Great Business Reads for the Beach

Great Business Reads for the Beach at the Falmouth Public Library!

A recent article in Booklist Online featured “Great Business Reads for the Beach” by editor Keir Graff:

“ I’ve always thought of business books as being on a par with reference when it comes to reading pleasure—or maybe even just a little bit worse. After all, an encyclopedia makes no pretense at constructing a narrative. Too often, business books read with all the wit and verve of a company report, using the English language as though it were merely a paper clip to hold the facts together.

All this got me wondering: Is there such a thing as a beach-read business book? If we define a beach read as a fast-moving narrative that allows us to lose ourselves in the story, then yes, there is. Looking through starred Booklist reviews from the past 10 years, I made a list that should interest readers who wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in business books.”

Here are titles with reviews from Graff’s list that are in the Falmouth Public Library’s collection:

The Accidental Billionaires: the Founding of Facebook, a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal by Ben Mezrich.

The source material for the hit movie The Social Network, this book succeeds largely because of Mezrich’s ability to distill a massive commercial and cultural phenomenon into a story of friendship and falling-out. That Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, and the Winklevoss twins are now a part of our pop pantheon speaks to Mezrich’s ability to write about real people as though they were fictional characters. This is a business book that reads like a thriller.  Call # 338.761006 MEZ

The Big Rich: the Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burrough

Chronicles the rise and fall of one of the great economic and political powerhouses of the twentieth century–Texas oil–by weaving together the epic sagas of the industry’s Big Four (Roy Cullen, H. L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, and Sid Richardson) in a story of wealth, power, family feuds, scandals, and bankruptcies. Call # 338.2728 BUR

The Facebook effect: the inside story of the company that is connecting the world by David Kirkpatrick

How did a nineteen-year-old Harvard student create a company that has transformed the Internet and how did he grow it to its current enormous size? Kirkpatrick shows how Zuckerberg steadfastly refused to compromise his vision, insistently focusing on growth over profits and preaching that Facebook must dominate (his word) communication on the Internet. In the process, he and a small group of key executives have created a company that has changed social life in the United States and elsewhere, a company that has become a ubiquitous presence in marketing, altering politics, business, and even our sense of our own identity. This is the Facebook Effect. Call #338.761006 KIR

The Fall of the House of Forbes: The Inside Story of the Collapse of a Media Empire by Stewart Pinkerton

Pinkerton, former managing editor of Forbes, had a front-row seat at the breathtaking decline of an iconic American journalism brand. Beginning with a portrait of the eccentric Malcolm Forbes, he details the fierce internecine family and business squabbles that accompanied every misstep in the move from print to the web as the media giant fell. Pinkerton sees the decline of Forbes as a “business parable with undercurrents of Greek tragedy,” and we’re compelled to agree. Call # 338.761

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick and William L. Simon

Mitnick was at one time the most-wanted computer hacker in the country, perhaps the world. Here he reveals, in minute detail, how he obtained some of the most closely guarded secrets of the computer industry, how he eluded the FBI for years by living under false identities, and how one corporate IT security manager ultimately beat him at his own game. This reads like Frank Abagnale Jr.’s Catch Me if You Can (1980) and Steve McVicker’s I Love You Phillip Morris (2003)—with a high-tech twist. Call # 364.168 MIT

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner

In video-game years, Doom may be ancient history, but its status in the pantheon of first-person shooter games qualifies it as a bona fide legend. Kushner cracks open the dark world of John Carmack and John Romero, creators of Doom and other blockbuster computer games, and reading this fascinating underground tale is as addictive as the games themselves. This is a true antihero story for our time, with computer geeks turned rock stars birthing a new cyberculture.  Call # 794.8 KUS

Ponzi’s scheme : the true story of a financial legend by Mitchell Zuckoff.

You’ve heard of the scheme. Now comes the man behind it. In Mitchell Zuckoff’s exhilarating book, the first nonfiction account of Charles Ponzi, we meet the charismatic rogue who launched the most famous and extraordinary scam in the annals of American finance.

It was a time when anything seemed possible–instant wealth, glittering fame, fabulous luxury–and for a run of magical weeks in the spring and summer of 1920, Charles Ponzi made it all come true. Promising to double investors’ money in three months, the dapper, charming Ponzi raised the “rob Peter to pay Paul” scam to an art form and raked in millions at his office in downtown Boston. Ponzi’s Scheme is the amazing true story of the irresistible scoundrel who launched the most successful scheme of financial alchemy in modern history–and uttered the first roar of the Roaring Twenties. Call # 923.41 Ponzi

The Quants: how a new breed of math whizzes conquered Wall St. and nearly destroyed it

by Scott Patterson.

Proving Mark Twain’s point that “truth is stranger than fiction,” Patterson tells the tale of the global financial meltdown in 2007 via a new breed of investor, the Quants, elite math geniuses who exchanged the hunches of risk-taking traders for advanced mathematical tools. Their ascendancy to the heights and then extraordinary fall to near extinction is a remarkable story, as is the possibility that they all will rise from the ashes. Must-read material on a still-resonant phenomenon. Call # 332.64 PAT

When Hollywood Had a King: The Reign of Lew Wasserman, Who Leveraged Talent into Power and Influence by Connie Bruck

Lew Wasserman’s career as head of Universal Studios demonstrated a kind of epic symmetry: by freeing the stars of the 1940s from the servitude of studio contracts, he had effectively ended the era of the movie moguls, only to become the greatest mogul of them all. With the gusto of Howard Cosell at ringside, Bruck reports on business coup after business coup, showing not only how Wasserman roped his dopes but also how he acquired the leverage to do so. A riveting account of a legendary Tinseltown power broker. Call # 338.761 BRU

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