by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Business books are often on the bestseller lists, but oddly enough they aren’t very popular at the Litchfield Library. I’ve always put those two pieces of information together and guessed that the people in our city who are the most interested in the latest business books are people who buy books instead of visiting the library. Nevertheless, we do offer books about business. Some are like self-help books – encouragement and guidance for entrepreneurs and executives. Some analyze industries or business history or economics. Our library has several recent books that fall under the category of business.
Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts is Brene Brown’s newest. Unlike her others, this one is a business book - more specifically, a book about leadership. It’s a current bestseller. Brown has worked with Facebook, Pixar, the Air Force, Google, and other large organizations when doing her research, and this book is the result of a seven-year study on leadership. Brown says that leadership isn’t about status and power; it’s about responsibility, courage, and developing the abilities of the people you manage.
Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results is a new book by James Clear, an expert on habit formation. This is another current bestseller. Clear says that motivation isn’t the main factor in breaking bad habits or starting new ones; setting up an environment for success often matters more. He addresses procrastination, motivation at work, and how to apply his ideas to business.
Capitalism in America: A History is Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge’s new book on economics. Greenspan is well known as the chair of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, and Wooldridge is a writer for The Economist as well as a historian. The book examines the history of business and increasing prosperity in the United States. The Financial Times describes the book as having three themes: productivity as the measure of economic progress, the pairing of creation and destruction as the sources of growth, and political reaction to creative destruction.
Thank You for Shopping: The Golden Age of Minnesota Department Stores is a brand-new book from Minnesota Historical Society Press. Author Kristal Leebrick delivers a nostalgic look back at the twentieth century glory days of stores like Dayton’s, Donaldson’s, Powers, and Young-Quinlan. These stores were destinations: Dayton’s Christmas displays and flower shows and meals at Schuneman’s River Room were special occasions. The book is illustrated with vintage photos and ads, and it even includes recipes from the stores’ restaurants. The Mill City Museum is running a companion exhibit of photos from mid-November through February.
The book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Company that Addicted America is a critical examination of the corporate origins of the current opioid crisis. Author and journalist Beth Macy investigated how the introduction of OxyContin in 1996 was handled irresponsibly by Purdue Pharma; the company aggressively promoted the drug to physicians through all-expenses-paid symposia and a large salesforce that individually targeted doctors who frequently prescribed opioids. Macy then traces the spread of the addiction epidemic from the first dealer in a small Virginia town to the widespread problem we have today, crossing class and geographic lines.
Other books we have that are currently on the New York Times business best sellers list are Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, Grit by Angela Duckworth, and Principles by Ray Dalio.
The public library isn’t only about novels and children’s books, although we do have great collections of those. When you want to read a business-related book, remember that the library carries those, too.