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Bestselling Business Books in a Happier Time

I was looking for a list of business books, and stumbled across BusinessWeek’s best-sellers from 2000, one of the best years in recent economic history. Here they are:

  • **Who Moved My Cheese? **by Spencer Johnson. About learning to accept change to foster a happy workplace and happy workers. A perennial best-seller since its debut in 1998.
  • The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley and Andrews McMeel. Pop psychology on millionaires, arguing they tend to be tenacious, personable, and cheap, rather than brilliant. From the Amazon review: “Stanley’s book booms with human-potential pep talk and bristles with anecdotes — for example, about a bus driver who made $3 million…and a loser scholar in the bottom 10 percent on six GRE tests who grew up to be Martin Luther King Jr. Read it and you’ll feel like a million bucks.”
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. More pop psychology — this time, about how trends spread like epidemics.
  • The New New Thing by Michael Lewis. Describes the entrepreneurial culture that defined Silicon Valley during the tech bubble, which burst the following year.
  • **First, Break All the Rules **by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Great managers. Do they all follow the same rules? Nope. They break all the rules. Or something.
  • **The Cluetrain Manifesto **by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. A piece of technological evangelism, promoting 95 theses about using that new internet thingy to your business’ advantage.
  • When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein. Inside the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, the mega hedge fund that brought down several Asian economies with it.
  • Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. “Here is an invaluable management tool that outlines foolproof ways to increase productivity by fostering excellent morale in the workplace. It is a must-read for everyone who wants to stay on top in today’s ultra-competitive business world.”
  • **The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom **by Suze Orman. More pop psychology, though practical. The book argues that you need to get right with yourself before you can get right with your wallet.
  • Fish! by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen. “Mary Jane Ramirez, recently widowed and [a] mother of two, is asked to engineer a turnaround of her company’s troubled operations department… a ‘toxic energy dump.’ Most reasonable heads would cut their losses and move on. Why bother with this bunch of losers? But the authors don’t make it so easy for Mary Jane. Instead, she’s left to sort out this mess with the help of head fishmonger Lonnie…Fish! aims to help employees find their way to a fun and happy workplace.”

What surprised me? The lack of books on trading and day-trading, for one, given the boom ongoing at the time. I also found it interesting that five of the books centered on how to foster a happier and more efficient workforce. In 2000, employers were competing for workers, rather than workers just competing for jobs. (In Dec. 2000, there were 1.1 workers per job opening, the best recorded ratio.) Perhaps that means that businesses and managers focused on self-improvement to retain employees? Also, *plus ça change…. *Familiar names — Suze Orman, Roger Lowenstein, Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell — dominate the list.

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