December 4, 2009

News & Opinion: Amazon's Best of 2009

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:11 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Amazon does an interesting thing every year, putting their best selling books in each genre on the same page as their editors' pick so you can easily compare the two. I am sure that, were I an author, I'd hope to see my name on the bestsellers list. It would mean that I had not only done well financially for the year but, more importantly, that my book had made it into the hands of more readers—my ideas into the minds of more people. That said, as a reader I always look at the editors' list first. I don't know who Amazon's editors actually are—come to think of it, the only person I know works for Amazon is Jeff Bezos—but I'm guessing that, like us, they spend their days at work poring over the many books that come across their desks, and they've probably become pretty damn good at picking which ones they're going to take home and focus on. There are a lot of books every year that will never see the light of a bestsellers list—that will never catch the popular eye—that nonetheless contain provoking insights for thought leaders and have a greater long-term effect on our lives than a flash-in-the-pan bestseller. Ideally, of course, you'd make both lists. Congratulations to Matthew B. Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, and the authors of Animal Spirits, George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, on that feat. Here are the complete lists in Amazon's Business & Investing category for 2009: The customer favorites:
  1. House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William D. Cohan, Doubleday
  2. The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide: Protect Your Savings, Boost Your Income, and Grow Wealthy Even in the Worst of Times by Martin D. Weiss, John Wiley & Sons
  3. Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse by Thomas E. Woods, Regnery Press
  4. Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe & Sound by Suze Orman, Spiegel & Grau
  5. The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History by Harry S. Dent, Free Press
  6. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford, Penguin Press
  7. Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, Princeton University Press
  8. How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins, HarperCollins
  9. Strengths-Based: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, Gallup Press
  10. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, Workman Publishing Company
The editors' list:
  1. The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox, HarperBusiness
  2. Fool's Gold: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe by Gillian Tett, Free Press
  3. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford, Penguin Press
  4. How Did That Happen?: Holding People Accountable for Results the Positive, Principled Way by Roger Connors & Tom Smith, Portfolio
  5. Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher, Penguin Press
  6. In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic by David Wessel, Crown Business
  7. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith, John Wiley & Sons
  8. Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, Princeton University Press
  9. SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Crown Business
  10. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod, Portfolio
Other notable editors' picks are T.J. Stiles' The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt published by Penguin Press, winner of the NBA in nonfiction and put in the Biographies & Memoirs category by Amazon's editors, and Greg Grandin's Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City, published by Metropolitan Books, which was the number one editors' pick in the History category. Other customer favorites include Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed and The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burrough, both published by Penguin Press, and This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Kenneth S. Rogoff and Carmen M Reinhart and published by Princeton University Press. All of these were in the History category. To delve into the lists more, head on over to Amazon's Best of 2009.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.