WHAT'S NEW - in Business History

New titles are added almost every day. The categories may vary significantly but the topics are always interesting and enlightening. No book is listed prior to its release.


COMING in '08: Mitsubishi; Farmers and Merchants Bank (LA); Harvard Business School; Gucci, National Enquirer.

In the News

2007 Business Book of the Year (Financial Times Goldman Sachs)  

(Lazard LLC), William D. Cohan (2007). The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Freres & Co. (New York, NY: Doubleday, 752 p.). Six Years at Lazard Frères, Later Managing Director at JP Morgan Chase. Lazard Freres & Co.--History; Banks and banking--New York (State)--New York--History; Bankers--New York (State)--New York--Biography; Banks and banking--France--History; Bankers--France--Biography. Portrait of Wall Street through tumultuous history of this company - from its origins in 1848 in New Orleans, LA as a dry goods store through its dominant personalities (Andre Mayer, Felix Rohatyn, Michel David-Well, Steve Rattner, Bruce Wasserstein) and controversial 2005 initial public offering. Judges believed the book provided "the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues," in keeping with the goal of the award (30,000 pounds).

Save P

(source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, via Haver Analytics; shaded areas = recessions)

Broadcasting - Magna Global (Interpublic Group's media services division) reported that median age of TV viewers watching 5 networks live is 50 = first time (CBS - 54; ABC - 50, NBC - 49, Fox - 44). Those below 50 choose the Internet and other forms. Traditional television no longer the first 'screen' seen by younger people.


 Donald N. Thompson (2008). The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art. (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 272 p.). Teaches Marketing, Economics in the MBA program at Schulich School of Business (York University in Toronto). Art, Modern --20th century --Economic aspects; Art, Modern --21st century --Economic aspects; Art --Marketing --History --20th century; Art --Marketing --History --21st century; Art --Collectors and collecting --Psychological aspects. Economics, psychology of contemporary art world; why record prices achieved at auction for works by 131 contemporary artists in 2006, new heights reached in 2007?; money, lust, self-aggrandizement of art world in attempt to determine what makes particular work valuable while others ignored; economics, marketing strategies that enable modern art market to generate astronomical prices.

Agribusiness. (Beef), Andrew Rimas and Evan D.G. Fraser. Beef: The Story of Cattle, Culture, and Civilization OR The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World. (New York, NY: Morrow, 256 p.). Managing Editor (The Improper Bostonian); Senior Lecturer; Senior Lecturer: Sustainable Development (University of Leeds). Cattle --History. Cow - source of food, means of labor, economic resource, inspiration for art, religious icon; how it became more factory product than animal; from powerful auroch, once revered as mystical totem, to dairy cows of 17th Century Holland, to frozen meat patties, growth hormones today; panoramic view of cow's long, colorful history.

Entertainment. (Warner Bros.), Richard Schickel and George Perry (2008). You Must Remember This: The Warner Brothers Story. (Philadelphia, PA: Running Press, 480 p.). Film Critic (Time magazine); Film Critic. Warner, Harry Morris, 1881-1978; Warner, Jack L., 1892-1978; Warner Bros. Pictures--History. Fully authorized history of studio in connection with its 85th anniversary of screen icons, legendary films, history-making achievements; companion to five part documentary in PBS American Masters series by author Richard Schickel.

Warner Brothers  - L-F from top: Jack, Albert, Sam, Harry (

Internet. (Google), Randall Stross (2008). Planet Google: How One Company’s All-Encompassing Vision Is Transforming Our Lives OR One Company's Audacious Plan To Organize Everything We Know. (New York, NY: Free Press, 288 p.). Columnist (New York Times). Google (Firm); Internet industry --United States --History; Web search engines --United States --History. Audacious vision for future, consequences for business world, culture at large; strategy behind company's bold moves, all driven by pursuit of business plan to become indispensable gatekeeper of all world's information, one-stop destination for all information needs; 68% of all Web searches, profits that are the envy of business world, surplus of talent; in recent years - has launched new services, advanced into whole new businesses (introductions of controversial Book Search, Google Earth, bidding for slice of wireless-phone spectrum, purchasing YouTube for $1.65 billion); has taken direct aim at Microsoft's core business; offered free e-mail, software from word processing to spreadsheets and calendars; pushed transformative (disruptive) concept known as "cloud computing" (users will increasingly store all of their data on Google's massive servers); more offerings Google adds, more ubiquitous its presence, more dependent its users become on its services, more information they contribute to its uniquely comprehensive collection of data.

Sergi Brin and Larry Page - Founders, Google  ( 

Publishing. (Viking Press), Al Silverman (2008). The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Book Publishers, Their Editors, and Authors. (New York, NY: Truman Talley Books,, 512 p.). 1972 - CEO of Book of the Month Club, president and editor-in-chief of The Viking Press. Publishers and publishing --United States --History --20th century; Authors and publishers --United States --History --20th century; Publishers and publishing --United States --Biography; Book editors --United States --Biography. 1946 - late 1970s, early 1980s - period in publishing that was good, formed distinguishing landmark of culture in American life; editors published to their tastes; more than 120 of most notable heads of houses, editors, publishers of this time shared many never-before told stories about how most important books in postwar America came into being, still being read today.

Wall Street - Capitalists & Financiers. (Buffett), Alice Schroeder (2008). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. (New York, NY: Bantam Dell, 976 p.). Former Morgan Stanley Insurance Analyst. Buffett, Warren; Capitalists and financiers --United States --Biography; Investments --United States. Portrait of Buffett's life, values, strategies, total experiences; array of paradoxes; perfectionist, highly focused, emotionally needy husband, absentee father; treated investors as partners, acted as their steward, championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, speaker; became world’s richest man; his larger philosophy, his principles, ideas that have enriched people’s lives.

Warren Buffett ( media/moreon/b/buffett_warren.jpg)



Blunders & Failures.
Paul B. Carroll, Chunka Mui (2008). Billion-Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years. (New York, NY: Portfolio, 320 p.). Former Reporter (The Wall Street Journal); Former Chief Innovation Officer at Diamond Management and Technology Consultants. Business failures; Management. Lessons from managements of companies that lost millions (if not billions) in pursuit of strategies that led to big losses; most significant failures of last 25 years: 750 bankruptcies, major writeoffs, discontinued operations; #1 cause of failure was misguided strategy (not sloppy execution, lack of leadership, bad luck); categories of strategies: 1) synergy, 2) financial engineering, 3) rollups, 4) staying the course, 5) adjacencies, 6) riding technology, 7) consolidation.

Ethics. Matthew Bishop and Michael Green (2008). Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, and Why We Should Let Them. (New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 272 p.). Chief Business Writer of the Economist; Expert on the Relationship Between Government and the Nongovernmental Sector. Social responsibility of business; Businesspeople --Conduct of life; Philanthropists; Humanitarianism. How capitalism's winners are using vast fortunes to change world by giving away billions of dollars; small group of people who will change enormous number of lives; new generation of billionaires reshaping way they give €" like business; use big-business-style strategies, expect results and accountability; new movement, its implications; how web of wealthy, motivated donors has set out to change world; may be greatest force for societal change in world, source of political controversy.

Entrepreneurship.  Sam Wyly (2008). 1,000 Dollars and an Idea: How an Inspired American Entrepreneur Built a Billion-Dollar Fortune. (New York, NY: Newmarket Press, 256 p.). Wyly, Sam; Businessmen--United States--Biography; Entrepreneurship--United States--Biography; Billionaires--United States--Biography. Thought processes, relationships, financial machinations behind building diverse businesses over last four decades; 1963 - risked $1,000 of savings to found first "computer utility" company in business world; 1965 - took University Computing Company public, became instant millionaire; waged successful anti-monopoly battle against AT&T (built "telephone highway" for computers); grew modest Bonanza Steak House chain ("inherited" as the result of bad debt) to 600 outlets, sold it for huge profit; created new systems software company, Sterling Software (sold for $4 billion); 2000 - sold Sterling Commerce to AT&T for $4 billion; expanded small arts-and-crafts chain Michaels Stores from 10 to 1,000 stores (sold for $6 billion in 2006); founded Green Mountain Energy (largest, most profitable green business in country).


Crises - Financial. David Smick (2008). The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy. (New York, NY: Portfolio, 272 p.). Johnson Smick International, Inc. International finance; Financial crises; Globalization --Economic aspects; International economic relations. Global liquidity crisis. How today’s risky environment came to be, why mortgage mess is symptom of potentially far more devastating trouble; how bad could things really get in today’s volatile economy? what can we do about it?; why China (next great bubble to burst) represents powerful threat to everyone’s pocketbook; how Japanese housewives have taken control of their nation’s savings, why it matters; how greed-driven bankers, investment bankers have put everyone’s pensions and 401(k)s at risk; why today’s "incredible shrinking central banks" may not be able to save us when next crisis hits; why big-money Russian, Chinese, Saudi, Dubai sovereign wealth funds represent tectonic shift in global financial power, away from United States, Europe, Japan; why world desperately needs "big think" financial doctrine to guide today’s dangerous ocean of money.  



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