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March 22, 2006



Great Call on Freakonomics
Steven Levitt calls himself a genius rogue economist, his "open minded ideas" remind me of thoughts that would creep into the head of anyone sitting down in front of the FOX NEWS with a bong and a couple beers.

Andrew Schmitt

One Billion Customers by James McGregor. Excellent case studies of doing business in China. Plus it's entertaining. Anyone who has done extensive work there will read it and shake their head "yeah, that happened to ne".

Amazon link:

Agree on "The World Is Flat". He also falls into the revenue based trade deficit issue rather than profit based deficit, though I guess to some that is a matter of opinion. Business books that feel the need to invent a new analogy are a little silly.... The 'Waterfalls' you talk about in Running Money were the only thing I didn't enjoy about the book.

Another good read is Empire of Wealth, by John Steele Gordon. Each chapter covers a pivotal economic event in the history of the US. Good financial historcal fiction can be more valuable than forward looking books.

Amazon link:

Ben Casnocha

"Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer -- about fundamentalist Mormonism but teaches any business person a lot about belief systems.

"The Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker -- awesome, about nature vs. nurture and cog science.

I agree that business books mostly suck, and you can often learn more from non-business books.

-Ben Casnocha
Entrepreneur, Writer, High School Student



Conspiracy of Fools, about the Enron debacle. Reminds one how screwed up even apparently successful companies can be; how incompetent even apparently successful executives can be; and how cold-blooded ruthless and dishonest people can be.

There Must Be a Pony In Here Somewhere, about Time-Warner's horrible purchase of AOL. Same lessons as Conspiracy of Fools, though lighter on the dishonesty.

Disney Wars: Same lessons, though this one illustrates how shockingly childish execs can be. No reason, really, to read all three since the keep reinforcing the same points, but all are well written & interesting.

When Genius Failed, about the Long Term Capital Management meltdown. Reminds us of the danger of hubris, and also illustrate tremendous leverage available in derivatives.

Andy - I listened to all these using Any chance your books will be available there? (In my case, you will not lose a customer as I've purchased (but not yet read) all of your books).

Chris Yeh

It's out of print, but "The Entrepreneur's Manual" by Richard White is the best book on entrepreneurship there is.

If you can't find a copy, let me know, and I'll loan you mine.


How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market

From what I gather about 'Blink' (not having read it), this book deals more comprehensively with the pre-conscious nature of many consumer decisions. The first part of the book covers the cognition studies at the foundation of Zaltman's consumer theory, studies whose implications provoke thought well beyond customers and markets.


Don't overlook "Thirteen Days" by Robert Kennedy & Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Best case study on negotiation, brinksmanship, and crisis management. Reads even better knowing how history turned out.


bad call on the freakonomics... sure it may not be a good book for investing, but its a great book for economics, and breathes some life into what kinds of problems one can solve with economics... in this case pop <> bad


Reminiscenes of a Stock Operator. by edwin Lefevre


* World is Flat - Was fast start, tough sloggin middle, and good ending. Will be interesting how the outsourcing experiment works out in next decade. I liked the discussion of possible political problems caused by the new wealth in China/India via outsourcing
* Freakanomics -- I really like the discussion of "tournaments". It amazing how many places this scenario applies
* Battele's book on Search/Google was a great review of an important industry.
* Broadbandits and Bull are mandatory reading for any tech exec/middle manager. Each of these books reminded me of how small the tech world is ( it is definitely 1-degree of separation) and how "ridiculous" very smart people can be ...
* Fun --- I would add any PG Wodehouse book as an interlude to all the seriousness ;-)
* Family --- And since we're supposed to have a life -- Joan Didion's Year of Magical thinking ... Just read it ...

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