ISBN 9780061965302 Published June 2010
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Posted Nov. 19, 2010 9:02 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Here's a list we missed late last month. Though the post is rather cryptically titled Hellhound Bites Citigroup, Schwarzman Finds Gold Mine: Top Business Books, Bloomberg's James Pressley explains exactly why they put the list together:
With so many business books being published each month, we’re often asked for recommendations. Here are 30 of our favorite hardbacks published this year.
I've taken out the author's brief descriptions of each book (head on over to the original post for those), and have taken the liberty to break the books up into a few categories. You'll notice while perusing the titles that the list tends toward larger narratives (many of the financial crisis), biographies and financial history, which I'm a big fan of, and I think makes a lot of sense for Bloomberg and its readers.
A quick note: Many of the books I put in the "Economics" category are, at least in part, about the economic crisis. The books I chose to list in the "Economics" category are those that offer a detailed prescription to the crisis, rather than just documenting the causes and events of it (not that the latter is a lesser task). The books in the "Economics" category were also, by-and-large, written by economists, while those in the "Histories & Narratives of the Economic Crisis" were written by journalists and participants on Wall Street.
Histories & Narratives of the Economic Crisis
- The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, W.W. Norton
- Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down... and Why They'll Take Us to the Brink Again by Suzanne McGee, Crown Business
- The Devil’s Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers by Vicky Ward, John Wiley & Sons
- Diary of a Very Bad Year by Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager: Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager by n+1, Harper Perennial
- The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein, The Penguin Press
- On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Henry M. Paulson Jr., Business Plus
- The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It by Scott Patterson, Crown Business
- The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns by Alan C. Greenberg, Simon & Schuster
- The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane by Randall Lane, Portfolio
- The Invisible Hands: Hedge Funds Off the Record-Rethinking Real Money by Steven Drobny, John Wiley & Sons
- Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich, Knopf
- Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram G. Rajan, Princeton University Press
- Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph E. Stiglitz, W.W. Norton
- Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being by George A. Akerlof and Rachel E. Kranton, Princeton University Press
- Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone, Hill and Wang
- 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson & James Kwak, Pantheon
- Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance by Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm, The Penguin Press
Financial History & Biographies
- American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 by H.W. Brands, Doubleday Books
- Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.—How the Working Poor Became Big Business by Gary Rivlin, HarperBusiness
- Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster by Paul Ingrassia, Random House
- The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick, Simon & Schuster
- The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance by Michael Perino, The Penguin Press
- High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg by Niall Ferguson, The Penguin Press
- King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone by David Carey & John E. Morris, Crown Business
- More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby, The Penguin Press
- No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos, John Wiley & Sons
- The Sugar King of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba's Last Tycoon by John Paul Rathbone, The Penguin Press
- War at the Wall Street Journal: Inside the Struggle to Control an American Business Empire by Sarah Ellison, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier, Knopf
Looking over the list, I'm reminded once again what a good year this has been for business books.
If you're an entrepreneur looking for ideas or nuts-and-bolts books on business, this list may not be a great help to you (We'll provide you one that will be on December 15th). But if you're an investor in or student of markets and business, it doesn't get much better than this.
Friday Links - The Flood Edition
Posted July 23, 2010 11:18 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
➻ Inc. has posted your business horoscope for August. I am apparently "going to experience a jolt in the coming week when a valued worker takes a sudden leave." I hope everyone turns out alright.
We believe the telephone is one of the best branding devices out there. We have the customer’s undivided attention for 5-10 minutes—compare that with a 30-second Super Bowl ad when the viewers are probably not paying full attention. If we get the interaction right, what we’ve found is that customers remember that for a very long time and tell their friends and family about us.
We feel the same way here at 800-CEO-READ (which, by the way, is our phone number).
➻ Chicago is the home of the Book Bike, which started as just that—a bicycle library, giving books to anyone interested enough to take them. Jewcy interviewed it's founder, Gabriel Levinson, recently explaining how it evolved into something more when "Levinson threw the focus of his project on producers of independent literature, using funds raised through various donations to purchase such reading material and, in turn, give it away for free, not only helping to financially support small and independent publishers, but disseminate their work."
In the interview, Levinson talks to the emotional power of books:
In addition, I respect books as objects, I think I can speak for all book lovers there; we proudly display our collection. I remember one time when working at Printers Row, a woman came in asking if we had anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald. We had a few. I don't recall which book it was that I showed her (would have been a first edition, first printing) but it was signed by Fitzgerald. I was holding it at the time and her eyes popped wide open, there was a moment of silence. I asked her if she wanted to hold the book, in a near-whisper she said "Can I?" When she held it in her hands, with reverence mind you, I saw that she was crying. Holding this book, signed by this author, moved her emotionally. Its just a book, yeah? Its a dusty old collection of paper and glue with a scrawl of ink on it by the dead guy whose name is on the cover...and just holding this moved her to tears. Long live the death of books, I say.
I sense a bit of sarcasm in that final sentence.
➻ But, we all know that eBooks are becoming more widely accepted by readers (as further evidenced this week by Amazon's announcement that they are now selling more electronic books than hardcover). Eoin Purcell, in discussing The Internet As Competition To New Non-Fiction Books, wrote:
The challenge for most publishers is first to realize there IS a challenge and that responding to it is less about social media, ebooks and fancy apps (though they all have a role) and more about rethinking the way you conceive content and how and where you deploy that content to engage and build an audience.
I do think publishers realize the challenge, and can probably articulate that challenge rather well. I don't know that they've figured out how to address it yet, or how easy that is going to be. But I think the reverse is also true. For as much as they criticize the publishing industry for not figuring it out yet, most "Internet Revolution" types I know are avid readers that actively try to support books and don't want to see the industry die (which is why they raise so much hell about it). And it seems to me that neither group has figured out exactly how to do any of this very well (not that technology types are responsible for helping publishers figure it out). Also, where are the authors in this equation? Aren't they largely responsible for how they "conceive content and how and where [they] deploy that content to engage and build an audience," as well?
➻ India (yes, the government of India) has developed a prototype of a $35 tablet that looks a lot like the iPad. They expect to find a manufacturer to begin production next year.
➻ If you haven't been following what Marty Neumeier has been doing over at Liquid Brand Exchange, you should start. The author of Zag, The Brand Gap, and The Designful Company will be sending out another Steal this Idea, an idea you can steal, next week.
➻ McNally Jackson Bookmongers are offering 20% off all purchases for the easy action of reblogging an image of Keith Gessen, author of the recently released Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager. (Inc. reposted our Jack Covert Selects of the book this week)
➻ The Carolina Chocolate Drops perform live on Tavis Smiley, directed by Jonathan X.
Posted July 16, 2010 11:27 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
➻ My favorite release of the month so far has been Diary of a Very Bad Year. It's a series of interviews (an entire book's worth) Keith Gessen of n+1 did with one "HFM," an anonymous hedge-fund mananger, from late September 2007 to the late summer of 2009. It's an insider's account of the financial meltdown from someone who saw finance not as a money-grabbing proposition out of college, but as an "intellectual vocation." n+1 posted a number of excerpts in advance of the book's release, the most intriguing of which (to me) was Bullies and Bankers.
➻ Another n+1 editor, Chad Harbach, was interviewed by Matt Robison at The Morning News with a great group of writers about the convergence of sports and literature, sports literature, and how "Leigh Montville, it turned out, was never a woman." It's reading that begets more reading, as each of the writers talks about their favorite sports pieces. Strangely, the finest piece of sports writing ever put to page, John Updike's Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu, was not mentioned.
➻ Bob Sutton has thoroughly covered the topic of swearing recently, and he summed it all up very fecking nicely in the post on The subtleties of strategic swearing. It contains links to many of his previous posts and podcasts on the issue, which will leave you more thoughtful on the topic than you probably need to be, especially in this day and age when you have characters like Hugh MacLeod and Julien Smith out there swearing casually as a mother[lover]. Maybe they're just really strategic?
➻ Shelf Awareness did a great job this morning of quickly Dissecting Amazon, and references a Milwaukee Journal Sentinal article on the affect "everyone's collective love affair with Amazon" has had on local bookstores—in particular the company we grew up in, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops.
➻ Friend of the company and University Press Book Traveler John Ecklund has written an interesting history of our that company—one seen from his perspective as an employee at Schwartz. Part 1 focuses on a our late owner David Schwartz's shocking experiment with a crassly commercial business book promotion, and it's even more shocking success. Part 2 discusses the hiring of our peerless leader, Jack Covert, to follow up and expand that success:
Enter Jack Covert. Jack and his wife Ann were proprietors of “Jack’s Record Rack,” the legendary music store on the east side of Milwaukee. [...]
I don’t think Jack or David really knew for sure that the idea of selling big quantities of books to corporations would ever really bear fruit, nor how long the experiment to find out would have to last. But there was a willingness to commit resources and tweak the program until it got traction.
It's now 25 years later, and we're still experimenting.
➻ At the conjunction of business books and the music industry (as Jack is in the history above), we have The Lefsetz Letter ("First in Music Analysis"), which reviewed Rework recently, relating the book's lessons to the music industry, and an Indie Launch Pad interview with Scott Stratten, author of the soon-to-be-released Unmarketing.
➻ Inder Sidhu, author of Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today's Profits and Drives Tomorrow's Growth, wrote about How to give up power and get more done for The Washington Post this week. He details how, "Instead of choosing between a traditional command-and-control management model, or a more egalitarian one, smart business leaders are embracing the power of the 'and.'"
➻ John Tierney had an interesting column in the Times late last month about Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind, and how—while it's no good for reading comprehension—it may be very good for the creative process (if you're able to keep track of where it's wandered).
➻ James Mathewson, editor-in-chief of ibm.com, wrote recently about How to Measure the Value of Editors, how a simple edit turned us from subjects to citizens, and how "well edited pages do 30 percent better than unedited pages."
➻ Matt Ridley, the author of the intelligent and provocative Rational Optimist, was a speaker at this month's TED Conference. His talk was about When ideas have sex and how all that really matters is how intelligent we are collectively.
➻ Susan Orlean wrote a hilarious piece in The New Yorker about the tremendous turnover in the publishing industry and how it has affected her as an author.
➻ It's a good weekend to be in, or come to, Milwaukee. Well, it always is, but this weekend is especially nice, because it's Radio Summer Camp!
➻ Fans of the suddenly ubiquitous Old Spice commercials might enjoy the College Library Parody.
➻ "I warned you. With mogwai comes much responsibility. But you didn't listen."
Jack Covert Selects - Diary of a Very Bad Year
Posted July 15, 2010 10:51 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager by n+1, Keith Gessen & Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager, Harper Perennial, 260 pages, $14.99, Paperback, June 2010, ISBN 9780061965302
Keith Gessen is the founder of n+1, a mostly literary magazine out of New York City, and the author of All the Sad Young Literary Men, which, as you can probably gather from the title, is also thoroughly literary. So, how is it that he has now penned one of the most fascinating books to date on the recent calamity on Wall Street?
It began as concern for a friend who had borrowed against his home in a time of financial trouble. To figure out how deflating home prices were going to affect this friend, he did an interview for n+1 with an anonymous hedge fund manager he calls HFM. That interview turned into a series of interviews spanning two years, “from the first rumblings of the crisis in the fall of 2007 to the late summer of 2009....” The timing was serendipitous.
As the subprime crisis quickly spirals into a wide array of other crises, you’re given an intimate account of it all through the lens of someone watching from the twentieth floor. It is by turns tragic, introspective and wildly funny. It is always very intelligent and, above all, touchingly human. At the end of Chapter 2, “The Death of Bear,” we find HFM reacting to the quickly worsening situation with a bit of gallows humor.
n+1: So you look out here onto midtown on the twentieth floor. This is all going to be okay?
HFM: That guy there will lose his job. White shirt, futzing about—he’ll lose his job. He’s putting. There’s going to be no room for people like that, the bar is higher. You can’t play golf in your office during a crisis.
That guy’s done! Everyone else is okay.
There are books on the crisis whose breadth is seemingly larger—Too Big To Fail, The Big Short, The End of Wall Street. The story lines in those books are sweeping, the personalities larger than life. This book’s wealth is in its details, the book’s character anonymous but close and personable. When reading Diary of a Very Bad Year, the details gather into a more intimate experience of that wider picture and its sobering implications.