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Your summer business journalism reading list

Today is World Book Day, a day to celebrate how books are “a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures.” To celebrate in our own way, here are five recent business journalism books to add to your reading list, as recommended by our director, Jeffrey Timmermans.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

By John Carreyrou

This book details the tale of Elizabeth Holmes and the company Theranos – considered one of the biggest corporate frauds in history. The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter meticulously pieces together a step-by-step history of the company and, as a New York Times book review noted, “wisely lets the evidence speak for itself.” Narratives from former Theranos employees help put together a story of a company shrouded in secrecy making promises it couldn’t keep, which makes for a riveting page-turner. As another reviewer concluded, “Although I knew how the story ended, I found myself reading this book compulsively.”

Blood and Oil: Mohammed Bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest for Global Power

By Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck

Written by two award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters, this book looks at the inner workings of the world’s most powerful royal family and the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The authors show how the rise of this ‘charming and crafty crown prince’ coincided with the fraying of U.S.-Saudi relations that relied on the simple bargain of oil for military protection. As one reviewer noted, this book shows “how staggering wealth and unchecked ambition created what most would consider a true monster…Blood and Oil unfolds like a fast-paced suspense thriller with the grandiosity of a Shakespearean play.”

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

By Patrick Radden Keefe

This book covers three generations of the Sackler family and follows their company’s early success with Valium and later OxyContin while co-opting doctors and influencing the FDA. Despite multiple investigations, the Sacklers continued to downplay the addictiveness of OxyContin and the tactics they used to evade accountability. While other books on the opioid crisis focus on the victims, Empire of Pain focuses squarely on the perpetrators. Keefe interviewed over 200 people “to paint a devastating portrait of a family consumed by greed and unwilling to take the slightest responsibility or show the least sympathy for what it wrought.” As the New York Times reviewer said, “this book will make your blood boil.”

Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall

By Zeke Faux

This book covers the wild ride of cryptocurrency when it went mainstream in 2021. Faux spent two years traveling around the world investigating the crypto industry as it began to stack up celebrity endorsements, TV ads, and big-name investors. The investigation eventually led him to the ‘crypto-delusion’ of Sam Bankman-Fried and other crypto scammers and overnight billionaires. Told as a first-hand account, the author is able to make the reader feel like they are along for the ride when the crypto-bubble burst in 2022.

When McKinsey Comes to Town: The Hidden Influence of the World’s Most Powerful Consulting Firm

By Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe

A deeply reported exposé of the international consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, this book highlights the impact of the company’s work on people around the world. Bogdanich and Forsythe are both prize-winning investigative reporters who are able to “paint a devastating portrait of a firm whose work has often made the world more unequal, more corrupt, and more dangerous.” The authors spent five years investigating and meticulously reporting on McKinsey to “expose the firm’s unsavory work with fossil fuel companies, cigarette-makers, opioid distributors, regulatory agencies and autocratic regimes.”


  • Julianne Culey

    Julianne is the Assistant Director of the Reynolds Center with expertise in marketing and communications and holds a master's in Sociology from Arizona State University.

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