Five things to read: business disaster edition



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.


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.

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 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.

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.

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.”


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