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The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
Cover of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You
Thousands of business books are published every year— Here are the best of the best
After years of reading, evaluating, and selling business books, Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten are among the most respected experts on the category. Now they have chosen and reviewed the one hundred best business titles of all time—the ones that deliver the biggest payoff for today's busy readers.
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time puts each book in context so that readers can quickly find solutions to the problems they face, such as how best to spend The First 90 Days in a new job or how to take their company from Good to Great. Many of the choices are surprising—you'll find reviews of Moneyball and Orbiting the Giant Hairball, but not Jack Welch's memoir.
At the end of each review, Jack and Todd direct readers to other books both inside and outside The 100 Best. And sprinkled throughout are sidebars taking the reader beyond business books, suggesting movies, novels, and even children's books that offer equally relevant insights.
This guide will appeal to anyone, from entry-level to CEO, who wants to cut through the clutter and discover the brilliant books that are truly worth their investment of time and money.
Thousands of business books are published every year— Here are the best of the best
After years of reading, evaluating, and selling business books, Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten are among the most respected experts on the category. Now they have chosen and reviewed the one hundred best business titles of all time—the ones that deliver the biggest payoff for today's busy readers.
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time puts each book in context so that readers can quickly find solutions to the problems they face, such as how best to spend The First 90 Days in a new job or how to take their company from Good to Great. Many of the choices are surprising—you'll find reviews of Moneyball and Orbiting the Giant Hairball, but not Jack Welch's memoir.
At the end of each review, Jack and Todd direct readers to other books both inside and outside The 100 Best. And sprinkled throughout are sidebars taking the reader beyond business books, suggesting movies, novels, and even children's books that offer equally relevant insights.
This guide will appeal to anyone, from entry-level to CEO, who wants to cut through the clutter and discover the brilliant books that are truly worth their investment of time and money.
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  • From the book To Engineer Is HumanHENRY PETROSKI

    Reviewed by Todd

    Everything fails it is just a matter of when. Parents forewarn their children that failure is common even likely, through the nursery rhymes of "Humpty Dumpty" and "Jack and Jill". Our first steps and first bike rides without the training wheels give us an idea of what failure feels like, literally. As we find our balance, scraped-up knees and bruised pride happen less frequently. Henry Petroski begins his book, To Engineer Is Human, by revisiting these same children's tales, cautioning us again, and with an engineer's eye, describing a world more reminiscent of London Bridge.

    Due to their design, the pen on your desk is likely to last for months while your automobile will likely get you from point A to B for many years, their life spans governed by a balance between function, aesthetic, and economy. Engineers arbitrate those competing forces when bringing an idea into the material world. This arbitration, as Petroski describes it, is something closer to art than science. But sometimes, Petroski warns, art comes at the expense of sound engineering and construction.

    The construction of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City called for a grand atrium with two walkways suspended from the ceiling by a set of rods that ran through both structures. The single rod mechanism was replaced, during early planning with two separate rods to simplify construction and utilize standard fabrication techniques. This small change left the system with barely enough strength to support the walkway; adding people proved disastrous. On July 17, 1981, the walkway collapsed, killing 114 people and injuring 200 others.

    Petroski uses the Hyatt Regency story to illustrate several nuances of engineering. Many parties were simply negligent: an early ceiling collapse and comments from construction workers about instability gave engineers ample warning to reexamine the walkway plans; no changes were made. Letters to the editors of trade publications following the accident also suggested what seemed like obvious engineering alternatives.

    But that is the trick. Knowing the nature of a failure provides paths to the core problem, but this is a hindsight luxury the original engineers didn't have. And there we return back to the idea of engineering as art. The unique design and construction of these walkways left engineers working in a thought space that was dangerous, more so than they realized

    As much as the field of study seems to be based in fact and formula, engineering is better described as grounded in hypothesis, a working practice of individuals developing ideas that tentatively describe phenomena but need constant reevaluation. Engineers spend enormous amounts of time studying the mistakes made by their colleagues. Petroski points to an Egyptian pyramid in Dahshur, with its sudden change to a more shallow angle midway up, as an early example of a trial and error method of construction. Flying buttresses on European cathedrals indicate a similar postconstruction epiphany. Computer-aided three-dimensional drafting and finite element analysis do not protect today's engineers from failure as new designs further strain the tensions between competing factors. While unequivocally a tragedy the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse becomes a valuable case study from which future engineers can learn.

    "Engineering, like poetry, is an attempt to approach perfection."

    Petroski's expertise in failure analysis provides important lessons for those in business. Formulas for organizational success, whether self-determined or suggested, are, like design, better described as hypothesis, accurate under some conditions and...

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The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You
Jack Covert
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