Business Narratives

By Terry Ratoff

Highly readable accounts of recent business scandals, investigations, meltdowns, plant closings, new product developments, and the occasional happy development.

  • Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age

    2017 by Berlin, Leslie

    "A narrative history of the Silicon Valley generation that launched five major high-tech industries in seven years details the specific contributions of seven technical pioneers and how they established the foundation for today's tech-driven world."—Publisher

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  • American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road

    2017 by Bilton, Nick

    "The unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom—and almost got away with it."—Publisher

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  • The Spider Network: The Wild Story of A Math Genius, A Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History

    2017 by Enrich, David

    "A Wall Street Journal business reporter unveils the story of how math genius Tom Hayes, his associates, and a deeply corrupt banking system ignited one of the greatest financial scandals in history."—Publisher

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  • Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination

    2017 by Lashinsky, Adam

    "Traces the story of Uber's meteoric rise: from its murky origins to its plans for expansion into radically different industries. The company has already poached entire departments from top research universities in a push to build the first self-driving car and possibly replace the very drivers it's worked so hard to recruit. With access to current and former employees, as well as CEO Travis Kalanick, this book will be the first to unlock Uber's vault. It's a story that start-up founders, business executives, tech-savvy readers, and drivers and riders will find riveting"—Publisher.

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  • Janesville: An American Story

    2017 by Goldstein, Amy

    "A Washington Post reporter's intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors' assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin—Paul Ryan's hometown—and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class. "—Provided by publisher

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  • Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change

    2017 by Pao, Ellen K.

    "The co-founder of the diversity nonprofit Project Include shares the story behind her landmark 2015 lawsuit against powerhouse venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins, exploring what her case and refusal to settle revealed about Silicon Valley discrimination."—Publisher

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  • The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone

    2017 by Merchant, Brian

    "Describes how the inception of the iPhone has transformed society and skyrocketed Apple to the most valuable company in the world, detailing how the most current technological advances have become inseparable to everyday life."—Publisher

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  • The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek

    2017 by Markel, Howard

    "…Markel delves into the contentious relationship between two highly accomplished brothers, exploring their impact on American culture… Though they worked together for years, John Harvey Kellogg, founder of Michigan's Battle Creek Sanitarium, and Will Keith Kellogg, a pioneer in the breakfast-cereal industry, spent much of their lives feuding, both in and out of court. Yet as Markel points out, 'The lives and times of the Kellogg brothers afford a superb window through which we can view vast changes in social mores, belief systems, lifestyles, diets, health, science, medicine, public health, philanthropy, education, business, mass advertising, and food manufacturing as they evolved in the United States.'"—Publisher’s Weekly

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  • Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine A Better Future for Everyone

    2017 by Nadella, Satya

    "Microsoft's CEO tells the inside story of the company's continuing transformation, tracing his own personal journey from a childhood in India to leading some of the most significant technological changes in the digital era."—Publisher

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  • A Truck Full of Money

    2016 by Kidder, Tracy

    "Like Paul Farmer in Mountains Beyond Mountains, Paul English grew up poor, in working-class Boston, but as Tracy Kidder writes, he had 'a mind for the age that was coming.' Brilliant, reckless, endlessly energetic, Paul English, after Kayak sold for $2 billion, asked himself: What comes next? Start another company? Use his new wealth to make a difference in the world? With a riveting, page-turning narrative and unmatched storytelling skill, Kidder casts a fresh and critical eye on how new technologies and start-ups, new money, are reshaping our culture."—Publisher

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  • Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built

    2016 by Clark, Duncan

    "Traces the founding of Alibaba, the world's second largest Internet company, by an English teacher from humble origins, drawing on exclusive interviews to explore how the company and Jack Ma have become icons and leading employers in China's booming private sector."—Publisher

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  • Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice

    2015 by Browder, Bill

    "In 2005, Browder, an investment manager, had made a fortune investing in post-Soviet Russia. The author describes in a breezy, conversational style how he antagonized Russian oligarchs who attempted to thwart his company's investments. He then ran afoul of the Russian government when his tax attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered tax fraud committed by Russian officials. After this, Browder says that the government arrested Magnitsky and murdered him. Russia attempted to have Interpol arrest Browder via a 'Red Notice,'an international arrest warrant, but several countries have refused to honor it. Through Browder's efforts, the United States enacted the Magnitsky Act in 2012, which imposed visa and banking restrictions on Russian officials implicated in human rights abuses."—Library Journal

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  • Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

    2013 by Bilton, Nick

    "Twitter seems like a perfect start-up success story. In barely six years, a small group of young, ambitious programmers in Silicon Valley built an $11.5 billion business out of the ashes of a failed podcasting company. Today Twitter boasts more than 200 million active users and has affected business, politics, media, and other fields in innumerable ways. Now Nick Bilton of the New York Times takes readers behind the scenes with a narrative that shows what happened inside Twitter as it grew at exponential speeds."—Publisher

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  • Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, An American Icon

    2011 by MacIntosh, Julie

    "Julie Macintosh details how the drama that unfolded at Anheuser-Busch in 2008 went largely unreported as the world tumbled into a global economic crisis second only to the Great Depression. Today, as the dust settles, questions are being asked about how the 'King of Beers' was so easily captured by a foreign corporation, and whether the company's fall mirrors America's dwindling financial and political dominance."—Publisher

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  • Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

    2010 by Hsieh, Tony

    "The CEO of the successful online shoe retailer Zappos explains how he used the science of happiness to deliver contentment to his employees, customers, investors and vendors; how this led to stellar sales; and how his principles can be applied to other companies and entrepreneurs."—Publisher

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  • Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street

    2010 by Lewis, Michael

    "The author recounts his experiences on the lucrative Wall Street bond market of the 1980s, where young traders made millions in a very short time, in a humorous account of greed and epic folly."—Publisher

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  • Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

    2009 by Burrough, Bryan

    "...A #1 New York Times bestseller and arguably the best business narrative ever written, Barbarians at the Gate is the classic account of the fall of RJR Nabisco. An enduring masterpiece of investigative journalism by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, it includes a new afterword by the authors that brings this remarkable story of greed and double-dealings up to date twenty years after the famed deal."—Publisher

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  • House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street

    2009 by Cohan, William D.

    "William D. Cohan's superb and shocking narrative chronicles the fall of Bear Stearns and the end of the Second Gilded Age on Wall Street, explaining how a combination of risky bets, corporate political infighting, lax government regulations and truly bad decision-making wrought havoc on the world financial system."—Publisher

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  • The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

    2006 by Levinson, Marc

    "Economist Levinson… explains how the advent of the shipping container in the mid-1950s was a radical break from the labor-intensive loading and transport of loose cargo by trucks, railroads, and break-bulk ships. Levinson demonstrates how, despite strong opposition from longshoremen, transportation companies, and government regulators, the economic advantages of containerization won out in the end and how, as a result, the shipping industry, port cities, and whole national economies have been transformed. Levinson presents a clear, comprehensive history of the now-ubiquitous shipping container while highlighting its crucial economic role in global interconnectivity."—Library Journal

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  • The Smartest Guys in the Room

    2010 by McLean, Bethany

    "The definitive volume on Enron's amazing rise and scandalous fall, from an award-winning team of Fortune investigative reporters."—Publisher

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  • The Soul of A New Machine

    2000 by Kidder, Tracy

    "Pulitzer Prize winner Kidder's 1981 volume was published when mini-supercomputers were still the stuff of science fiction. How the world has turned. Though technology has grown immeasurably since then, this volume still serves as an interesting history of the machine that conquered the world."—Library Journal

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  • The Informant: A True Story

    2000 by Eichenwald, Kurt

    "...A page-turning real-life thriller that features deadpan FBI agents, crooked executives, idealistic lawyers, and shady witnesses with an addiction to intrigue, The Informant tells an important and compelling story of power and betrayal in America."—Publisher

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  • When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management

    2000 by Lowenstein, Roger

    "This is a marvelous, unauthorized chronicle of the rise, fall, and re-emergence of Long-Term Capital Management, a private hedge fund that in September 1998 benefited from a Federal Reserve-orchestrated $3.6 billion bailout. Based primarily on interviews with key players from the six banks that participated in the rescue of the firm..."—Publisher

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  • Den of Thieves

    2013 by Stewart, James B.

    "Den of Thieves tells the full story of the insider-trading scandal that nearly destroyed Wall Street, the men who pulled it off, and the chase that finally brought them to justice. Pulitzer Prize-winner James B. Stewart shows for the first time how four of the eighties' biggest names on Wall Street-Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, and Dennis Levine -created the greatest insider-trading ring in financial history and almost walked away with billions, until a team of downtrodden detectives triumphed over some of America's most expensive lawyers to bring this powerful quartet to justice. "—Publisher

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  • The Devil's Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood

    1991 by Salamon, Julie

    “Salamon, film critic for The Wall Street Journal , was given seemingly unlimited and early entree to the production of Brian De Palma's film version of Tom Wolfe's novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. …Although the film was a colossal failure, for reasons which Salamon makes very clear, the book is an eminently readable success.”—Library Journal

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