100 Best-ish Nonfiction Titles: Business
14 October 2011
Moving right along in our consideration of the Time list of the top 100 nonfiction titles published in America since 1923, we find the Business titles:
Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
The General Theory, by John Maynard Keynes
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
No Logo, by Naomi Klein
Unsafe at Any Speed, by Ralph Nader
What Color Is Your Parachute?, by Richard Nelson Bolles.
Here's where this list stuff starts to get a little dicey, because I really wouldn't call all of these books Business. Fast Food Nation I'd call Investigative, and hell, I'm going to include that as a category eventually, although Time didn't. And the Carnegie and Bolles titles I'd term Self-Help (and the Parachute book not very helpful self-help at that), although I suppose they really are known as business or career books. Still.
And frankly, can anyone who isn't an economics major force themselves to read books by Milton Friedman or John Maynard Keynes? Just reading the titles makes me sleepy.
Hmm, business books. That's a tough one, as a lot of my favorite business books are investigative titles, like Liar's Poker or Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. So what to do? Compromise: List a couple business books, but save most of my picks for a non-Time category of Investigative titles.
Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy, John Bowe. Bowe's exploration of modern-day slavery, one of my favorite Business/Investigative titles of all time, contains one of the most perfect insights I've ever read in a book. When discussing our current system of economics, globalization, etc., Bowe pointed out that (I'm paraphrasing) "the system isn't broken, the system is working exactly the way it was set up to work." Think about that one for a while. I literally end up quoting that one to someone or other at least once a week.
In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton & How Wal-Mart Is Devouring America, Bob Ortega. Fascinating study of Wal-Mart and Sam Walton. It's a crying shame that this one is out of print. It pretty much put me off Wal-Mart for good.
As for actual, business-y business books, I might suggest Andrew Tobias's The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, just for its sheer readability, and my brother's always been fond of The One-Minute Manager for its succinctness.
Have a great weekend, all. Next week we'll have a few regular book posts, and then finish up our lists. Good times, good times!