Ten best business books of 2021
Essential reading about companies, management and the economy
Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell
This “superb, pacey account” charts the late Robert Maxwell’s “ascent from shtetl boyhood” to self-made publishing billionaire and “eventual cartoon madman”, says The Daily Telegraph. Truly “jaw-dropping”.
Patrick Radden Keefe
Empire of Pain
A gripping and “meticulously researched” account of how Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, marketed the addictive painkiller OxyContin – fuelling the US opioid crisis, says The Times. “Read it and rage.”
A Shot to Save the World
An “appropriately breathless” account of the race to find a Covid vaccine, says Andrew Hill in the FT. Zuckerman shows how “catastrophe” transformed the fortunes of “tiny, visionary ventures”.
Jeffrey E. Garten
Three Days at Camp David
In this “outstanding book”, says Martin Wolf in the FT, Garten describes the secret 1971 meeting at which President Nixon decided to sever the link between the dollar and gold – beginning “a new monetary order”.
A business psychologist’s guide on how to deal with “toxic” colleagues, says The Times: the unkind, the hostile, the “downright abusive”. “Required reading for company bosses.”
Eswar S. Prasad
The Future of Money
“An invaluable overview” of how digital technologies are transforming currencies and finance, says Martin Wolf in the FT. As Prasad summarises: “A glorious future beckons, perhaps.”
The novelist’s “anarchically playful” essays cover the history of computing, AI and the cloud, says The Daily Telegraph. She imagines a future in which “sexbots are hacked by feminist programmers”.
Pugnare: Economic Success and Failure
The rise and fall of the Roman Empire – from a financial perspective. When inflation kicked in, stability collapsed, says Merryn Somerset Webb in the FT. “The banking system appears to have completely failed in AD260. And that was that.”
The Aristocracy of Talent
This “sparkling” if disturbing study shows how much less meritocratic our society has become since the late 20th century, says The Daily Telegraph. An elegant defence of talent.