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Business Book Humiliations

Sally Haldorson

August 03, 2010

Penguin's Portfolio imprint specializes in business books, and their Portfolio Javelin blog ("Business, Business Books, and the Business of Books") is a great read for any of us business book geeks. Yesterday, Will Weisser, Vice President and Associate Editor of Portfolio, wrote an entry inspired by a post in the Guardian's blog in which the author, Robert McCrum, confessed, despite his education and exposure to great books, that he had never read Middlemarch by George Eliot (if you too have not read Middlemarch, I highly recommend remedying that this summer--it's one of my favorites. ) McCrum then invites readers to share their book humiliations by listing the books that they regret never having read.

Penguin's Portfolio imprint specializes in business books, and their Portfolio Javelin blog ("Business, Business Books, and the Business of Books") is a great read for any of us business book geeks. Yesterday, Will Weisser, Vice President and Associate Editor of Portfolio, wrote an entry inspired by a post in the Guardian's blog in which the author, Robert McCrum, confessed, despite his education and exposure to great books, that he had never read Middlemarch by George Eliot (if you too have not read Middlemarch, I highly recommend remedying that this summer--it's one of my favorites.) McCrum then invites readers to share their book humiliations by listing the books that they regret never having read. In his post, Weisser agrees to play along, but specifies that he has "focused on the business category for 15 years but still haven't read some of the most acclaimed and influential business books, the ones we use as benchmarks and role models." Weisser's list of regrets: Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman The Innovator's Dilemma by Clay Christensen Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove Why We Buy by Paco Underhill The HP Way by David Packard Then he was kind enough to mention our book, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, as a great resource for determining which books you've missed out on. (When preparing the "lost chapter" of The 100 Best, we added Barbarians at the Gate by Burrough and Helyar, and it would be the perfect book to take on vacation yet this summer.) Intrigued by this challenge, I posed the question to Jack, our in-house encyclopedia of business books, what Business Book Humiliations he may still have. He replied that Michael Porter (author of Competitive Advantage and Competitive Strategy comes to mind. Personal History by Katharine Graham was Dylan's choice. If I had to choose one, it would be Men and Women of the Corporation by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. What's your business book humiliation, the one business book you most regret never having read?

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