Book Lists

I like the lists of best books by genre that OpinionJournal does every week. Today's is on business books. It's nice to see that they paid proper homage to Peter Drucker, a man who had a big impact on my business education and life. Of course The Effective Executive (which tops the Journal's list) is his most famous. But my favorite has always been Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Any of his top five books are very much worth the read.

But I can't see how they left Alfred Sloan's My Years at General Motors off the list. It is the consummate business biography with more lessons on how to run a business than most all other business books put together. Sloan was a natural writer whose direct and straight forward style is perfect for matter of fact business types. And of course, he built the country's greatest company of the 20th century.

Max Boot recently did a similar type of post on military memoirs at the contentions blog. He recommended Goodbye Darkness by William Manchester and Good-bye to All That by Robert Graves. I haven't read the Graves book, but Goodbye Darkness is a fine book, by far Manchester's best. Manchester himself may have been a bit preachy and way to liberal for my tastes, but he was a true patriot and in "Darkness" he put politics aside and wrote from the heart.

However with all due respect to Mr. Boot, With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge is a far superior memoir. It describes war as seen by the common soldier (or in Sledge's case, Marine) better than any other book in American letters. Sledge wrote the book in the last years of his life for his family. It is at times hard to read, but it is also truly enthralling. It has special meaning to me because my dad fought with Sledge in the Battle for Sugarloaf Hill on Okinawa.

Finally, OpionionJournal did a list of spy novels a while back. I'd read only a few of the books, but I agree with the fellow who commented:

For my money, few have improved on the first spy novel, "Riddle of the Sands".

"Riddle" is a must read for anyone who likes military history, sailing and "buddy" stories. And it was written by one of history's more interesting figures.



8:57 AM

Haven't read any of them, but I, too, like those lists. OpJournal once published a list of the best comic novels. I seized on "Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House" and had a ball with it.

When I was a graduate student at Wesleyan, Manchester still had an office in the Olin Library, where he wrote and occasionally ventured out to teach a class.

My stepfather was a huge fan of Manchester's and asked if I could get him to sign some of his books, including Death of a President.

Manchester was very willing and gracious. But seeing the condition of his office I remember wondering how he could get any work done in there. Papers and books stacked everywhere and even a half-eaten sandwich on a shelf.


12:05 PM

The Irish writer John Banville's " The Untouchable " is a good read if a spy novel's what you're looking for. Fiction based on fact about the gaggle of spies recruited in thge 20s fm: U.K's Cambridge University.