All these books cover some kind of business or financial disaster. For some reason this is one of my favorite types of book to read. Lots to learn here, not only for business people, but anyone who hopes to recognize disasters before they happen, and maybe get out of the way.
- Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
The tale of RJR Nabisco, and how the voracious appetite of Wall Street (and the CEO of Nabisco) brought down a once great company. This is a tale so messy, that in the end, no one walks away the victor.
- When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long Term Capital Management by Roger Lowenstein
I love this story because it makes clear how flawed even the smartest people can be. Two nobel prize winning economist were on board a hedge fund that pitched itself to investors as being bulletproof, and the celebrity of not only the economists, but the star traders, blinded people the
- Smartest Guys In The Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
Smartest Guys in the Room is one of my favorite books on business disasters. It covers the whole gamut of dysfunction that I see as rampant in the American work place. A shark-tank workplace. Religious-like advocacy of deregulation.
- The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
If you have seen the movie, you have gotten the full story. A masterfully crafted narrative that describes in detail how the housing bubble came to be, and how it was discovered. If you are ever wondering how a bubble is created, or what it looks like before it pops, this is a book to read.
- Fool’s Gold by Gillian Tett
Tett, a reporter for the Financial Times, chronicals how a financial innovation that was meant to spread risk around to those who could handle it (an innocent, if not valuable thing to do) turned into what Warren Buffett would call “weapons of mass destruction.”