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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

4.3 out of 5 stars 51 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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; 1 edition
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002BWQ56I
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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5 Comments 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book because I love reading - and refreshing my memory about - great business ideas. It is not my favorite survey of business books due to a slightly light-weight, easy-read approach that does not do justice to all the ideas. BUT it is a great read and worth the time.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition
As any newspaper publisher knows people love top lists. This entire book is a top list of business books. Jack Covert who is the founder of the business book retailer 800-CEO-READS and publisher of “Jack Covert Reads” has read and reviewed business literature for several decades. Todd Sattersten is the mechanical engineer from General Electric that turned to literature and who previously was the president of the company but now helps business experts realize their dream of writing books.

The starting point for all this is that while they help business leaders solve problems there are over 10.000 business books published per year. Obviously, there is a need for some type of screening and these are the 100 titles that according to the authors offer the best help. The books are ranked on the quality of the presented idea, the applicability of the idea to practical business issues and the accessibility of the text.

The titles are divided into a number of thematic chapters such as “You”, “Leadership”, “Sales & Marketing”, “Biographies”, “Entrepreneurship” etc. Looking at the total selection of literature it’s obvious that the authors prefer topics centered around leading people, values, inspiration etc. over for example factual texts on processes or technology. They are not number types of persons but instead see more to the - perhaps - easier digested psychological and sociological aspects of management. This is obviously a matter of personality and taste even if I find the exclusion of Michael Porter’s Five Forces of Strategy from the list as not being accessible enough a bit harsh – after all the readers are supposed to be CEOs.

A book review gives a critical evaluation of the text.
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