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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 – Feb 10 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; 1 edition (Feb. 10 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591842409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842408
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #282,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sani on July 20 2012
Format: Hardcover
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time is a good step towards reading literature on business. One thing is very clear however, The book cannot replace the benefits of reading the listed books in whole. When i read Good to Great and compare my understanding of the book with the description provided by this book i realized the authors read the book in haste and missed the point. If it cannot help in saving time and energy while still giving the effect of real books i wonder whats the point other than providing a listomania.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Broad TOP 500 REVIEWER on Dec 12 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Usually books sit on my shelf for a few months before I get to them... there's a line up you see! The line up is usually 20 books deep. But I began this book within weeks of its arrival because I was excited to finally learn the secrets inside of so many of the books that are sitting in my line up. I figured it would help me weed out the ones I don't actually need to read and move the best ones to the front of the line. Plus I really don't like a ton of detail. When a book gets too heavy into a subject I tend to start skimming ... looking for key points and the main message instead of reading every single word. So I figured this book was made for me!

What must have been such an enormous undertaking for these authors fell flat for me. I really felt like so little was covered on each book ... so little that I didn't really learn much except the same generic pieces I could get from skimming the covers or a quick flip through a book.

I feel horribly bad saying that this book was a disappointment because the authors must have worked so hard on this book. It's not for lack of effort that this book didn't do it for me... it's lack of real substance.

I admire them for what they did ... and if you just need to have a list of good books to read then I think this is a good resource but I confess I read about 30% of the book and then gave up. I just didn't find it satisfying at all.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 43 reviews
70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Frustrating morsels May 14 2009
By joShu - Published on Amazon.com
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. For example, Fortune Magazine has a nice list called the "75 Smartest Books We Know".

After going through this book, the Fortune list and numerous other "best business" lists, my favorite "best of business" source remains "The Best Business Books Ever: The 100 Most Influential Business Books You'll Never Have Time to Read". That one, too, has its share of problems but, in my opinion, it provides less pop numbers but more meat and more context.
48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Let the disagreements begin! Feb. 5 2009
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
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. The material is carefully organized within 12 sections, each devoted to a theme: You (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People among the books discussed), Leadership (The Leadership Challenge), Strategy (Good to Great), Sales and Marketing (the selections including Positioning are fine but why not Theodore Levitt's The Marketing Imagination also?), Rules and Scorekeeping (The Balanced Scorecard), Management (The Essential Drucker), Biographies (My Years with General Motors), Entrepreneurship (The Monk and the Riddle), Narratives (The Force, a brilliant choice), Innovation and Creativity (The Art of Innovation), Big Ideas (Made to Stick), and Takeaways (The Lexus and the Olive Tree).

I especially appreciate the inclusion of "Sidebars" throughout the book. For example Business Books for Kids of All Ages (Page 34), Leadership in Movies (Page 46 but what about Fort Apache, Paths of Glory, and Twelve O'Clock High?), The Best Route to an Idea (Page 77), Learn from Experience (Page 81), Selling on the Silver Screen (Page 120 and the five choices are excellent but where's The Producers?), Classics (Page 200), Found in Fiction (Page 247), Fresh Perspectives Not in a Bookstore Near You (Page 282), and Readers' Poll (Page 307). In "The Last Word," Covert and Sattersten invite their readers to visit 100bestbiz.com for more information about all of the books discussed, including chapter excerpts, interviews with authors, videos about the books, and more. I also highly recommend signing up for the 800-CEO-READ Blog (bloggers@800ceoread.com) which provides daily updates of various kinds.

As previously indicated, I am among those who question many of the selections and especially, several omissions. So what? After reading this book, just for the fun of it, I compiled my own list and even devised a few "Sidebars." Perhaps others will also come up with their own list. There are several on Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten's list that I have not as yet read or last read decades ago. After reading or re-reading them, perhaps I'll change my mind. In any event, I enjoyed reading this book and am grateful for the enlightenment and entertainment it provides as well as for its capacity for thought-provocation. Now that it has been published, let the disagreements begin!
54 of 69 people found the following review helpful
I'd like this book even more if I wasn't in it Feb. 6 2009
By Seth Godin - Published on Amazon.com
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, readable springboard for further reading Feb. 8 2012
By J. Macdonald - Published on Amazon.com
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent! Superb summaries of very good books, if not the best Aug. 10 2012
By ServantofGod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Of the 100 books recommended, I had read only 23. So, I am not qualified to tell whether the authors' picks are the best or not. However, with the credentials of my over 700 reviews here on Amazon, I can fairly tell the authors' summaries are outstanding. I am quite surprised that a few reviewers dislike it that much and described it as "frustrating morsels". "not much value", "sins of omission too great" and so on. Certainly, one man's meat is another man's poison. IMHO, recommended!

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