Business disaster books

I'm certainly not using any of these books as a how-to guide, but each one has information I've never been exposed to.

Business disaster books
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I remember reading Barbarians at the Gate and thinking 'this just seems … fun?' and then, later, becoming a mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer and then an investment banker.

Matt Levine, "WeWork’s Rescue Wasn’t Real"

I don't know how it happened, but I've found myself pouring over a genre that I like to call "business disaster books." These are basically exactly what they sound like: non-fiction novels telling the story of something going wrong.

On the surface, saying "I learn a lot from these!" might come across the wrong way, but: I learn a lot from these! Let me explain.

I'm certainly not using any of these books as a how-to guide. But each one has information I've never been exposed to: the language and techniques of specific business sectors, ideas for managing ideas, and, frankly, scams not to fall for. I think it's totally fair to learn more than what not to do from these books, be it in the realms of history, project management, or even leadership.

More importantly, though, I find most of these books incredibly exciting. I read a lot for fun, and this has been a habit I've had for a good, long time. If you're the type of person that ends up scrolling Wikipedia for hours, you'll understand this: the added layer of learning new things is like a spicy dimension that makes a good dish even better.

All of this together means that I often stick with books in this genre which aren't written in styles that I like. Even if I find the prose clunky or frustrating, I have a good time, because I'd likely be deeply absorbed in the book if it were written as a list of bullet points of facts.

So, with that said, here are some books I've read in this genre and think are worth checking out. The ones with stars are ones that I highly recommend.

  • ⭐️ American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton
  • Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton
  • Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
  • ⭐️ Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  • Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis
  • ⭐️ All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster by Joseph Menn
  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick

Got any suggestions for books in this genre that I should check out? Please send them my way!