John Daly rounds up the best and most informative business, management, and financial books of the year
Peter Casey, an instantly recognisable face in Ireland as a member of Dragons’ Den, can now add successful writer to his list of accomplishments. The Derry native sparked a bidding war in India with his first book, Tata: The World’s Greatest Company. It was released by Ballpoint Publishing in Ireland this month.
Tata Group, owner of Jaguar and British Steel among many others, is run by one of the richest men in the country, Cyrus Mistry.
“There is simply no other major business on Earth like the Tata Group — a company whose bottom line every time is doing the right thing for society,” Casey says.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century — Thomas Piketty
An unexpected bestseller, Thomas Piketty attempts to define the rhythms that drive the distribution of capital — and all in nearly 700 pages. By analysing accumulated information from 20 countries dating as far back as the 18th century, it reveals the interconnection between social and financial patterns in wealth and inequality. Piketty demonstrates how modern economic growth has allowed the world to avoid the massive inequalities predicted by Karl Marx, and identifies the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth as one of the main culprits helping to stir discontent.
Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises — Tim Geithner
Former US treasury secretary Tim Geithner was one of the most controversial White House figures during the financial crisis, frequently accused of being too close to Wall Street. His book, however, prompted good reviews from impeccable sources.
“He’s written a really good book — we might as well get that out of the way,” says writer Michael Lewis. “On his feet, he might have stammered and wavered. That, in itself, was always a sign he was unusually brave.”
Warren Buffett adds: “Sensational. Tim’s book will forever be the definitive work on what causes financial panics and what must be done to stem them when they occur.”
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt — Michael Lewis
In his latest book, bestselling author Michael Lewis returns to Wall Street to tell the entrancing tale about how a small group of inside operators set about trying to change habits at the heart of the financial system.
Working in different firms to begin with, a disparate group of financial whiz kids — the Flash Boys — set out to reform this corrupt system, all of them working towards a unified goal without personal gain.
With his customary skill at prising the lid off darkened corners of the financial system, Lewis introduces the reader to Wall Street brains far removed from the standard perception of indulged and greedy vultures. Ultimately an uplifting read, despite exposing a system rigged to benefit a select group of market-makers, the book throws light upon a few heroic people who set out to do the right thing.
Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s latest effort is the story of the brains behind the IT age. Who were the people who created the computer and the internet, and where did they acquire the talents to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? Isaacson travels back as far as Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. Add to that the unusual pantheon of 20th century visionaries such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, Doug Engelbart, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Tim Berners-Lee, Larry Page, and, of course, Steve Jobs, and you have plenty of insight into how some gigantic egos managed to collaborate in an era of creativity that changed the world.
#Girlboss — Sophia Amoruso
“I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”
As you might have gathered, Sophia Amoruso is all about youth and guts. After a teenage life spent hitchhiking, with frequent bouts of petty theft and dumpster-diving, she found herself at 22, broke, directionless, and working a mediocre job. Deciding on a whim to start selling vintage clothes on eBay, eight years later, she is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Nasty Gal, a $100m-plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees.
This is a book of killer lines aimed at an audience hanging keenly on her every word. “You are not a special snowflake,” she points out, adding venomously that “failure is your invention”.
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