Robert McCrum of the Guardian recently blogged about “literary humiliations” – classic books that well-read people have never gotten around to. Despite a Cambridge education and long career as a book editor and critic, he confessed to skipping George Eliot’s Middlemarch. So he’s finally taking it on his August vacation. “It’s long been my ambition to devote a period of sustained reading to this great English novel – and now that moment has come. No turning back.”
McCrum added: “Now I’m inviting readers of this blog to play Humiliation and to confide the books they deeply regret never having read.”
OK, I’ll play. I’ve been focused on the business category for 15 years but still haven’t read some of the most acclaimed and influential business books, the ones we use as benchmarks and role models. My 7 biggest regrets (all sitting on my shelf, taunting me) are…
Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart
In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clay Christensen
Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove
Why We Buy by Paco Underhill
The HP Way by David Packard
Maybe I’ll take one of them on my vacation, too. On the other hand, I’ve never read Middlemarch either.
For a great discussion of what makes a business classic, check out The 100 Best Business Books of All Time by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten.