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Monday, Jul. 21, 2008 at 4:38 pm

14 Best Business Fiction Books

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
July 21st, 2008

I’m always looking for another good read, especially if it’s on my Kindle. My friend, Patrick Sullivan, Jr. spoiled me by giving me a Kindle as a gift. How did I ever live without it?

Joe Nocera lists 14 books he likes in no particular order in “The Best Business Books Ever?

“Liar’s Poker,” by Michael Lewis (even though I’ve since become convinced that the anecdote that gives the book its title never happened).
“The Devil’s Candy,” by Julie Salamon. (Greatest dissection of the movie business ever written.)
“The Box,”, by Marc Levinson. (Hard to believe you can write a great book about the rise and importance of the shipping container, but he pulled it off.)
“Indecent Exposure,” by David McClintick. (Published in 1982, it single-handedly created the business narrative genre).
“The Go-Go Years,” by John Brooks. (The best book by the most elegant writer to ever make business his subject.)
“The Kingdom and the Power,” by Gay Talese. (Yes, the subject is The New York Times, but how can you leave it off any list of great business books?)
“Titan,” by Ron Chernow. (Chernow’s magisterial biography of John D. Rockefeller.)
“Do You Sincerely Want To Be Rich,” by Godfrey Hodgson, Bruce Page and Charles Raw. (Hard to believe that this committee of authors could write a sensational narrative about the rise and fall of Bernard Cornfeld, but that they did.)
“Disney Wars,” by James Stewart. (”Best corporate psychoanalysis I’ve ever read,” says John Huey.)
“The Informant,” by Kurt Eichenwald (Forget his Enron book, “Conspiracy of Fools.” This book, about the strange saga of Mark Whitacre and Archer Daniels Midland, is his masterpiece.)
“Father, Son and Co.: My Life at IBM and Beyond”, by Thomas J. Watson and Peter Petre (The only great ghost-written C.E.O. autobiography ever written. No one else — not even Lee Iacocca or Jack Welch — even comes close.)
“When Genius Failed,” by Roger Lowenstein. (Another one of those “how-did-he-do-it?” books: this account of the fall of Long Term Capital Management, which by all rights should be a tough slog, is crackling good read.)
“Greed and Glory on Wall Street,” by Ken Auletta. (This book, about the crack up of Lehman Brothers, has a great cast of characters, starting with Steve Schwartzman.)
“The Smartest Guys in the Room,” by Peter Elkind and Bethany McLean. (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!)

I like this list a lot. Now I’ll check if the books are available in Kindle format yet.

It’s time to engage in some word of mouth marketing. Do you have any other business fiction books to recommend? Please let me know.

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Comments (12)

  1. Even though it is more of a parable than a fiction book, a must read for any entrepreneur is Selling the Wheel. Brett Hurt, CEO of Bazaarvoice and I were discussing it at the recent Shop.org conference.

  2. Take a look at Eliyahu Goldratt’s series of books on the theory of constraints, starting with The Goal!

  3. Does the Kindle handle PDFs?

    If so you can download Jim Clemmer’s(Leader’s Digest, Growing the Distance) latest book, Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work one chapter at a time for free at http://www.mooseonthetable.com or fork over the $10 and get the whole thing in one shot.

    It’s a business fable about a middle manager struggling to keep his job at a failing tech services company by facing the mountain of “tiny concessions” he made over the years and realizing that true leadership comes from facing the moose on the table – literally in his case.

    A jaunty little story that’s great for beach or the pool.

  4. Bill / Aidan – thanks for the recommendations

    Aidan – The Kindle handles most PDFs well, depending on the formatting.

  5. I second the recommendation of The Goal. It is not a “great read” but it is a great instructional text written as a novel which really makes the lesson easy to understand and apply.

  6. I don’t think I’ve read any of the books on the list; however, I would recommend “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

    He has another book “Built to Last” which is great as well.

  7. Aren’t these all non-fiction books?

    Do you have any recommendations for fiction business books?

  8. Nice list but not fiction

  9. I don’t think I’ve read any of the books on the list; however, I would recommend “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

  10. Responding to the earlier comment, yes the Kindle can handle PDF documents, but ony if they have no DRM (Digital RIghts Management).

  11. You’ve got to include The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.

  12. These are not all fiction books. Does anyone have a list of fiction books that are centered around a business theme? I’m not talking about self help, how to books. I’m looking for fiction. For example, “The Moneychangers” “Atlas Shrugged” etc.

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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