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Business innovation books you'll actually want to read

Great business books that’ll make you laugh, swoon and cry.

After the runaway success of the Oscar-winning movie The Social Network, the Facebook creation myth hardly needs repeating, but here goes anyway: two rich, blond, hunky, 6’5” crew champs think up an idea for an elite online dating site. Because they’re from the white-gloved, hoity-toity Connecticut Brahmin stock, they retain the code-writing services of a slouching, hoodie-wearing Jewish giga-nerd from White Plains name Mark Zuckerberg. He, in turn, makes himself a billionaire by hijacking the idea, letting it loose on the riffraff, turning it into the ultimate attention deficit utility — eventually triggering a global revolution contagion against Middle Eastern dictators. Or something like that.

Aside from shamelessly appealing to our most primeval cravings, The Accidental Billionaires will help prep any aspiring innovator for the drama of becoming absurdly rich and juggling the press, the booze and the fawning admirers. You could go see The Social Network, which was adapted from this book, but if you’re serious about innovation, why not spend a few hours curled up with these pages?


By Keith Richards,

Sure, this book is about the fast life and high times (very, and literally) of one of the twentieth century’s seminal rock stars. So why does it matter to us work-a-day innovators in our cubicles? Mr. Richards, along with business partner Sir Michael Philip Jagger were consummate and very successful capitalists, earning millions for themselves and their record labels by tweaking and marketing a musical genre previously performed by poverty-stricken drunks living in shacks. Many a valuable lesson in innovation were learned on the way.

The New York Times called this book “an eye-opening all-nighter in the studio with a master craftsman disclosing the alchemical secrets of his art.” But we prefer the way our friends at Fast Company described it in their annual list of best business books: “Imagine Keith Richards speaking at your corporate retreat. Well, if you filter out the drugs, groupies and trashed hotel rooms, Richard's autobiography, Life, has some very valuable business lessons — from dealing with longstanding partner conflict (e.g. Mick Jagger), how to create the right conditions for creativity (recording Exile on Main Street in the basement of his house rather than a studio) and how to innovate around an existing product (Keith discovered open G tuning using only 5 strings, which gives the Stones their unique sound).” …the book is “a remarkable story of endurance in the pursuit of creativity, which isn't easy in any business.”

Follow David Case on Twitter: @DavidCaseReport