The best business books of 2010

Covers of the best business books of 2010


KAI RYSSDAL: There's nothing -- nothing -- more boring than a straight-ahead business book. Take it from us, we know. That's why you won't find any of them in this next segment, in which some of our regular commentators share their business-related books of the year.

FELIX SALMON: I'm Felix Salmon. I'm a blogger at Reuters and I loved reading "The Big Short" this year by Michael Lewis. It's the most compellingly readable of all of the finance books. This is a man who really knows how to write in a way that most journalists just simply don't. And so you tear through it and it doesn't feel like homework in the way that most of these other books do.

JUSTIN FOX: I'm Justin Fox, editorial director of the Harvard Business Review Group. And my favorite business book of the year, it's called "Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class" by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson. It's this unbelievably well-done, well-researched, mostly convincing look at the political forces over the past 35 years that, according to Hacker and Pierson -- and I think I mostly believe them -- have led to more economic inequality in the United States.

PADMASREE WARRIOR: Hi, I'm Padmasree Warrior. I'm the chief technology officer for Cisco. My favorite business book for this past year is a book called "Delivering Happiness" written by Tony Hsieh. Tony is the CEO of Zappos. What I really liked about the book is the way he talks about culture in an organization being the primary driver for business success. It's very easy to read and it's actually like reading a story.

TYLER COWEN: Hi, I'm Tyler Cowen at George Mason University. This year, my favorite business book was Nicholas Phillipson's biography of Adam Smith. It showed that Smith is still the greatest economist of all time, wise about human nature, and that he understands the power of capitalism.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: I'm Gustavo Arellano. I'm the managing editor for The OC Weekly and I'm also author of the syndicated column, "Ask A Mexican." And my favorite business book for 2010 -- it's called "The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook" by Robb Walsh. It tracks the history of the business of Tex-Mex cuisine. It tells us why all of us drink Cadillac Margaritas during our happy hours, why we eat nachos at the ballpark, even a chapter about the transnational over-inflation of the fajitas market during the 1980s. And if you're a cook, a lot of great recipes.

HEIDI MOORE: Hi, I'm Heidi Moore. I write for the New York Times' DealBook and my favorite book of the year is Greg Farrell's "Crash of the Titans" because every page has some new, eye-popping anecdote that shows the titans of the financial world at their absolute worst and sometimes even at their best. I would highly recommend it to anybody who wants to understand how these deals can go wrong in a very human way.

RYSSDAL: Just in time for the holidays, we've got a whole new book section on our website called, "The Big Book." Check it out, share your recommendations, and see my top five list by reading my blog post.

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One of the better books I have read this year is The Principles of Fighting by Robert Sweet. Sweet shows that many of the "great men" of history attained their objects in part by fighting, the principles those men followed, why we must sometimes fight, the degree to which Bill Gates followed Napoleon's strategies and tactics, and so on. What I most like about Sweet's book, perhaps, is that he shows what these men really did to succeed -- which is, of course, often quite different from what they say they did...

All of the books that market place puts on the spot light never ever disappoint me. However, it seems to me that the only hispanic you have keeps ambarrasing me as a hispanic. On the best "business" books of the year Gustavo Arellano and his Tex-mex food thing is the last thing I need it to hear from him. Hispanics have been hit the harderst by the ressecion with so many construction jobs gone for good and Mr. Arellano has focused all of his reading attention on Tex-mex food. Mr Arellano we don't need more taco trucks out there pushing more fat and lard loaded with diabities food hiting the streets, please tell me you are not suggesting more mexican restaurants out there. I find it insulting every book sound great but yours. Yes I am a mexican I was born in La Piedad in 1978 and feel free to contact me.

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