Overlooked titles from last year

Okay, come the new year, and it’s time to clear away the 2002 clutter. Sorry, my dear readers, your humble blogger got sidetracked for the last months of the year and couldn’t post anything at all. As my pirate friends say, argh.

So here’s a few quick thoughts. First off, to the more than 12,000 of you who visited this site last year, I thank you. Thanks so much for visiting, thanks for your interest and support. Please return this year, and often, and I’ll share the best that I can write. Most of you are in the process of starting a business, and care deeply about your venture. I wish you success in the year, and years, to come. I intend to share everything I can on this site over the next 12 months—and beyond—to help you in your venture. And in return, I have two requests. First, please tell a friend or three. And second, please buy my book, and ask others to do so….

As for other year-end (year-beginning) business: the months ran out before I got a chance to mention a few worthy business titles that received little or not enough attention. I’d like to give them a quick tout.

Perhaps the most interesting, useful, and original title on my list would be Intuition at Work from Gary Klein (Doubleday/Currrency.) Klein studies the way in which individuals, especially those in high-stake situations, make decisions. And his current book taps into this rich research to show how anyone can consciously, purposely, and effectively develop their gut instinct. Not an easy read, but well worth it.

Then there’s Our Modern Times: The New Nature of Capitalism in the Information Age by Daniel Cohen (MIT Press). This graceful essay by a French professor explores how technology continues to break down organizations and create new forms of work; and how we slowly and individually grapple with the implications.

While I rarely read investment books, I have to recommend The Detective and the Investor: Uncovering Investment Techniques from the Legendary Sleuths, by Robert Hagstsrom (Texere.) This title received some press, and deserved more. An extremely clever conceit by a fund manager/writer who shows what investors can learn from how great detectives solve mysteries. "Great detectives, in sum, outwit the criminal not because they work harder, not because they are luckier, not because they can run faster, hit harder, or shoot straighter, but because they think better."

Okay, we all have guilty pleasures. Mine, in the past year, had to be Bands, Brands, and Billions: My Top 10 Rules for Making Any Business Go Platinum by Lou Pearlman (McGraw-Hill.) Learn the rules from the guy who created the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and O-Town. Hear his side of the story. Pick up a few powerful if not very surprising lessons from a proven entrepreneur.

Reissue of the year: the Second Edition of A Basic Guide for Valuing A Company by Wilbur Yegge (Wiley.) I consider this among the top five books for entrepreneurs I’ve ever read, and this new, revised version, rings true.

Finally, two books in which friends had a hand. The Owner’s Guide to Personal Finance by Jill Andresky Fraser (Bloomberg) delivers more than it promises. While it appears to be a personal finance book, her smart guide also serves as a primer in financial strategy for entrepreneurs. And, A Stake In The Outcome: Building A Culture of Ownership for the Long-term Success of Your Company by Jack Stack with Bo Burlingham, was one of the liveliest and common sensiblest of year.

Posted by tom at January 2, 2003 02:51 PM
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