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David Wen
Entrepreneur, software developer, management consultant. He practices magic tricks on the toilet.
Business adventures  twelve classic tales from the world of wall street
Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street

Reviewed by David Wen

When Bill Gates and Warren Buffett both say that a book is the best business book they've ever read, you think to yourself, "Maybe I should read it." And while I may not necessarily agree with their verdict, I still quite enjoyed the read.

As a warning, if you're looking to find a book with 5 steps to business success, or 9 secrets to winning sales, this is the wrong book for you. First of all, there are 12 sections. But not just that, none of the sections are related to each other, aside from the fact that they're in the same book. Each section may not even be completely related to business - one talks about the tax code, another about insider trading. That said, I found it refreshing precisely because Brooks, unlike other business book authors, does not prescribe a course of action. You get what you want out of each section, and if it happens to just be pure amusement at Brooks' light-hearted writing style, then that's fine too.

One thing that struck me from reading the stories was how strongly a human element plays in all of them. Brooks doesn't take large data or research and beat you over the head with it. Instead, he observes and presents human interactions and reactions that we instinctively know to be truisms based on our own life experiences. For example, in the story about the Ford Edsel car, the Edsel team wanted to put everything inside of it, and design it for everybody. In the end, nobody liked it. It reminds me of all the times I was on a project that took on too much or built a Lego car that ended up being a plane, a boat, and a mission command center all in one. Often trying to do too much, undoes us.

In that spirit, I'll leave it at that :)

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David wen avatar
David Wen
Entrepreneur, software developer, management consultant. His favourite book is The Power of One.