You Read Business Books, But How About Business Novels?

A reprieve from so-so books. That’s Jeffrey Archer’s four novels that make up The Clifton Chronicles.
A reprieve from so-so books. That describes Jeffrey Archer’s four novels that make up The Clifton Chronicles.

How can you go to work without Peter Drucker?

As you probably know, his books are a fund of knowledge about management and finding the right path to the future.

Peter Drucker warned against holding on to previous successes.

After all, when you look backward you run the risk of making a fiasco of the opportunities and problems that lay ahead.

Sage advice in changing times, especially since the early 2000s almost seem like the days of quill pens and inkpots.

Then there are business writers who remind you that nothing happens until you actually sell something.

That’s Drayton Bird.

His books, lectures and online presence rate at the high end of commonsense. is for anyone who needs to sell something. Remember selling?

Al Ries, is another supportive read.

He’ll help you with knowledge about differentiation.

We may be ahead when it comes to technology, but branding and content need to catch up.

To that point, if brands could talk they might say one thing to each other, ‘are you really me in disguise?’

On balance, there’s so much sameness out there with cookie-cutter strategies and executions.

All that, combined with under-imagined, lifeless content, creates problems.

But then, for a break from the office, there are the fictional problems to strain your nerves in an entertaining way.

Business novels make for great reading.

To keep you turning pages you get ridiculously complacent supremos, risk-takers and mavericks, maddening uncertainties and the weakening effect of indecision.

Add to that, tectonic shifts in fortune, criminals, stolen intellectual property, generational battles, the misadventure of poor ideas and stillborn ventures.

Continue on with despairing board members, the launch of bold new enterprises, lady chairmen, the odd murder, a nanosecond when everything seems to be perfect, then it all goes hopelessly haywire.

Sound vaguely familiar?

All of the above is deftly woven together with memorable characters, politics, skullduggery, social life, courtroom drama, powerful women and settings that range from Britain and New York to Buenos Aires and Israel in Jeffrey Archer’s books.

I’m thinking of The Clifton Chronicles; if you haven’t had the enduring pleasure of reading Archer, start there.

It’s riveting stuff, luminous and exciting.

You have four books in The Clifton Chronicles: Only Time Will Tell, The Sins of the Father, Best Kept Secret, Be Careful What You Wish For. 

A fifth book will be published in 2015.

The commercial world is at the center of things but the scope of the story extends far wider.

‘Saga’ best describes it as it’s set against actual events covering some fifty years from WW1.

Banking, finance, ship building, hotels, food companies, publishing, the business of fine art — it’s all there.

A nice example of actual events is a villain with untold millions in fake £5 notes.

It’s not fanciful.

It’s reflective of Operation Bernhard, the Nazi code name for the plan to flood Britain with counterfeit Bank of England notes.

There’s also an appearance of Sony founder, Akio Morita, in 1959 as he visits UK banks to gain funding for his young company.

Another aspect of the story features the building of a luxury cruise ship that echoes Cunard’s QE2 flagship effort in the 1960s.

Oddly enough, just a few days ago on March 24th, reality copied fiction.

Richard Branson announced plans for a $1.7b, project, with funding from the Gulf, to go into the cruise line business and build a liner from scratch.

Did he read Jeffrey Archer?

One thing’s for sure, you should.

Share with us. Tom Wolfe is another who writes well about the business world. His A Man in Full is an example. Do you have something you could recommend? Thanks, Steve Ulin.



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