July 22, 2008
The Best Business Books Ever?
Posted by Gordon Smith

This is Joe Nocera's list “in no particular order”:

    “Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco,” by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
    “Liar’s Poker,” by Michael Lewis
    “The Devil’s Candy,” by Julie Salamon
    “The Box,” by Marc Levinson
    “Indecent Exposure,” by David McClintick
    “The Go-Go Years,” by John Brooks
    “The Kingdom and the Power,” by Gay Talese
    “Titan,” by Ron Chernow
    “Do You Sincerely Want To Be Rich,” by Godfrey Hodgson, Bruce Page and Charles Raw
    “Disney Wars,” by James Stewart
    “The Informant,” by Kurt Eichenwald
    “Father, Son and Co.: My Life at IBM and Beyond”, by Thomas J. Watson and Peter Petre
    “When Genius Failed,” by Roger Lowenstein
    “Greed and Glory on Wall Street,” by Ken Auletta
    “The Smartest Guys in the Room,” by Peter Elkind and Bethany McLean

Nocera concedes his conflict of interest on the last book (“O.K., O.K., they are former colleagues of mine, and I was deeply involved in editing this book — but I have to say, I think it turned out pretty well!”), after he disses Eichenwald's Enron book in endorsing The Informant (“Forget his Enron book, “Conspiracy of Fools.” This book, about the strange saga of Mark Whitacre and Archer Daniels Midland, is his masterpiece”). I liked both of Eichenwald's books.

I have read about half of the books on Nocera's list, and a couple of others are on my bookshelf. I might have included Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure by Jerry Kaplan and Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw. Or a real dark horse, Siberia Bound: Chasing the American Dream on Russia's Wild Frontier by Alexander Blakely. But all in all, Nocera's is a nice list.

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