Super Freakonomics alternatives?
January 27, 2010 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Book club recommendations required for easy-to-read business/technology books.

I'm organising a small book club at work, and I had intended to get us started with Super Freakonomics as I very much enjoyed the original. However, some of the reviews I've seen are putting me off, and I'm wondering if the Hive has good alternative recommendations.

We're looking for something relatively short and easy to read, so nothing very academic or heavyweight. It has to be related to the fields of business and technology in some way, but the relationship can be very broad.

I've thought of something from Tim Hartford, but haven't wildly enjoyed what I've read of him to date. Gladwell is also out as most people have read most of his stuff, but that's the kind of thing we're looking for.

Thanks in advance!
posted by StephenF to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The Smartest Guys in the Room
posted by KokuRyu at 9:52 AM on January 27, 2010

How about one of James Burke's books, that give you the details behind every-day inventions. It is a few years old, but I really like The Knowledge Web.
posted by chiefthe at 10:06 AM on January 27, 2010

ahem, The Economic Naturalist
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:39 AM on January 27, 2010

The Pencil, by Henry Petroski is a lot more interesting than a book on the history of pencils has a right to be. Petroski's style takes a little getting used to, but it's an easy read, about 350 pages and though it uses one of the most simple tools to illustrate them it covers R&D, design, manufacturing, marketing and competition.
posted by IanMorr at 10:52 AM on January 27, 2010

Many thanks for all the suggestions guys.
posted by StephenF at 11:02 AM on January 27, 2010

Brian Arthur's The Nature of Technology
posted by otio at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2010

Being Digital
posted by sentient at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I loved Michael Lewis' The New New Thing, but it's probably a bit dated now. You could check out his newer stuff.
posted by soelo at 12:17 PM on January 27, 2010

The Victorian Internet. Short, easy read about the development of the telegraph. Awesome book.
posted by dagnyscott at 5:10 PM on January 27, 2010

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, which primarily deals with manufacturing, but the Theory of Constraints it proposes is useful in all areas of business. It's written as a sort of parable, but may be longer than you'd like.
posted by MesoFilter at 7:35 AM on January 28, 2010

I suggest: Fortune's Formula
posted by metadave at 12:08 PM on January 28, 2010

It's not especially short, but I, and others in my class in which we read it, found it surrisingly engrossing. Soul of a New Machine
posted by cmoj at 5:06 PM on January 28, 2010

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