T Nation

Business Books

I’m looking for some recommendations for business books. I read the Jobs bio a little while ago and really loved it. Reading about the boardroom politics, alliances, coups, late nights, 15 hour work days, breakthroughs, etc. was awesome. I found it really fired me up.

Any recommendations for something in line with the above? Also, I don’t want to read anything that has any sort of anti-business slant, speaking about business with any sort of contempt or disdain. I want something that glorifies and celebrates it.

I tried reading “Onward” ( Starbucks revival story) but found that it was written more so for the average Starbucks customer… It felt like it was largely marketing for Starbucks and not very candid.

And this is probably more appropriate for GAL but I thought I would get a better response here.

Thanks.

  1. Anything by Richard Branson. His business acumen in unparalleled and to think a guy who dropped out of high school at 15 could own 8 companies worth over a billion is insane.

  2. Titan: the Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr.

  3. The Innovator’s Dilemna

I’ve got a couple good reads, if I forget (like the asshole I am) to come back to this thread PM me.

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins would be a good place to start.

Always be careful when reading business success books as survivor bias is inherent in most texts. We focus too much on how businesses became successful yet often neglect the fact that we always learn more from failures than we do from successes.

Honestly, a lot of modern “business” books are just another version of banal self-help books, even when they are penned (with help from ghost writers) from successfual and famous businessmen.

In my opinion, I find solid biographies of businessmen much better (and the bios of businessmen long gone are better than bios of modern businessmen). They tell great stories about how they achieved their success in their times without all the cheesy self-reference and “advice”. They better define the challenges the businessmen faced and you learn a great deal more about how they succeeded.

But be careful - biographies ain’t what they used to be. If you’re interested in this approach, look for bona fide, deeply researched biographies.

One of the best choices I made was to subscribe to the Harvard Business Review. Lot’s of solid information in those and it’s in a quarterly format. You can also buy them individually and run about $16 an issue. They also have a weekly e-mail that goes out with summaries of articles that I also quite enjoy.

Switch by Chip Heath is a great book and relevant if you’re in a position where you’re trying to implement change. That’s my profession and have used many of these concepts.

The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. Every time you get in a new role the first 90 days are critical and this is sage advice on how to maximize those.

The Goal - Classic book about the Theory of Constraints

Harvard Business Reviews Must Reads. Self explanatory.

james

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Honestly, a lot of modern “business” books are just another version of banal self-help books, even when they are penned (with help from ghost writers) from successfual and famous businessmen.

In my opinion, I find solid biographies of businessmen much better (and the bios of businessmen long gone are better than bios of modern businessmen). They tell great stories about how they achieved their success in their times without all the cheesy self-reference and “advice”. They better define the challenges the businessmen faced and you learn a great deal more about how they succeeded.

But be careful - biographies ain’t what they used to be. If you’re interested in this approach, look for bona fide, deeply researched biographies.[/quote]

Thanks, this makes a lot of sense.

This falls in line with the Jobs bio. It was really well researched and quite critical of Jobs at times. It definitely wasn’t intended to be a book specifically about business but I feel I learnt a ton about business from it.

Might not be exactly what you want but Kitchen Confidential by Bourdain gives a lot of insight into the restaurant budinesd and he tells a good story.

“Nuts!”

I love peeps that don’t follow any fuckin’ rules of established Industries that try
to tell you how to it just because it’s been done that way all the time.
I love how this Company survived post 9-11 without a scratch while Big established Airlines
that thought they knew better were struggling big time.
Heh.