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Essential Business History Books

Jeffrey Swystun
The list author says: "There is much to be learned from business histories and they often make fascinating reading for many reasons. Chief among my enjoyment of them is that many lessons and tenets are timeless and are as relevant today as when they were first put into use."
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
"Niall Ferguson is a history machine! Prolific is not an accurate word to describe him. And all of his work is eminently readable. Their is also a DVD to accompany this book."
Money and Power: The History of Business
Money and Power: The History of Business
"This is an interesting read as it makes the case that are base human reactions to money and power have not changed through the centuries of organized business. There is an accompanying documentary from CNBC."
The Oxford Handbook of Business History (Oxford Handbooks)
The Oxford Handbook of Business History (Oxford Handbooks)
"An expensive and somewhat dry tome, its value is in its detail and chronological logic. It sets out to contest commonly held beliefs in management and the results are extremely interesting."
Company of Adventurers, Vol. 1
Company of Adventurers, Vol. 1
"This is the first of a trilogy on the Hudsons Bay Company. I have them three times and amazed at the management lessons and how Canada was born from business. The other two are Caesars of the Wilderness and Merchant Princes."
Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time
Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time
"Both history and management lessons packaged in the tales of successful business people. Written in 1997 but still carries relevant lessons."
Giants of Enterprise: Seven Business Innovators and the Empires They Built
Giants of Enterprise: Seven Business Innovators and the Empires They Built
"Business historian Tedlow profiles seven magnates. From Andrew Carnegie and George Eastman to Thomas Watson Sr. up to Robert Noyce and Sam Walton."
Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life (P.S.)
Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life (P.S.)
"Wall Street fuels business innovation and growth thus remaining an important factor. This book is an absolutely absorbing read on its history, impact on business, and American society."
Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets
Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets
"Put aside your economic and investment texts and consume this highly readable history on why markets behave the way they do (and how they have for centuries)."
The Story of American Business: From the Pages of the New York Times
The Story of American Business: From the Pages of the New York Times
"The author has packaged together some of the most fascinating and relevant articles about business from The New York Times archives which highlight trends, practices, and human foibles."
Major Problems in American Business History: Documents and Essays (Major Problems in American History Series)
Major Problems in American Business History: Documents and Essays (Major Problems in American History Series)
"A little more academic in tone but yields some interesting lessons in management and entrepreneurialism."
Birth of a Salesman: The Transformation of Selling in America
Birth of a Salesman: The Transformation of Selling in America
"I liked Sven Beckert's review, "Salesmen, Friedman argues, helped distribute the products of America's increasingly bountiful manufacturing industries, invented new forms of managerial hierarchies, investigated the psychology of desire, and were in the vanguard of America's transformation from a producer to a consumer society.""
The Great Crash 1929
The Great Crash 1929
"An enlightened Economics professor had us read this instead of the expected textbook and I have since read it two more times. The parallels to our recent crisis and all those in between are evident."