For those looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer or gift for under the tree, here are five approved by Santa himself.
A Very Merrill Christmas: Anyone who works for one of the big Bay Street brokerage houses will want to read this book written by Winthrop H. Smith, Jr., son of one of the co-founders of Merrill Lynch, and a long-time employee of the company.
Highly entertaining, not to mention informative, it gives the reader an inside look at how one of America’s great businesses was built including Charles Merrill’s foray into the grocery business.
WP puts this book at the top of the list because we’ll be interviewing Smith when he visits Toronto at the end of January. We look forward to sitting down with Smith and discussing his views on Merrill Lynch, both good and bad.
Until then, get yourself a copy of Catching Lightning in a Bottle, and enjoy the story. It’s a good one.
Factory Man: This is the story of Bassett, Virginia, a tiny little town that’s been pumping out furniture since 1902. It also retells a family feud involving several generations of the Bassett family. But these are just the appetizers.
The real story, as told by veteran journalist Beth Macy, is about John Bassett III’s quest to save hundreds of jobs by refusing to offshore his company’s furniture production.
Part biography, part history lesson, part case study — Factory Man does a great job detailing the demise of U.S. furniture manufacturing as well as one man’s Herculean eforts to save a company.
A Jailbird Sings: A Canadian non-fiction bestseller, Rise to Greatness: The History of Canada from the Vikings to the Present, is Conrad Black’s look at how we were formed as a nation.
It’s more a book about political history than anything, and certainly not a business book, nonetheless, it’s written by a man that’s spent his fair share of time in the business spotlight.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re a Conrad Black devotee, you’ll probably want to pick it up. It’s good Canadian content.
The Virgin Way: Few billionaires are as interesting as Richard Branson, the man behind the Virgin Group, one of Britain’s most successful collection of companies.
His latest book, The Virgin Way, tackles the issue of leadership, something lacking in many of today’s large corporations. Branson, a born entrepreneur, likes to have fun at work; this book outlines everything he’s learned about leadership over his more forty years operating businesses.
Branson himself has never read a book about leadership so if you’re looking for some professorial dissertation, this isn’t it, which makes it the perfect book at this time of year.
An Economist’s View: Likely one of the most controversial business books to come down the pike in quite awhile, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, examines wealth, inequality and the distribution of capital.
Using economic history along with data from twenty countries dating back as far as the eighteenth century, Piketty’s book sets the stage for future discussions about wealth and inequality.
If you’re looking for a thought provoking book to put under the tree this year, Piketty’s is absolutely the right choice.