History of Business
Featured Items
George Eastman: A Biography
George Eastman
A Biography
Hardcover      ISBN: 0801852633

This life of George Eastman is the first biography since 1930 of the man who transformed the world of photography. As a 23-year-old bank clerk, Eastman bought his first camera and began simplifying the cumbersome and messy wet-plate process. With only two years' experience, he patented a dry-plate coating machine and began selling photographic plates. Soon, the business was doing so well that he quit his job at the bank and started his own company.

Eastman's success was based in part on his own inventions, but even more on his ability to raise capital, recruit technically skilled employees, sell his own products, and outmaneuver his competitors. In this revealing and informative new biography, Brayer shows us how such key innovations as roll film and the light, hand-held camera helped the Eastman Kodak Company dominate the world market.

More importantly, Brayer draws a vivid portrait of the man behind the money. Eastman worked hard at keeping out of the limelight and even insisted that his donations be kept anonymous, prompting the Boston Globe to call him "America's most modest and least- known millionaire." His aggressive business personality was a sharp contrast to his personal life: Eastman once joked that it was his goal to take two six-month vacations in a year. He would regularly forsake the office to bicycle around Europe or ride a stagecoach through the snowy trails of Yellowstone Park. He was an art lover, who once bartered 60 shares of Kodak stock in the 1890s for a painting he felt he must have, and a classical music enthusiast, who built a school for the training of virtuosos.

Despite his retirement in 1925, Eastman showed little sign of slowing down. Making moneyhad been interesting, but putting money to work became more so. In the 1920s he designed a special camera for use in orthodontia and established elaborate dental clinics for needy children in Rochester, London, Paris, Brussels, Stockholm, and Rome. He oversaw the building of the Eastman Theatre and the Eastman School of Music. His contributions built a new campus for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a new medical school for the University of Rochester. Finally, he became the largest contributor to the education of African Americans during the 1920s and the Tuskeegee Institute's most important benefactor.

The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age
The Richest Woman in America
Hetty Green in the Gilded Age
Paperback      ISBN: 0307474577

No woman in the Gilded Age made as much money as Hetty Green, America's first female tycoon. A strong woman who forged her own path, she was worth at least $100 million by the end of her life in 1916--equal to about $2.5 billion today.

Green was mocked for her simple Quaker ways and her unfashionable frugality in an era of opulence and excess; the press even nicknamed her "The Witch of Wall Street." But those who knew her admired her wit and wisdom, and while financiers around her rose and fell as financial bubbles burst, she steadily amassed a fortune that supported businesses, churches, municipalities, and even the city of New York. Janet Wallach's engrossing biography reveals striking parallels between past financial crises and current recession woes, and speaks not only to history buffs but to today's investors, who just might learn a thing or two from Hetty Green.
The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst
The Chief
The Life of William Randolph Hearst
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0618154469

Named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Business Week, and GQ, THE CHIEF: THE LIFE OF WILLIAM RANDLOPH HEARST is "an absorbing and ingeniously organized biography . . . of the most powerful publisher America has ever known" (New York Times Book Review). Drawing on papers and interviews that were previously unavailable, as well as on newly released documentation of interactions with such figures as Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, every president from Grover Cleveland to Franklin Roosevelt, and movie giants Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, and Irving Thalberg, David Nasaw completes the picture of this colossal American "engagingly, lucidly and fair-mindedly" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.).
"Outstandingly researched, elegantly but not flamboyantly written, and fair in its conclusions about Hearst's astonishing career" (Wall Street Journal), THE CHIEF "must be regarded as the definitive study . . . It's hard to imagine a more complete rendering of Hearst's life" (Business Week).

Mr. China: A Memoir
Mr. China
A Memoir
Paperback      ISBN: 0060761407

Mr. China tells the rollicking story of a young man who goes to China with the misguided notion that he will help bring the Chinese into the modern world, only to be schooled by the most resourceful and creative operators he would ever meet. Part memoir, part parable, Mr. China is one man's coming-of-age story where he learns to respect and admire the nation he sought to conquer.

Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back
Appetite for Profit
How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 1560259329

The United States is currently embroiled in a national debate over the growing public health crisis caused by poor diet. People are starting to ask who is to blame and how can we fix the problem, especially among children. Major food companies are responding with a massive public relations campaign. These companies, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and General Mills, are increasingly on the defensive. In response, they pretend to sell healthier food and otherwise position themselves as "part of the solution." Yet they continue to lobby against commonsense nutrition policies. Appetite for Profit exposes this hypocrisy and explains how to fight back by offering reliable resources. Readers will learn how to spot the PR and how to organize to improve food in schools and elsewhere. For the first time, author Michele Simon explains why we cannot trust food corporations to "do the right thing." She describes the local battles of going up against the powerful food lobbies and offers a comprehensive guide to the public relations, front groups, and lobbying tactics that food companies employ to trick the American public. Simon also provides an entertaining glossary that explains corporate rhetoric, including phrases like "better-for-you foods" and "frivolous lawsuit."

Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon
Dethroning the King
The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon
Paperback      ISBN: 1118157028
How the King of Beers collapsed without a fight and what it means for America's place in the post-Recession world

How did InBev, a Belgian company controlled by Brazilians, take over one of America's most beloved brands with scarcely a whimper of opposition? Chalk it up to perfect timing--and some unexpected help from powerful members of the Busch dynasty, the very family that had run the company for more than a century. In Dethroning the King, Julie MacIntosh, the award-winning financial journalist who led coverage of the takeover for the Financial Times, details how the drama that unfolded at Anheuser-Busch in 2008 went largely unreported as the world tumbled into a global economic crisis second only to the Great Depression. Today, as the dust settles, questions are being asked about how the "King of Beers" was so easily captured by a foreign corporation, and whether the company's fall mirrors America's dwindling financial and political dominance as a nation.

  • Discusses how the takeover of Anheuser-Busch will be seen as a defining moment in U.S. business history
  • Reveals the critical missteps taken by the Busch family and the Anheuser-Busch board
  • Argues that Anheuser-Busch had a chance to save itself from InBev's clutches, but infighting and dysfunctionality behind the scenes forced it to capitulate

From America's heartland to the European continent to Brazil, Dethroning the King is the ultimate corporate caper and a fascinating case study that's both wide reaching and profound.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
Hardcover      ISBN: 1451648537
Walter Isaacson's "enthralling" (The New Yorker) worldwide bestselling biography of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.

Based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years--as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues--Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. Isaacson's portrait touched millions of readers.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with the author, he asked for no control over what was written. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. He himself spoke candidly about the people he worked with and competed against.

His friends, foes, and colleagues offer an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

Steve Jobs is the inspiration for the movie of the same name starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels, directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
The Snowball
Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
Hardcover      ISBN: 0553805096
The personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as "The Oracle of Omaha"--for fans of the HBO documentary Becoming Warren Buffett

Here is the book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom.

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time he became the world's richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term "simple."

When Alice Schroeder met Warren Buffett she was an insurance industry analyst and a gifted writer known for her keen perception and business acumen. Her writings on finance impressed him, and as she came to know him she realized that while much had been written on the subject of his investing style, no one had moved beyond that to explore his larger philosophy, which is bound up in a complex personality and the details of his life. Out of this came his decision to cooperate with her on the book about himself that he would never write.

Never before has Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer's questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends, and business associates--opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as The Snowball makes immensely clear. Being human, his own life, like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett's legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people's lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time.

Praise for The Snowball

"Even people who don't care a whit about business will be intrigued by this portrait. . . . Schroeder, a former insurance-industry analyst, spent years interviewing Buffett, and the result is a side of the Oracle of Omaha that has rarely been seen."--Time

"Will mesmerize anyone interested in who Mr. Buffett is or how he got that way. The Snowball tells a fascinating story."--New York Times

"If the replication of any great achievement first requires knowledge of how it was done, then The Snowball, the most detailed glimpse inside Warren Buffett and his world that we likely will ever get, should become a Bible for capitalists."--Washington Post

"Riveting and encyclopedic."--Wall Street Journal

"A monumental biography . . . Schroeder got the best access yet of any Buffett biographer. . . . She deals out marvelously funny and poignant stories about Buffett and the conglomerate he runs, Berkshire Hathaway."--Forbes

"The most authoritative portrait of one of the most important American investors of our time."--Los Angeles Times
Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, from Wall Street to Dubai
Rigged
The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, from Wall Street to Dubai
Paperback      ISBN: 0061252735

After conquering the hallowed halls of Harvard Business School, an Italian-American kid from the streets of Brooklyn decides to take on the testosterone-fueled Merc Exchange in lower Manhattan--where billions of dollars in oil money trade hands every week and where fistfights are known to break out on the trading floor.

Soon our hero is living the good life in the gold-lined hotel palaces of Dubai and on private yachts in Monte Carlo, teeming with half-naked girls flown in by Saudi sheikhs, and making deals in the dangerous back alleys of Beijing. But that's only the beginning. Taken under the wing of another young gun and partnering with a mysterious young Muslim, the kid embarks on a dangerous adventure to revolutionize the oil trading industry--and, along with it, the world.

This is a true story.

The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America
The Cigarette Century
The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America
Paperback      ISBN: 0465070485

From agriculture to big business, from medicine to politics, The Cigarette Century is the definitive account of how smoking came to be so deeply implicated in our culture, science, policy, and law. No product has been so heavily promoted or has become so deeply entrenched in American consciousness. The Cigarette Century shows in striking detail how one ephemeral (and largely useless) product came to play such a dominant role in so many aspects of our lives--and deaths.