Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Can Aphorisms Take the Cake?

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

If anyone has a crack at making a book of aphorisms a bestseller, it’s economist and philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Best known for his long-running business bestseller The Black Swan, he’s back with The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms. Among his  incisive pronouncements:

  • “You will get the most attention from those who hate you. No friend, no admirer and no partner will flatter you with as much curiosity.”
  • “You remember e-mails you sent that were not answered better than e-mails you did not answer.”

Janet Maslin in New York Times sums up the book’s appeal:

Mr. Taleb is so calculatedly abrasive in this smart, attention-getting little book that he achieves his main objective. “A good maxim,” he writes, “allows you to have the last word without even starting a conversation.”

Orders are modest at libraries we checked, but given Taleb’s track record, this could be one to watch.

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Retail Price: $18.00
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-11-30)
ISBN / EAN: 1400069971 / 9781400069972

Other Notable Nonfiction On Sale Next Week

The Essential American by Jackie Gingrich Cushman (Regnery) is a collection of 25 documents and speeches that Newt Gingrich’s daughter considers critical to understanding United States history. She recently appeared on Fox News to promote it.

Make Miracles in Forty Days: Turning What You Have into What You Want by Melody Beattie (Simon & Schuster) outlines a program of self improvement via gratitude, surrender, and connecting with our essential power.

A Voice from Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth by Louis Auchincloss (Houghton Mifflin) explores the late author’s connection with New York City. Kirkus says, “the author’s prose is lapidary, graceful and eminently readable. In a world of postmodern letters, Auchincloss draws a curtain on a premodern, Whartonesque way of life.”

Can’t Get Enough About the Financial Crisis

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Why read yet another book on the financial crisis? A Huffington Post columnist has declared the latest in a long line of them, All the Devils Are Here, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, the “Best Business Book of the Year” (he does, however, admit to being a friend of one of the authors). Time magazine says, “When the financial crisis of this decade is being taught in business schools in the next, All the Devils Are Here could be the textbook.”

The authors convinced Jon Stewart’s viewers on The Daily Show last night (Stewart used the magic words, “you have to get this [book]”); it rose to #13 on Amazon sales rankings after their appearance.

Coming tomorrow to The Daily Show, Jay-Z, Decoded (Spiegel and Grau) and on Thursday, Philip K. Howard, Life Without Lawyers (Norton).

All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
Bethany McLean, Joe Nocera
Retail Price: $32.95
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover – (2010-11-16)
ISBN / EAN: 1591843634 / 9781591843634

Thanking Your Way to the Top

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

The amazing self-promoter with the daunting last name, Gary Vaynerchuk has a new book coming in March, The Thank You Economy that is already moving up Amazon’s sales rankings (currently at #182).

Vaynerchuk became an internet hit with his fast-talking, no-nonsense videos about wine, (described as “frenetic” by the NYT) created to promote his family’s wine shop and his 2009 book about internet marketing, Crush It!The new book is about giving great customer service.

The Thank You Economy
Gary Vaynerchuk
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Harpercollins – (2011-03-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0061914185 / 9780061914188

Johnson and Chernow on the Rise

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Buzz is building for Where Good Ideas Come From by science writer Steven Johnson. The New York Times ran an early review in the Business section, praising Johnson’s storytelling ability in this exploration of innovative environments like the city and the Internet, and how a “series of shared properties and patterns… recur again and again in unusually fertile environments.”

At libraries we checked, current orders are in line with reserves, but this looks like one to watch, since Johnson was also a featured speaker at TED, the elite technology, entertainment and design conference, this summer. And his cool video trailer for the book appears to be going viral.

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
Steven Johnson
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover – (2010-10-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1594487715 / 9781594487712


Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow gets a respectful review from critic Janet Maslin in the New York Times, who finds that this biography is justified by new material unearthed from Washington’s papers at the University of Virginia.

At 900-odd densely packed pages, Washington can be arid at times. But it’s also deeply rewarding as a whole…. [and] offers a fresh sense of what a groundbreaking role Washington played, not only in physically embodying his new nation’s leadership but also in interpreting how its newly articulated constitutional principles would be applied.

Entertainment Weekly gives the book an “A-,” adding that Chernow

…makes excellent use of Washington’s own voice — the man’s angry letters are like thunderbolts — and turns constitutional debates and bureaucratic infighting into riveting reading.

Washington: A Life
Ron Chernow
Retail Price: $40.00
Hardcover: 928 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2010-10-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1594202664 / 9781594202667

Notable Nonfiction on Sale Next Week

A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson (Random House) is “a wonderfully meandering journey through history, sociology, science, and more. The thread that connects it all is Bryson’s. . . home, a charming former church rectory in a small English village,” according to bookseller Christopher Rose in the October Indie Next Pick citation. NPR’s Morning Edition will feature the book on October 5, followed by  the New York Times Book Review on October 10. It is also the Amazon Spotlight Selection for the month of Oct.

Is It Just Me or Is It Nuts Out There? by Whoopi Goldberg (Hyperion) finds the actress and co-host of ABC’s The View sharing stories from her own life, when she’s been forced to deal with tough situations in family, marriage, friendship, and business.

Cesar’s Rules by Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier (Crown) is the bestselling dog trainer’s primer on establishing the rules of the house.

The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (Harper) considers the far-reaching consequences of the co-evolution of dogs and humans, drawing from recent scientific research.

You: Raising Your Child by Michael F. Roizen & Mehmet C. Oz (Free Press) explores the biology and psychology of raising a child from birth to school age.

Trickle Up Poverty by Michael Savage (Morrow) is the author and conservative talk show host’s attack on President Obama’s agenda and his political tactics.

I’m Not High: (But I’ve Got a Lot of Crazy Stories about Life as a Goat Boy, a Dad, and a Spiritual Warrior) by Jim Breuer (Gotham/Penguin) is a memoir by the comedian and Sirius radio show host best known as “Goat Boy” on Saturday Night Live. He was also featured on the ALTAFF Humor Panel at ALA Annual.


Friday, June 4th, 2010

Weeks ahead of its release next Tuesday, The Facebook Effect by Fortune magazine’s David Kirkpatrick has received hundreds of mentions across the web in virtually every news article about Facebook’s latest adjustments to its privacy policy as it nears the milestone of 500 million worldwide members. The book is already at #409 on Amazon, and libraries are showing growing holds on light orders.

As CNET mentions, veteran tech journalist Kirkpatrick was granted unprecedented access to the company’s top executives:
This is the Facebook that Facebook wants you to see — both the glamorous and the ugly sides of one of the most successful, fastest-growing companies in recent memory… It’s fascinating. It’s well-written and masterfully reported. Still, one is left wondering if anything more sordid was missed.
There’s also an excerpt on And on June 8, Kirkpatrick will make the rounds on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and on an ABC Radio Satellite Tour.
The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World
David Kirkpatrick
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2010-06-08)
ISBN / EAN: 1439102112 / 9781439102114

Other Major Nonfiction Titles on Sale Next Week

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain (Ecco) offers an unvarnished look at young superstar chef David Chang, the revered Alice Waters,  “Top Chef” winners and losers, and more.

The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from the New Yorker edited by David Remnick (Random House) collects pieces from Roger Angell, A.J. Liebling, John Updike, Don Delillo and others.

The Face of Facebook

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Excerpts from a new book about Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, in the new issue of Fortune magazine have caused the business press to go all Page Six (yes, we enjoy the weirdness of that concept, too), and the book, due out next month, to rise on Amazon. The gossip focuses on the story of Zuckerberg crying in a restaurant’s bathroom floor during negotiations to buy the company and the Animal House atmosphere of Facebook’s early days.

The influential Wall Street Journal blog, All Things D, interviews author David Kirkpatrick.

The timing of the book is good; an IPO is expected some time this year.

An earlier, unauthorized book about the founding of Facebook, The Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich (Doubleday, 2009) has been made into a movie, The Social Network, and is scheduled for release on Oct. 15.

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World
David Kirkpatrick
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2010-06-15)
ISBN / EAN: 1439102112 / 9781439102114

No More Performance Reviews!

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

This book’s title will have many managers and their staffs cheering, Get Rid of the Performance Review.  Say the authors, “It’s time to put the performance review out of its misery…it’s pretentious, it’s bogus, and it produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus.”

The Associated Press released an article about it, which appears in the Huffington Post, among other news outlets.

For a little catharsis, try the “How much do you hate performance reviews?” quiz.

Here’s hoping the book sweeps the nation.

Get Rid of the Performance Review!: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing–and Focus on What Really Matters
Samuel A. Culbert
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Business Plus – (2010-04-14)
ISBN / EAN: 044655605X / 9780446556057

Hachette Audio; UNABR, 9781607881759; $26.98
WMA Audiobook downloadable from OverDrive


Thursday, March 18th, 2010

A book that takes a contrarian approach to business, Rework, arrives on the new USA Today best seller list at #49.

It has been rising on Amazon as well, reaching as high as #4 last week. The authors, miffed that Karl Rove’s book shot above theirs, retaliated with this video (via Gawker):

They might also have noted that while Rove’s book is reviewed in places like The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, theirs is reviewed by PC Pro and

Rove’s book is currently at #11 on Amazon. Rework is at #12.

Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
Retail Price: $22.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Crown Business – (2010-03-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0307463745 / 9780307463746

RH Audio; UNABR; 9780307704511; $24
ebook and audio available from OverDrive

THE Big Book of Next Week

Friday, March 12th, 2010

After dozens of high-profile best selling titles about various aspects of the financial crisis, the most anticipated title, and the one the may be the most accessible to the broadest audience is…

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
Michael Lewis
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2010-03-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0393072231 / 9780393072235

It arrives with much fanfare; an excerpt in Vanity Fair, appearances on Sixty Minutes (Sunday), the Today Show, NPR’s All Things Considered, and Jon Stewart, among others on Monday, followed by Fresh Air and Charlie Rose on Tuesday.

Holds in libraries are surprisingly light; all the publicity could change that.

The State of Strategy

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

It’s amazing to realize that there was a time before consulting firms and endless talk about business strategy. The former editorial director of the Harvard Business Review writes about how we got here in Lords of Strategy. It’s currently rising on Amazon (now at #308), even though the listing indicates it won’t be published for three more weeks (the publisher listing, however, shows a 3/3/10 pub date).

It was just reviewed in the The Wall Street Journal, “Big Think In the Boardroom“;

…a clear, deft and cogent portrait of what the author calls the most powerful business idea of the past half-century: the realization that corporate leaders needed to abandon their go-it-alone focus on their company’s fortunes and instead pursue policies based on a detailed study of the competitive environment and of broader business trends.

The author was interviewed earlier in Business Week; “Lords of Strategy: A Talk with Walter Kiechel.”

The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World
Walter Kiechel
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press – (2010-03-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1591397820 / 9781591397823

Check your holdings; it wasn’t review prepub and the libraries we checked have not ordered it yet.

NO ONE…On Jon Stewart

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Harry Markopolos, a Boston deratives analyst, was asked by his boss to look into a very successful hedge fund and try to figure out why it was doing so well. He instantly realized that it was a fraud and tried many times to blow the whistle on it. He wasn’t subtle; in 2000, he sent a memo to the SEC  titled “The World’s Largest Hedge Fund is a Fraud.” Fittingly, his book about the experience is titled No One Would Listen.

That fund was, of course, Bernie Madoff’s. In an interview with Jon Stewart on Monday night, Markopolos was clear about his distain for the SEC, causing Stewart to burst out, “You are an angry dude; you’re just rippin‘ these guys.”

The book rose to #18 on Amazon (it’s now at #21) and has heavy holds in libraries.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Harry Markopolos
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Reform


No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller
Harry Markopolos
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 376 pages
Publisher: Wiley – (2010-03-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0470553731 / 9780470553732

ebook available from OverDrive

Buzz Begins for Seth Godin

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Next week’s most-anticipated nonfiction book is bestselling business guru Seth Godin‘s guide to mastering the new economy, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?  Three of the four libraries we checked had it, with holds of close to 2:1 on orders of 8-15 copies

Though the reserves aren’t huge, they appear to be a positive effect of Godin’s gamble on Internet-only publicity campaign, in which he bypassed the traditional media, giving away books at his own expense to the first 3,000 readers who agreed to make a minium $30 donation to the Acumen Fund.

So far, Godin has a page of positive blog reviews and tweets to show for his efforts, and the Acumen Fund has raised more than $100,000.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
Seth Godin
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover – (2010-01-26)
ISBN / EAN: 1591843162 / 9781591843160

Audio available from Random House on 2/09/10:

  • CD: $15; ISBN 9780307704078

Other Major Titles Going on Sale Next Week:

Eternity Soup: Inside the Quest to End Aging by Greg Critser (Harmony) is a journalist’s irreverent look at the anti-aging industry. Kirkus found it “a delightful, politically incorrect view of the life-extension movement, accompanied by the disappointing news that aging is reversible but not in the near future.”

I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne (Grand Central) is the legendary rocker and reality show star’s memoir, which Kirkus deemed “as toxic and addictive as any drug its author has ever ingested.”

Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour by Gayle Haggard (Tyndale) is a memoir by the wife of evangelical Christian leader Tim Haggard who had liaisons with a male prostitute.

Tea with Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies Table, Our Journey Through the Middle East by Ted Dekker and Middle East expert Carl Medearis  (Doubleday Religion) is an account of the Christian novelist’s effort to love his enemies.

NYT Rave for Lanchester’s IOU

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

New York Times book critic Dwight Garner is at it again – writing a review that immediately compels you to pick up a book you might not have given a second glance, based on his confident comparisons to similar titles, his sensitivity to good writing, and his own seductive storytelling flair.

This time it is I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay, a look at the roots of the global financial crisis by English novelist John Lancaster (The Debt to Pleasure), who began by researching a novel but found the facts so compelling he chose to write a work of nonfiction. It’s already up to #94 on Amazon.

Forty-six libraries have this book, according to World Cat. Those we checked show reserve ratios of five to one on modest orders.

Here are a few of Garner’s most compelling endorsements of the book:

“Few if any [similar] books will be as pleasurable — and by that I mean as literate or as wickedly funny — as John Lanchester’s.”

“If you don’t know how derivatives or credit default swaps work, or what securitization is, or why futures are riskier than options, this is a book for you.”

“Mr. Lanchester’s history lesson is peppered with dead-on references to everything, including ‘Annie Hall,’ ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘The Wire,’ Hemingway and Jacques Derrida. He is effortlessly epigrammatical.”

I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay
John Lanchester
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2010-01-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1439169845 / 9781439169841

Best Biz Books

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

None of the titles on Time magazine’s list of the five best business books of the year will be a surprise.

More useful from a library standpoint is 1-800-CEO-READ’s Best Business Book Awards of 2009, because it includes books on practical subjects people are looking for these days, like how to run a small business, management and salesmanship (here’s a title that speaks to our times – How to Sell When Nobody’s Buying).

800-CEO-READ was founded as the corporate sales division of  the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops in Milwaukee. The retail stores were closed March 31, but CEO-READ continues to operate. They  run a monthly list of their top sellers and published The 100 Best Business Book of All Time this year.

Heavy Holds Alert: TOO BIG TO FAIL

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Andy Sorkin’s book about Lehman Brothers has been on the NYT Nonfiction Best Seller list for six weeks. Some libraries are showing holds ratios as high as 20:1. Holds are also heavy on the audio, where it is owned.

Expect them to rise even higher after Sorkin appears on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday.

Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves
Andrew Ross Sorkin
Retail Price: $32.95
Hardcover: 624 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2009-10-20)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021253 / 9780670021253

Penguin Audio; Unabridged; 9780143144991; #39.95

Blackstone Audio; Unabridged:

  • Cassette; 9781433297762; $72.95
  • MP3CD; 9781433297809; $29.95
  • CD; 9781433297779; $105

Book and audio downloadable from OverDrive