A little over a year ago, Todd Sattersten sent me a copy of his (then) new book, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You, coauthored by Jack Covert. In exchange for the book, I was supposed to provide feedback. For a variety of reasons I took a hiatus from blogging about the same time and never got around to posting my thoughts. So this is long overdue. My apologies to Todd and Jack.
As anyone who has browsed the Business section of the bookstore knows, there are far more books than anyone can possibly read. If you took all the business books published in 2007 and stacked them on top of each other, they’d easily reach the top of a nine-story building. And that’s just one year’s worth of books. What about the years since then, and the years before? How can anyone sift through that enormous pile and find the books that solve their problem or strengthen their particular weakness? That’s the challenge that Todd and Jack’s book sets out to meet.
And for the most part, The 100 Best Books fulfills its promise. Organized into 12 chapters covering subjects like leadership, strategy, management, innovation, and big ideas, each review identifies the major concepts presented in a “best” book, plus a short section recommending still more books for readers who want to go beyond the basics (this is my favorite feature of the book).
I found myself nodding in agreement with many of the recommendations, books like The Innovator’s Dilemma, Execution, Influence, Positioning, The Art of The Start, Made to Stick, and my personal favorite “business” book of all time, Orbiting the Giant Hairball. I also found myself making a list of books that I have not read yet, but need to.
The book’s only weakness is also its genius. Unlike the best business books, it doesn’t focus on and flesh out any great ideas. Instead it usefully points you to the books that do explore the ideas you want to know more about. If you want to learn more about entrepreneurship or marketing, this isn’t the book to read. But it is the book you would check to find the books to read.
On the whole, The 100 Best Books of All Time is a pretty comprehensive reading list for anyone who wants to learn more about 12 business subjects (it’s almost a do-it-yourself MBA). And while there are certainly hundreds of worthy books not included in this volume, it’s still a pretty good place to start. It can be read cover to cover, or used as a topical reference for those who want to learn more about a particular subject. It’s worth having close by as a reference for those times you need the right book to read.
Worth a recommendation. Buy it here.