Pulitzer Prize Winner Tim Weiner's Five Essential Business Reads

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

In 2007, author Tim Weiner, a former reporter for the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer, won the National Book Award for his mammoth, eviscerating history of the Central Intelligence Agency, Legacy of Ashes (Random House). From the CIA’s postwar origins to the modern era, the book chronicled the agency’s countless misadventures and failures in shocking, fascinating detail. Since then he hasn’t let up on America’s intelligence-gathering operations. After unexpectedly gaining exclusive access to a trove of J. Edgar Hoover’s files four years ago, Weiner shifted his attention to America’s domestic intelligence service, and the resulting book, Enemies: A History of the FBI (Random House), has just been published. (A third sprawling history—on the Pentagon—is slated for the future.) We asked the author to provide us with his five essential business reads.

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, by Barbara W. Tuchman
“This book explains failure in leadership. Why did the Trojans take in that horse? Why did the Renaissance popes provoke the Protestant Reformation? Why were we in Vietnam? Folly: the deliberate choice by leaders to act against the interests of the state. Wall Street’s masters of the universe clearly did not read it. They should have.”

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, by Studs Terkel
“Americans talk about their jobs, and how their work shapes their lives. It’s not fashionable to think of labor as something of value, but this book is a timeless work of poetry about the prosaic lives of the 99 percent.”

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, by Robert Caro
“The master builder, who created an empire, overreached, and fell. A symphonic book about concrete, city life, the glories of capitalism, and the dangers of oligarchy.”

Hard Times, by Charles Dickens
“A beautiful and brutal book on the soul-killing force of factory work. Probably the least-read novel Dickens ever wrote. I think of it every time I look at a lovely little Apple machine and consider the men and women who made it on the assembly line.”

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
“‘The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.’ Genius from a Chinese general, 26 centuries old and timeless; a spring that faileth not. Know the enemy—know thyself.”

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