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The Best Business Books Ever: The Most Influential Management Books You'll Never Have Time To Read [Paperback]

Basic Books
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 5 2011
Every manager could benefit from a solid grounding in the history and evolution of business thinking. The Best Business Books Ever is a uniquely organized guide and an illuminating collection of key ideas from the 130 most influential business books of all time. It places both historical and contemporary works in context and draws fascinating parallels and points of connection.Now fully revised and more than 30 percent bigger, this one book highlights the information you need to know and why it's important to know it, and does it all in a succinct, time-saving fashion. Business moves faster than ever these days. For the businessperson who has a growing list of tomes that they can never quite seem to get to, The Best Business Books Ever is a must-have.

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Review

"Simply the best general business reference ever." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
BBBe provides a two-page summary of the hundred most influential business books. The mix is eclectic, including modern authors, such as Peter Senge and Peter Drucker, as well as historical writers, such as Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz and John Stuart Mill.
Probably someone will complain that this is just another 'Cliff Notes' of business books, but it provides an interesting history of attitudes towards business and a starting point for anyone looking for a guide to business books worth reading.
Was this review helpful to you?
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Note: This review is of a book published earlier this year. It is a sequel to one published in 2003.

What we have here is a series of brief discussions "the most influential management books you'll never have time to read," a total of 130, one per author or co-authors. They were selected by persons not identified and the book was published by (appropriately) Basic Books. No doubt those who examine the list will disagree with the selections (I do and more about that later) because any such list is bound to generate controversy. Some readers will question the selection of an author's work (e.g. preferring Jim Collins' Good to Great to Built to Last written with Jerry Porras) and other readers will object to an author's inclusion (e.g. Gerry McGovern, R. Meredith Belbin) and/or exclusion (e.g. Adrian Slywotsky). That said, the 130 really would provide an excellent "basic library" of resources that include non-business books such as Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince that have indeed had significant impact on thinking about leadership and management.

The two-page format is eminently sensible:

WHY READ IT? A capsule introduction describing the book's key contribution to management
GETTING STARTED: An introduction to the main themes that each aut hor sets out to address
CONTRIBUTION: A detailed summary of the book's most important points
CONTEXT: An overview of both the immediate reaction to the book and its long-term significance
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Essential bibliographic information on the given title

Granted, it is impossible to do full justice to any of the 130. What surprised me is how much useful material the anonymous co-authors of the digests manage to provide.
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of the 100 most influential business books Nov. 2 2003
By Celia Redmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
BBBe provides a two-page summary of the hundred most influential business books. The mix is eclectic, including modern authors, such as Peter Senge and Peter Drucker, as well as historical writers, such as Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz and John Stuart Mill.
Probably someone will complain that this is just another `Cliff Notes' of business books, but it provides an interesting history of attitudes towards business and a starting point for anyone looking for a guide to business books worth reading.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delivers as Promised Jan. 3 2007
By Kevin Eikenberry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The subtitle of this book is: The 100 Most Influential Management Books You'll Never Have Time to Read. The first thing I did was go through the table of contents and do a mental note of how many of these books I had heard of (about 85-90), then I did a count of those I had read (17). Such is part of the fun of looking at any sort of list of what is considered "best."

I think the key criterion for "best" in this case is most influential, which helps me make more sense of what is included and some of what isn't.

The book is useful in that each chapter (one for each of the 100 books) follows the same template, sharing a brief summary, the key ideas the book highlighted and a bit of context - how the book fits into the world and the impact it has had.

If you are looking to become more conversant in some classic business literature and ideas, or if you are looking for a guide to help you fill the gaps in your own library, this book would be a good choice.

It might not be a book to sit down with at the fire, but it is worth considering and taking a look at.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs a better index July 12 2005
By A Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is similar to the Ultimate Business Library, the latest edition of which summarizes less books (75 in the latest edition rather than 100), but is longer. The Ultimate Business Library also has a better index. This book's index is only an author index, which is necessary because the summaries are arranged alphabetically by book title rather than by author. The Ultimate Business Library, on the other hand, arranges them alphabetically by author. Personally, I would prefer them to be arranged chronologically. This book also does not show the publication year of the books in the table of contents. So, it is difficult to read them in chronological order. The Ultimate Business Library wins out in this respect as well. I still like The Best Business Books Ever, but I wish I had bought the Ultimate Business Library instead.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Companies should maintain a Best Business Books library Sept. 15 2011
By Peter de Toma sen. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
"The Best Business Books Ever - the most influential management books you'll never have time to read" published in 2011 is a revised and expanded edition of "the Best Business Books ever - the 100 most influential management books you'll never have time to read" published in 2003. I have read all the books mentioned in the edition of 2003.

The revised and expanded edition published in 2011 differs from the "2003 edition" as follows:
- the "100 most influential management books" in the "2003 edition" are included in this "2011 edition"
except "The Function of the Executive" by Chester Barnard published in 1938/1968. The majority of
these books qualifies for a "Top 100 List" and is a very good benchmark for implementing an excellent
"Best Business Books" library (5-stars). Such a library has many advantages: access to outstanding know how
and best management practices, stimulation of creativity, learning from failure and success, development of
in-house capabilities etc. etc.

- The new "2011 edition" has been extended by 33 books. Six of them are very good recommendations:
Barbarians at the Gate by Burrough and Helyar (1989 - 20th anniversary edition).
Direct from Dell by Michael Dell (1999)
Digital Capital by Don Tapscott (2000)
Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch (2003)
Now discover your strengths by Buckingham/Clifton (2004)
The World is flat by Thomas Friedman (2005)

- The remaining 27 books in this new edition - not included in the 2003 edition - I would neither buy nor read: most of them are outdated (dealing with the
so called new economy published between 1999 and 2001 just before the .com bubble burst), some have significantly negative or almost no customer review
comments, a few have been written by non-experts in the subject matter they deal with. (1-star for the research performance which contributed to the 2011 edition).

In addition to the "Top 100 in the 2003 edition" and the six books mentioned above I recommend to consider the following books:
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (first published 1946, regular reprints, revised and updated 2006 - 500 5- and 4-star reviews)
Maslow on Management by Abraham Maslow (1961 reprinted 1998)
The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch (1997)
Only the Paranoid survive by Andy Grove (1999)
Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono (1999)
The Leadership Pipeline by Charan/Drotter/Noel (2001)
Who says Elephants can't dance by Louis V. Gerstner Jr. who saved IBM (2002)
The Profit Zone by Adrian Slywotzky (2002)
How to grow when Markets don't grow by Adrian Slywotzky (2004)
Why smart executives fail by Sydney Finkelstein (2004)
Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim/Mauborgne (2005)
Strategy: A step by step approach by Mark Daniell (2005)
True North: Discover your Authentic Leadership by George/Sims (2007)
Growing Pains by Flamholtz7rANDLE (2007 4th edition)
The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig (2007)
Innovation to the core by Skarzyns/Gibson (2008)
The Evolution of Management Thought by Daniel Wren (2008 6th edition)
One Page Talent Management by by Effron/Ort (2010)
Der Markt hat nicht immer Recht by Wilfried Stadler - The Market is not always right (2011 - no English translation so far)
Steve Jobs (2011) added 20120209
Enjoy reading!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actually, they are identified as "the most influential management books you'll never have time to read" May 12 2011
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Note: This review is of a book published earlier this year. It is a sequel to one published in 2003.

What we have here is a series of brief discussions "the most influential management books you'll never have time to read," a total of 130, one per author or co-authors. They were selected by persons not identified and the book was published by (appropriately) Basic Books. No doubt those who examine the list will disagree with the selections (I do and more about that later) because any such list is bound to generate controversy. Some readers will question the selection of an author's work (e.g. preferring Jim Collins' Good to Great to Built to Last written with Jerry Porras) and other readers will object to an author's inclusion (e.g. Gerry McGovern, R. Meredith Belbin) and/or exclusion (e.g. Adrian Slywotsky). That said, the 130 really would provide an excellent "basic library" of resources that include non-business books such as Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince that have indeed had significant impact on thinking about leadership and management.

The two-page format is eminently sensible:

WHY READ IT? A capsule introduction describing the book's key contribution to management
GETTING STARTED: An introduction to the main themes that each author sets out to address
CONTRIBUTION: A detailed summary of the book's most important points
CONTEXT: An overview of both the immediate reaction to the book and its long-term significance
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Essential bibliographic information on the given title

Granted, it is impossible to do full justice to any of the 130. What surprised me is how much useful material the anonymous co-authors of the digests manage to provide. Although the format is standardized, the approach to essential points varies to accommodate the unique significance of the given work. Here are two brief excerpts:

On the contribution of Igor Ansoff's Corporate Strategy (1965): "The book presented several new theoretical concepts, such as partial ignorance, business strategy, capability and competence profiles, and synergy. One particular concept, the product-mission matrix, became very popular because it was simple and - for the first time - codified the differences between strategic expansion and diversification."

On the contribution of Clayton M. Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma (2003): "The author cites five reasons successful companies fail to capitalize on disruptive technologies:

o Customers control the pattern of resource allocation.
o Small markets do not solve the growth needs of large companies.
o It can be difficult to identify successful applications in advance.
o Larger organizations rely on their core competencies and values.
o Technology supply may not equal demand."

Having read most of the 130, reviewed a majority, and interviewed the authors of several, I disagree with only a few of the selections and would have replaced them with others I consider more worthy such as Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology (1987), Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (2002), Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition (2008), Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1996), and the U.S. Army's Official Army Leadership Manual: Leadership the Army Way (available to the general public in Be*Know*Do, an adaptation of the manual published in 2004).
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