Opinions vary as to what defines a “classic” business book. My own opinion is that it offers insights and counsel that are of timeless value. To paraphrase Bernard of Chartres, a 12th century monk, their authors are the shoulders upon which each new generation of leaders stands. For example:
Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street
Open Road Media (current publisher)
Writing in The Wall Street Journal last year, Bill Gates recalled asking Warren Buffett in 1991 to recommend his favorite business book. “He didn’t miss a beat: ‘It’s Business Adventures, by John Brooks,’ he said. ‘I’ll send you my copy.’”
Some of the material in the reissue of Business Adventures (Open Road Integrated Media, 2014) feels dated. How could it not after 45 years? However, like Einstein’s questions on his physics exams (the same every year, but with different answers) the issues that Brooks raises are both familiar and, if anything, more relevant than they were in 1969. Wall Street’s volatility. The Edsel’s un-market-ability. Xerox’s innovation and corporate culture. It’s worth noting that the average length of this book’s seven essays is 37 pages. But Gates and Buffett savored every word, and you will also.