While many obituaries have been written about the book publishing industry, those claims (to borrow a phrase from Mark Twain) have been greatly exaggerated. Books are alive and well though they come in many forms.
For years, I snobbishly only bought hardback first editions, preferably signed by the author. These days, I’m as apt to purchase an e-book or audio edition as I am a book in its traditional paper format.
Though Southern Literature is my first and best book love (thank you, Mr. Faulkner), I have a soft spot for a good business read as well.
Over the next five days, I’ll be releasing what I believe are 25 of the best business books ever published or at least the best of what I have read. To give the selections a thematic flavor, I’ve divided them into categories. Today’s theme: Management.
I welcome your thoughts on my selections and if you feel like I left any deserving books off the list, please leave a comment below or send me an email at [email protected]
25. The Practice of Management (HarperBusiness; Reissue edition October 3, 2006; originally published in 1954.)
Background: Peter Drucker was a pioneer of management philosophy. His insight on the business of businesses carved a path for all subsequent management books. Upon entering graduate school, I received a letter (this was before email) from the Dean of the School. Dr. Reed didn’t mince words. She said to read Drucker’s 1954 classic management tome before the first class if I wanted to understand the levers that turn the business world.
Takeaway: While the hierarchal structure or organizations have changed, become flatter, in the 60 years since Drucker’s book was published, his ideas on peak performance, managerial responsibility and principles of production continue to resonate in the 21st Century.
Quote: ”There is only one valid definition of business: to create a customer… It is the customer who determines what a business is.”
Up next: First, Break All the Rules
24. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (Simon & Schuster, 1999.)
By Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
Background: There is no shortage of management how-to books. They litter the remainder bins of bookstores. Some good, some bad, the self-help books are too often numbingly unoriginal. Not so with “First, Break All the Rules.” In writing the book, Gallup Organization consultants Buckingham and Coffman accessed more than 80,000 interviews with managers. Their research took them in unpredictable areas, often debunking managerial “truisms” such as “treat people as you like to be treated” and “a manager’s role is diminishing in today’s economy.”
Takeaway: Where the book makes its bones is in understanding and measuring talent. The authors offer creative ideas on incentive-based pay and advise that companies tailor incentive plans to the individual.
Quote: “Today, more than ever before, if a company is bleeding people, it is bleeding value.”
23. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street (Weybright and Talley, 1969; Open Road Media; Reprint edition, August 12, 2014)