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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.
Posted Oct. 29, 2010 6:44 p.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
➻ Bloomsberg Businessweek's James Pressley wrote a wonderful review of Michael Perino's The Hellhound of Wall Street this week. The book tells the story of Ferdinand Pecora and his investigation into the crimes that led to the Crash of 1929. Pressley tells a bit of the story in his review:
If you search Citigroup Inc.’s website, a former chairman named Charles E. Mitchell pops up under the heading “Our Legacy.”
What the page doesn’t mention is Mitchell’s reputation for greed, stock manipulation, tax avoidance and abusing customers and shareholders at what was then called National City Bank.
The situation had more than a few similarities to Wall Street's most recent crisis, except that there hasn't been much of an effort to hold anyone on Wall Street accountable for the mess there now. Not that any effort would have been successful. The review returns at its end to the person of Charles E. Mitchell, and shows how easily things go back to business-as-usual on "The Street."
As for Sunshine Charlie, he resigned and then did what disgraced bankers often do. After a jury pronounced him not guilty of tax evasion, he went back to work on Wall Street. By his death in 1955, Perino says, he was again an affluent and esteemed banker.
➻ Roger Sterling is not a real person, but he will soon have a very real book, Sterling’s Gold: The Wit & Wisdom of an Ad Man. As Dave Itzkoff reported yesterday at the NYT Arts Beat, some of that includes:
- Being with a client is like being in a marriage. Sometimes you get into it for the wrong reasons and eventually they hit you in the face.
- You want to be on some people’s minds. Some people’s you don’t.
- Don’t you love the chase? Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Those are the stakes. But when it does work out — it’s like having that first cigarette. Your head gets all dizzy, your heart pounds, your knees go weak. Remember that? Old business is just old business.
- When a man gets to a point in his life when his name’s on the building, he can get an unnatural sense of entitlement.
- Remember, when God closes a door, he opens a dress.
Please do not consider applying any of the above wit or wisdom to business or you real, everyday life. Thank you.
➻ And then there's this:
"Gentlemen: You have undertaken to cheat me. I won't sue you, for law takes too long. I will ruin you." Thus Cornelius Vanderbilt writing to business partners who had exploited his absence to gain control of one of his companies. He was as good as his word.
And thus begins Amity Shlaes' great review of H.W. Wells' American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900. As Schlaes points out in her review, the book isn't perfect (few are) but it is wildly entertaining.
➻ Jennifer Schuessler explained at The New York Times Paper Cuts blog why she was looking for Amish beards last week at the New York Public Library. It was all because Kevin Kelly was in town to talk about his new book, What Technology Wants, and well... Amish Hackers Tell All. Jennifer explains:
Everywhere he goes, Amish D.I.Y.-ers show off “their geekiest hacks.”
The Amish, Kelly says, are the ones who stand athwart technological history and shout “Maybe!” They reject cars and credit cards but are enthusiastic users of disposable diapers, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Different sects, like the ultra-strict Old Order Amish, take different approaches. But in general they make a distinction between technologies that will strengthen the community — like genetically modified corn, which is easier to harvest using older equipment, and thus helps keeps family farms together — and those that might weaken it, like cellphones, which, along with artificial insemination and solar power, are still being debated.
The section of the book on the Amish is an unexpected and fascinating part of what Kelly believes "technology wants." It is a unique intelligence that can make it fit so flawlessly into a larger vision, and just one of many reasons his book deserves to be widely read.
For a different look at the Amish, check out Erik Wesner's Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive, published by Jossy-Bass earlier this year.
➻ Terry Dunn's post at Signal vs. Noise last week was short, but not as short as its subject—Nordstrom's Employee Handbook, which was once only a 5×8” gray card reading:
Welcome to Nordstrom
We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.
Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.
Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.
Though this card is still handed out to new hires, it is now accompanied by a longer handbook.
➻ We don't have a card or an employee handbook here at 800-CEO-READ, but my boss did send this to me earlier this week.