The best business books of all time

There's never been a more compelling time to read about business and finance. Sean O'Grady picks the best books of the bunch, from timeless classics to the latest crop of credit crunch chronicles.

The Great Crash, J.K Galbraith

The late John Kenneth Galbraith's classic is enjoying another revival. It is pretty much the greatest book on economics ever written for the general reader and, after 54 years, is still in print. As the author said: "Each time it has been about to pass from bookstores, another speculative episode ... has stirred interest in the history of this, the great modern case of boom and collapse."

The crunch retold: Credit crisis reads

*Alex Brummer's The Crunch is an entertaining account of the origins of the crisis but misses out on most of the more recent collapses. The message of Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson's intelligent polemic The Gods That Failed is simple: "Markets are not magic; Debt is not freedom; The Gods have failed; It is time to live without them". The New Paradigm for Financial Markets by George Soros ends just before the more spectacular banking failures in the US. Robert Shiller's The Subprime Solution, Graham Turner's The Credit Crunch and Trillion Dollar Meltdown by Charles R Morris are almost out of date now. The Age of Turbulence, by Alan Greenspan, is best seen as the case for the defence by the man many see as principally to blame for our troubles. The answer to the question asked by Robert Peston in Who Runs Britain? and Who's to Blame for the Economic Mess We're in is obviously "Robert Peston", whose scoop on Northern Rock prompted the first run on a bank since 1866. Finally, the underlying values of Niall Ferguson's magisterial The Ascent of Money are looking a little sub-prime.

Capitalism Unleashed, Andrew Glyn

The antidote to capitalism, written by one of its best critics, who just happened to be a Marxist. An unconventional perspective, but a valuable one. Unlike many books on economics, this one by the late Andrew Glyn has charts that are blissfully self-explanatory and place the current crisis in a long historical context.

What management is, Joan Magretta

Magretta was an editor at the Harvard Business Review. She has a different style. A series of managerial super-anecdotes, this takes organisations such as Toyota, GE, Nasa and even the New York Police Department to illustrate the best, and worst, of management practice and does it unpretentiously.

Competitive Advantage, Michael E Porter

Penance for reading Hotel Babylon. For some years, this and its sister volumes on innovation and corporate strategy have been required reading for MBA students. Chapter headings such as "Coordinate offensive and defensive strategies against multipoint competitors" give you an idea of what fun can be had in business school.

When markets collide, Mohamed El-Erian

The winner of the 2008 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs business book of the year award is a definitive account of the much-chronicled rise of the emerging economies of China, India and the rest. A senior fund manager, he also throws in a little joke: "There are times that you worry about the return on your capital and times that you worry about the return of your capital."

Reminiscences of a stock operator, Edwin Lefevre

Back in 1923, Lefèvre, a journalist and novelist who dabbled successfully on the stock market, sought to tell the world about an effective Wall Street trader named Jesse Livermore, a pioneer of short selling (a still controversial and widely misunderstood practice today). Usually read with a view to making a buck, but, sadly, rarely of direct assistance in that endeavour.

Liar's poker, Michael Lewis

First published in 1989, these revelatory tales of Wall Street and the author's colourful career at Salomon Brothers still have the power to unsettle. It deserves to be read if only because it chronicles the birth of the "mortgage-backed security", a derivative with which we are all now only too familiar.

Hotel Babylon, Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous

Possibly the only sexy business book ever written. A change from the usual dry, theoretical approach to management studies, this real-world romp through the rooms earthily details each and every scam perpetrated by hotels on their customers – and vice versa.

The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Taleb tells you how to profit from uncertainty by making randomness – the black swan you meet when you thought all were white – your friend. He also seems to have the measure of the banking profession: "Bankers are not conservative at all. They are just phenomenally skilled at self-deception by burying the possibility of a large, devastating loss under the rug."

End of the road, Chris Brady and Andrew Lorenz

No other M&A "case study" is more educative in demonstrating the importance of brand than the BMW-Rover debacle, which still has the power to make one wince. Narrated grippingly well by Brady and Lorenz, it goes a long way to explaining why we don't make that many cars any more in this country.

Arts and Entertainment
Tate Modern chief Chris Dercon, who will be leaving to run a Berlin theatre company
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Tasos: 'I rarely refuse an offer to be photographed'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Girls on the verge of a nervous breakdown: Florence Pugh and Maisie Williams star in 'The Falling'
Arts and Entertainment
Legendary charm: Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in 2004’s ‘King Arthur’
FilmGuy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle the legend
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury


Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas


Arts and Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7


Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary


Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

    Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
    General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

    All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

    The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
    How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

    How Etsy became a crafty little earner

    The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
    Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

    King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

    Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

    The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
    Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

    Don't fear the artichoke

    Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
    11 best men's socks

    11 best men's socks

    Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
    Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

    Paul Scholes column

    Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
    Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
    London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

    Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

    Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

    Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
    Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

    Khorasan is back in Syria

    America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
    General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

    On the campaign trail with Ukip

    Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
    Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

    Expect a rush on men's tights

    Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
    Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

    In the driving seat: Peter Kay

    Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road