In this episode

Sally Haldorson is a bona fide business-book lover. She serves as the General Manager of 800-CEO-READ, one the premier companies in the genre. Not only does she know the industry inside and out, but she’s also a writer herself, having co-authored the 3rdedition of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time in addition to multiple degrees in creative writing and literature.

Download the show notes for highlights; read the audio transcript.


Season 2 Episode 3: Leading the Business Book Industry’s Leading Business

Sally, how have business books changed since the first edition of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time?

I went back and listened to your interview with Jack [Covert]. I was thinking about the trajectory of business books as a whole from the time they really launched in the 80s to the launch of The 100 Best in 2008, and then here we are in 2017. It’s just fascinating to see how the industry has accelerated over time.

The book was meant to be a reflection of all the knowledge that Todd [Sattersten] and Jack [Covert] knew and had observed about business books as a whole. The two of them put together a list out of hundreds of business books they saw as essential for creating business knowledge for business people. It was both a labor of love and a lot of labor. But it wasn’t just meant to capture industry knowledge but to be an example of the kind of book we believe makes it in the marketplace.

We had control over everything, from the cover to the content to voice, all driven by Jack and Todd’s vision of what a great business book looks like.

In the 3rd edition, we made the decision to take a handful of books out and put five new books in. We felt that a great business book needs to cause a ripple in our current day and age. The realities of business have changed and we needed to modernize the list to reflect that.

If you like at Time Magazine‘s “Person of the Year,” sometimes the same person makes more than one appearance, but to stay current, the list has to change.

Right. The five books we added into The 100 Best reflects the sort of humanistic management that has come into play over the past decade. There’s startup entrepreneurship with The Lean Startup, the Wall Street banking drama with Too Big to Fail, Thinking Fast and Slow, and more that pays respect to the social science aspect of business books now. These books have influenced and informed so many other business books and thinkers that they have to be included.