to Read a Business Book
business books have become best-sellers, but few have had an enduring
impact on the conduct of business. These 10 titles, listed chronologically,
are must-reads for anyone who wants to understand how business
management has evolved to what it is today.
The Theory of Business Enterprise by Thorstein Veblen (1904).
Probably the first book to address management as a legitimate
field of study; surprisingly modern.
The Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick W.
Taylor (1911). The definitive work on creating efficient companies
from the bottom up.
General and Industrial Management by Henri Fayol (1916).
Defined the role of the CEO and how the CEO could create efficient
companies from the top down.
Economy and Society by Max Weber (1922). The argument for
bureaucracy as an optimal organizational scheme.
The Functions of the Executive by Chester I. Barnard (1948).
His concepts (though not his writing style) read even better today
than they did in his time.
The Practice of Management by Peter F. Drucker (1954).
A must-read for understanding this guru's synoptic (not to be
confused with syntopic) view of management.
The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor (1960).
Building on Abraham Maslow's psychological hierarchy of needs,
this is the seminal work on Theories X and Y of how to manage
Strategy and Structure by Alfred D. Chandler (1962). A
monumental analysis of business histories, leading to his inferences
about the interplay between business structure and strategy.
Competitive Strategy by Michael E. Porter (1980). A valuable
application of industrial organization theory to business strategy.
In Search of Excellence by Thomas J. Peters and Robert
H. Waterman Jr. (1982). Overwhelming popularity makes it a must-read,
even if only to see what all the fuss was about.
a Supplemental Syllabus.
to Read a Business Book.