Amazon.com updates its list of the bestselling business books every hour. Here is a snapshot of what is hot right now, this Monday morning, October 27, in the “Business and Investing” category.
1. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.”
2. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman. The author of The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century takes a look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. He asserts that the solutions to these two big problems are linked and that we can restore the world and revive America at the same time.
3. The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too by James K. Galbraith. The real economy is not a free-market economy. It is a complex combination of private and public institutions, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, higher education, the housing finance system, and a vast federal research establishment. The real problems and challenges — inequality, climate change, the infrastructure deficit, the subprime crisis, and the future of the dollar — are problems that cannot be solved by incantations about the market. They will be solved only with planning, with standards and other policies that transcend and even transform markets.
4. The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shales. The author, a prominent conservative economics journalist, considers why a decade of government intervention ameliorated but never tamed The Great Depression. The book chronicles the projects of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt as well as these projects’ effect on those who paid for them. Reminding readers that the reputedly do-nothing Hoover pulled hard on the fiscal levers (raising tariffs, increasing government spending), Shlaes nevertheless emphasizes that his enthusiasm for intervention paled against the ebullient FDR’s glee in experimentation. She focuses closely on the influence of his fabled Brain Trust and businesses that litigated their resistance to New Deal regulations The book culminates in the rise of Wendell Willkie, and Shlaes’ accent on personalities is an appealing avenue into her skeptical critique of the New Deal.
5. The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith. Of this classic examination of the 1929 financial collapse, the Atlantic Monthly said:”Economic writings are seldom notable for their entertainment value, but this book is. Galbraith’s prose has grace and wit, and he distills a good deal of sardonic fun from the whopping errors of the nation’s oracles and the wondrous antics of the financial community.” Now, with the stock market riding historic highs, the celebrated economist returns with new insights on the legacy of our past and the consequences of blind optimism and power plays within the financial community.
6. StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup’s Now, Discover Your Strengths by Tom Rath. Are you unsure where your true talents lie? Do you feel that you are both a person who gets things done and someone who offers penetrating analysis? Well, you can discover whether you are truly an “achiever” or an “analytical” by completing the online quiz. Then, the book will give you “ideas for action” and tips for how best you can work with others. More of a patiencetester than Strengthsfinder, the quiz/book is probably best for those who have lots of time on their hands.
7. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
You probably don’t realize it, but life is a series of highly improbable yet earthshaking events. That’s the argument of The Black Swan, which in many ways is a re-do of the author’s 2001 best-seller, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets. The highly entertaining new book, though, is longer, better-grounded, and with more advice about how to live in the presence of deep unpredictability. The core of The Black Swan argues that economists, journalists, and corporate planners behave as if they’re living in predictable “Mediocristan” when they’re really in “Extremistan.” It’s a richly enjoyable read with an important message.
8. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Methods for reducing stress and increasing performance.
9. The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets: How to Keep Your Portfolio Up When the Market is Down (Little Books. Big Profits) by Peter D. Schiff. Using economic history as a guide, Schiff looks at the bear markets that followed the bull markets of the 1920s and 1960s to predict what the American economy will look like after it corrects for the tech and real estate bubbles of the 1990s and early 2000s. Combining financial, economic, and political perspectives, Schiff looks at what worked in those earlier bear markets and predicts what strategies are most likely to work over the next ten years.
10. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leapâ€¦ and Others Don’t by Jim Collins. The author of Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Collins concludes that it is possible for a good company to become a great company, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11â€“including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargoâ€“and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success.
11. The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means by George Soros. To understand the current financial crisis, says investor philanthropist Soros, we need a new paradigm that breaks with the old truism that financial markets tend toward equilibrium. Here, he expands upon his “theory of reflexitivity,” discussed in previous books. In this case, his insight suggests that “every bubble consists of a trend and a misconception that interact in a reflexive manner.” In other words (I think), we have trouble seeing the world as it is because we are simultaneously engaged in trying to shape it. The New Paradigm is compactâ€”but don’t mistake it for an airplane read.
12. Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, the Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, and Washington Lobbyists for Foreign Governments Are Scamming Us … and What to Do About It by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann. The authors reveal the hundreds of ways American tax-payers are routinely fleecedâ€”by our own government; by foreign countries like Dubai that are gobbling up American interests and spending millions to influence government decisions and American public opinion; by Washington lobbying firms that are pushing the agendas of corrupt foreign dictators on Capitol Hill; and by hedge-fund billionaires collecting huge tax breaks courtesy of the IRS.
13. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. A groundbreaker when it was first published in 1990, this book continues to be a business bestseller with more than 10 million copies sold. Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, so this book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. His anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges. This isn’t a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you’ll want to study this book, not skim it.
14. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein. The book’s argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn’t just some relic from the bad old days. It’s alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.
15. Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse (Lynn Sonberg Books) by Peter D. Schiff and John Downes. The country has gone from the world’s largest creditor to its greatest debtor; the value of the dollar is sinking; domestic manufacturing is winding down – and these trends don’t seem to be slowing. This book is a warning of a looming period marked by sizeable tax hikes, loss of retirement benefits, double digit inflation, even – as happened recently in Argentina – the possible collapse of the middle class. However, Schiff does have a survival plan that can provide the protection that readers will need in the coming years.