contains international examples, cases, essential tools, and checklists of best practices; a how-to every entrepreneur should have.  It provides a framework of five insights and four principles in which to position the fifty "lessons learned" for family business longevity.

The Board of Directors in a Family-Owned Business
Ronald I. Zall, 2004
adapted description from Amazon:

A well-informed board can give a family business the edge needed to sustain value from one generation to the next. This book has been designed mainly for the use of family-owned or family-controlled businesses with a limited number of shareholders. It is appropriate for companies that are privately held, closely held, or publicly traded, operating as either a corporation or a limited liability company. Special attention is paid to family-specific issues such as family directives, the family employment plan, and succession planning.

Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt
Arthur T. Vanderbilt, II, 2001
adapted description from

Vanderbilt: The very name is synonymous with the Gilded Age. The family patriarch, "the Commodore,” built a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Yet, less than fifty years after his death, no Vanderbilt was counted among the world's richest people. Written by descendant Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, Fortune's Children traces the dramatic and amazingly colorful history of this great American family, from the rise of industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt to the fall of his progeny—wild spendthrifts whose profligacy bankrupted a vast inheritance.

Working With the Ones You Love
Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D., 2000
adapted description from the publisher:

This book unwinds the compexities of work and personal relationship intertwined in family businesses, providing clear blueprints for conflict resolution and growing the business for the next generation. Topics include how family patterns mold the business, clear communication and conflict resolution, and building the next generation.

Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business

Kelin E. Gersick, John A. Davis, Marion McCollom Hampton, and Ivan Lansberg, 1997
adapted description from
Generation to Generation presents one of the first comprehensive overviews of family business as a specific organizational form. Focusing on the inevitable maturing of families and their firms over time, the authors reveal the dynamics and challenges family businesses face as they move through their life cycles. The book asks questions such as: What is the difference between an entrepreneurial start-up and a family business, and how does one become the other? How does the meaning of the business to the family change as adults and children age? How do families move through generational changes in leadership, from anticipation to transfer, and then separation and retirement? This book is divided into three sections that present a multidimensional model of a family business. The authors use the model to explore the various stages in the family business life span and extract generalizable lessons about how family businesses should be organized.