October 11, 2006

News & Opinion: Bios Redux

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:29 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

As Todd noted, it's quite a busy season for business biographies. To which I'd add the following promising titles:
The Man That Time Forgot, a biography of Time magazine co-founder Briton Haddon, by Isaiah Wilner, has been generating boffo reviews. Wilner tells the story of the charismatic innovator Haddon, who pioneered Time's distinctive writing style and worldview, yet died young, enabling Henry Luce to eventually become known as the magazines creator.
Andy Grove, by esteemed HBS historian Richard Tedlow, bills itself as the "definitive biography of an enigmatic business legend." And given Tedlow's gift for comprehensive research, smart writing, and a unique gift for blending managerial know-how with a historian's eye for context and culture, this book promises to be an invaluable read.
L.L. Bean: The Making of An American Icon, by Leon Gorman, the chairman and grandson of company founder, shares the story of how one of the most trusted brands grew up. As a native New Englander who has always owned a pair of Bean boots and visits the Freeport store several times annually, I'm partial to this book. And from a preliminary read, it looks as well-made as the company's gear.
Dynasties: Fortunes and Misfortunes of the World's Great Family Businesses, represents yet another business history from a Harvard prof, this time David Landes of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. I look forward to reading this book, especially the chapters that explore families from outside the U.S., such as the Agnellis, Toyodas, and Barings.