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The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You Hardcover – February 5, 2009

49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Unbelievably, over 10,000 business books are published each year, creating a dizzying array of choices for the budding entrepreneur or executive manager seeking solutions. In some circles, the genre may have a reputation for being dull, but the best written have much to offer to a wider audience. A great business book can encompass inspirational writing, biography, engaging narratives, even mystery and suspense. Covert and Sattersten operate 800-CEO-READ, a specialty business-book retailer. Out of the countless business books they have read every year for a quarter century, they have culled 100 of the best and presented them in review format. Of course, you get the classics, like How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (1936), and The HP Way, by David Packard (1995), but you also get the whimsical (Oh, the Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss, 1990); historical (Never Give In, speeches by Winston Churchill, 2003); artistic (The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp, 2003); and philosophical (The Monk and the Riddle, by Komisar and Lineback, 2000). This list and the fine reviews are proof positive that business books can offer a rich treasure of stories and inspiration. --David Siegfried

About the Author

Jack Covert is the founder and president of 800-CEO-READ, a specialty business book retailer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Todd Sattersten runs BizBookLab, a company that identifies, develops, and launches business books around the world. Todd is based in Portland, Oregon.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; 1 edition (February 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591842409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842408
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 87 people found the following review helpful By joShu on May 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a decently organized collection of business books but it left me frustrated.

I wanted to learn the key ideas in these 100 books and this book did not provide it. That is my main criticism. I am just not that interested in learning how "refreshing" the style of writing is or in reading commentary on how clever the author was.

So, if you think that you are going to get summaries and distillations of the ideas from these 100 books then you are mostly mistaken. I say mostly because there are indeed a few (a very few) morsels provided in each review. However, all too often the review just says something like "the author then provides 8 ideas that you should consider in setting up your business", but you don't get to learn what those 8 ideas are! Down with fluffy teasers.

I also wish the collection did not restrict itself only to relatively contemporary works. That is like saying music should only be understood by looking at everything from the Beatles on. Don't get me wrong: I love the Beatles but what about Bach? Frederick Taylor's views of the employee may be old but it still provides insight into how a sizeable portion of businesses are still being run around the world today ... not to mention that it gives us a context for understanding how we got to where we are right now.

In fairness, there are a number of "pop numbers" that I would have never learned about if not for this book. So, I feel the authors do a credible job of surveying and presenting fresh options based on contemporary (e.g. humanitarian) business values and trends.

If you like this book you probably owe it to yourself to broaden your list a little. There are a lot of "best business" lists out there.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Presumably when Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten made their selections for this book, they struggled to decide which books to include written by prolific authors such as Warren Bennis, Clayton Christensen, Peter Drucker, James Kouzes and Barry Posener, C.K. Prahalad, and Noel Tichy. I am curious to know why they include Billy Beane's Moneyball instead of Thomas Davenport's Competing on Analytics, Po Bronson's What Should I Do with My Life? instead of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography or James O'Toole's Creating the Good Life, and Annette Simmons' The Story Factor but none of Stephen Denning's books, notably The Leader's Guide to Storytelling and/or The Secret Language of Leadership? And why include none of the books written by others such as Joel Barker (Paradigms), Kenneth Blanchard (The One Minute Manager, with Spencer Johnson), William Bridges (Transitions), Henry Chesbrough (Open Innovation), Eric Drexler (Engines of Creation), Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences), Bill George (True North), Jason Jennings (Think Big, Act Small), Jon Katzenbach (The Wisdom of Teams), Philip Kotler (Marketing Management), Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions), David Ogilvy (On Advertising), Michael Ray (Creativity in Business), and Joseph Schumpeter (Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy)?

That said, I think Covert and Sattersten have created an invaluable single source of information, especially given the fact that 11,000 business books were published in the United States in 2007 and, when I last checked, more than 1.9-million business books are now offered by Amazon, including more than 267,000 in the "business management" category.
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58 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Seth Godin on February 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's a little awkward to recommend a book where the authors are generous to you, but for a moment, let's pretend they are not.

If you own a Zagats restaurant guide, it probably means you care about the food you eat.

You need to buy this book if you care about the work you do.

Even better than a restaurant guide, this book will actually feed your head. The summaries are first rate, their enthusiasm is palpable and you'll learn something on every single page.

I know, I'm biased. But I'm sitting here making a fool of myself for a reason--you need to read more business books! This is a great place to start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Macdonald on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am not an MBA, I am an entrepreneur and creative type. This book helped me avoid books that I don't need to read while helping me discover books that I do need to know about. And it's all written in an entertaining style that made it enjoyable to read, even if I wasn't interested in the particular book being reviewed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carter B. Gibson on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When I received my copy of "The 100 Best Business Books of All time", I wondered how much I would enjoy reading a collection of reviews. Can't I just do the same thing on Amazon? Well I did enjoy the book and ended up reading every single one of the reviews. And by "reading" I mean jumping all over the place chasing the rabbit trails at the end of each review. It definitely took me back to my younger days reading the "create your own story books" and made the experience more interesting than just reading a section at a time.

With all the business books out there it is difficult to know which book to choose to solve which problem or teach specific knowledge. "The 100 Best Business Books of All Time" filled my need for a trusted expert to guide me to the best source. Everyone has their own opinions as to which books are the best in each category, but I doubt any of the recommended books will hurt you if you read them. Two authors I really enjoy, Michael Lewis & Malcolm Gladwell, were represented in books. I rate each book I read on two scales, one for usefulness and the other for how interesting the book is. Even though I think their books are fabulously interesting, I also think they are pretty low on the useful scale. I am especially torn on "Moneyball" because it is a very interesting narrative but another book, maybe "Super Crunchers" would have been a better fit for a data-to-decision book. One book I did miss was Chet Holmes "The Ultimate Sales Machine". I am in the financial services industry and that one book made the biggest impact on the way I conduct myself day-to-day and how I view the whole sales process.
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