Joe Nocera’s (New York Times Columnist) Best Business Books Ever

July 22, 2008

Joe Nocera is The New York Times’ Talking Business columnist. He also writes a business-oriented blog at The Times called Executive Suite. A few years ago he asked his regular readers for suggestions for the best business fiction books. Unable to come up with a sufficient list of fiction, he turned his eye toward non-fiction books; narrative non-fiction, that is, and consulted a few other business-minded authorities for their advice. They agreed on the following list as the very best business books. If you have a title you feel has been unfairly excluded, you can let him know at the original blog post.

“Barbarians At The Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar ~~ a rollicking account of KKR’s leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco.
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 War 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!)”

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One Response to “Joe Nocera’s (New York Times Columnist) Best Business Books Ever”

  1. Rosalie Nocera Says:

    Barbarians at the Gate is at the top of the list?? Wow, I have that right on my bookshelf here. Standing right next to Beschloss and John Dean books. Haven’t read it, but hey, I guess I was impressed by some reviewer and bought it. Do I know good stuff when I see it! !

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