The editors at Amazon.com have put together a list of the best books of 2008 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. A Sense of Urgency by John P. Kotter. The author outlines four helpful tactics to create what he believes will enhance any business: a constant sense of urgency.
3. The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid It by John Gerzema and Edward Lebar. Authors offer evidence drawn from a detailed analysis of a decade’s worth of brand and financial data using Y&R’s Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), the largest database of brands in the world, that business is riding on yet another bubble that is ready to burst–a brand bubble. While most managers still see metrics like trust and awareness as the backbone of how brands are built, Gerzema asserts they’re dead wrong–these metrics do not add to increased asset value. In fact, by following them, they actually hasten the declining value of their brands. Using a five-stage model, The Brand Bubble reveals how today’s successful brands–and tomorrow’s–have an insatiable appetite for creativity and change.
4. The Momentum Effect: How to Ignite Exceptional Growth by J.C. Larreche. One of the most frequent challenges that managers and executives face today is: How do I keep on growing and at the same time, make a profit?’ Based on the author’s extensive research on over 350 Fortune 1000 Firms, The Momentum Effect proves that the old method of spending big on marketing and slashing the manufacturing costs doesn’t work anymore. Instead, it provides new evidence to show that in order to achieve profitable growth you have to create new value for customers through innovation, ingenuity and most importantly by seeing things from a customer perspective.
5. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam. The premise behind Roam’s book is simple: anybody with a pen and a scrap of paper can use visual thinking to work through complex business ideas.Everything in the book is broken down into steps, providing the reader with tools and rules to facilitate picture making.
6. The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio: Get Wise, Get Wealthy…and Get on With Your Life (Agora Series) by Alexander Green. Outperform the vast majority of investment professionals while paying nothing in sales charges, brokerage fees, or commissions by modifying your investment strategy. Based on a Nobel Prize-winning investment strategy.Gain an understanding of the fundamental relationship between risk and reward in the financial markets and get an insider’s view of how the investment industry really works.
7. The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By by Scott Shane. This book shows that the reality of entrepreneurship is decidedly different from the myths that have come to surround it. Shane, a leading expert in entrepreneurial activity in the United States and other countries, draws on the data from extensive research to provide accurate, useful information about who becomes an entrepreneur and why, how businesses are started, which factors lead to success, and which predict a likely failure.
8. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. Corporate executives are struggling with a new trend: people using online social technologies (blogs, social networking sites, YouTube, podcasts) to discuss products and companies, write their own news, and find their own deals. This groundswell is global, it s unstoppable, it affects every industry and it s utterly foreign to the powerful companies running things now. When consumers you ve never met are rating your company s products in public forums with which you have no experience or influence, your company is vulnerable. In Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester, Inc. explain how to turn this threat into an opportunity.
9. The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (Big) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite by Michael Port and Elizabeth Marshall. Take the traditional sales model, which is outdated and needs a serious makeover, and turn it on its head. Find an entirely sound approach to building better client relationships and closing more sales by doing the exact opposite that conventional sales advice dictates. Re-examine the most well-worn sales tactics in the business and discover specific and actionable strategies and principles that will help you close more sales today.
10. Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition by GuyGuy Kawasaki. For nearly three decades, Kawasaki has earned a stellar reputation as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and irreverent pundit. His 2004 bestseller, The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, has become the most acclaimed bible for small business. And his blog is consistently one of the fifty most popular in the world. Now, Kawasaki has compiled his best wit, wisdom, and contrarian opinions in handy book form. From competition to customer service, innovation to marketing, he shows readers how to ignore fads and foolishness while sticking to commonsense practices.