The Best Business Writing 2012


An anthology Malcolm Gladwell has called "riveting and indispensable," The Best Business Writing is a far-ranging survey of business's dynamic relationship with politics, culture, and life. This year's selections include John Markoff ( New York Times) on innovations in robot technology and the decline of the factory worker; Evgeny Morozov ( New Republic) on the questionable value of the popular TED conference series and the idea industry behind it; Paul Kiel ( ProPublica) on the ripple effects of the ongoing ...

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Best Business Writing 2012

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An anthology Malcolm Gladwell has called "riveting and indispensable," The Best Business Writing is a far-ranging survey of business's dynamic relationship with politics, culture, and life. This year's selections include John Markoff ( New York Times) on innovations in robot technology and the decline of the factory worker; Evgeny Morozov ( New Republic) on the questionable value of the popular TED conference series and the idea industry behind it; Paul Kiel ( ProPublica) on the ripple effects of the ongoing foreclosure crisis; and the infamous op-ed by Greg Smith, published in the New York Times, announcing his break with Goldman Sachs over its trading practices and corrupt corporate ethos.

Jessica Pressler ( New York) delves into the personal and professional rivalry between former spouses and fashion competitors Tory and Christopher Burch. Peter Whoriskey ( Washington Post) exposes the human cost of promoting pharmaceuticals for off-label uses. Charles Duhigg and David Barboza ( New York Times) investigate Apple's unethical labor practices in China. Max Abelson ( Bloomberg) reports on Wall Street's amusing reaction to the diminishing annual bonus. Mina Kimes ( Fortune) recounts the grisly story of a company's illegal testing--and misuse--of a medical device for profit, and Jeff Tietz ( Rolling Stone) composes one of the most poignant and comprehensive portraits of the financial crisis's dissolution of the American middle class.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Roger Lowenstein

Phil Graham famously described journalism as 'the first rough draft of history,' but in an era of financial scandal and collapse, the business press has had to be something more: a guardian when government and other watchdogs fell by the wayside. This riveting collection of first rate pieces covers the waterfront from Apple to Pfizer, from debt default in Europe to bugging at News Corp. and, of course, the ongoing saga of foreclosures, bankers and regulators in America, updated with an inquiry into inequality and the '1%.' This volume of digestible-sized, stiletto-sharp stories will surprise the reader at how much he or she may have missed and reminds us all how momentous was the business world of 2011.

Midwest Book Review absolute must-read for anyone seeking to keep their finger on the pulse of the world economy.


Whether readers are familiar with some of the news stories or not, this collection exposesbehaviors--both good and bad--along with their impacts, and leaves readers with much to think about.

Library Journal
This first annual collection from Columbia University Press presents 31 of the best English-language writings on business, finance, and economics from magazines, newspapers, blogs, tape recordings, filmed interviews, radio shows, and even a movie. The editors, including Starkman (editor, Columbia Journalism Review), believe that "ignorance about matters business and financial is no longer an option." They include a brief history of business writing, touching on Business Week in 1929, Fortune in 1930, and the Wall Street Journal in 1941, and organize the articles in sections called "Bad Business," "Financial Systems and Discontents," "Over There" (e.g., foreign countries), "Politics and Money," "The Big Picture" (e.g., food, patents, law schools), and "Corporate Stories." These exposés and critiques cover companies like Pfizer, Ikea, Countrywide Financial, and coal company Massey Energy; CEOs such as Bill Ford Jr., Warren Buffett, and Steve Jobs; institutions including the SEC, FBI, and U.S. Department of the Treasury; and issues such as taxes, lobbying, etc. VERDICT For business-interested readers, this book presents revealing, and sometimes shocking, investigations. The lack of an index is a flaw.—Joanne B. Conrad, Geneseo, NY
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Dean Starkman is editor of the Columbia Journalism Review's business section, The Audit, which tracks financial journalism in print and on the web, and is the magazine's Kingsford Capital Fellow. A reporter for two decades, he worked eight years as a Wall Street Journal staff writer and was chief of the Providence Journal's investigative unit. He has won numerous national and regional journalism awards and helped lead the Providence Journal to the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Investigations.

Martha M. Hamilton is a former writer, editor, and columnist for the Washington Post who investigates complaints about financial journalism for CJR's "The Audit." She is also the author, along with former Post colleague Warren Brown, of Black and White and Red All Over.

Ryan Chittum is deputy editor of CJR's The Audit. He's a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and has written for numerous other publications, including the New York Times. He is also a contributor to Bad News: How America's Business Press Missed the Story of the Century. His recent work can be seen at

Felix Salmon is the finance blogger for Reuters. He arrived in the United States in 1997 from England, where he worked at Euromoney magazine. He also wrote daily commentary on Latin American markets for the former news service, Bridge News, and created the Economonitor blog for Roubini Global Economics.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I. Bad Business1. The Dark Lord of Coal Country, by Jeff Goodell2. Missing Milly Dowler's Voicemail Was Hacked by News of the World, by Nick Davies and Amellia Hill3. Phone-Hacking Crisis Shows News Corp Is No Ordinary News Company, by Jay Rosen4. The Bugger, Bugged, by Hugh Grant5. A Case of Shattered Trust, by Raquel Rutledge and Rick BarrettPart II. The Financial System and Its Discontents6. The "Subsidy": How a Handful of Merrill Lynch Bankers Helped Blow Up Their Own Firm, by Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger7. Countrywide Protected Fraudsters by Silencing Whistleblowers, Say Former Employees, by Michael Hudson8. Curse the Geniuses Who Gave Us Bank of America, by Jonathan Weil9. Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?, by Matt Taibbi10. In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures, by Gretchen Morgenson and Louise StoryPart III. Over There11. Time for Germany to Make Its Fateful Choice, by Martin Wolf12. In Norway, Start-Ups Say Ja to Socialism, by Max ChafkinPart IV. Politics and Money13. Swiped: Banks, Merchants, and Why Washington Doesn't Work for You, by Zach Carter and Ryan Grim14. Stop Coddling the Super-Rich, by Warren Buffett15. Blame for the Financial Mess Starts with the Corporate Lobby, by Steven Pearlstein16. Nine Things the Rich Don't Want You to Know About Taxes, by David Cay Johnston17. The Hijacked Crisis, by Paul Krugman18. Greenspan, Rubin, and a Roomful of Hypocrites, by Morgan HouselPart V. The Big Picture19. The Rise of the New Global Elite, by Chrystia Freeland20. Can the World Still Feed Itself?, by Brian M. Carney21. Law School Economics: Ka-Ching!, by David Segal22. When Patents Attack!, by Alex Blumberg and Laura Sydell23. The Illusions of Psychiatry, by Marcia Angell24. From Inside Job, by Charles Ferguson, Adam Bolt, and Chad BeckPart VI. Corporate Stories25. Inside Pfizer's Palace Coup, by Peter Elkind and Jennifer Reingold, with Doris Burke26. It Knows, by Daniel Soar27. Innovators Don't Ignore Customers, by John Gapper28. House Perfect, by Lauren Collins29. Voting to Hire a Chief Without Meeting Him, by James B. Stewart30. How Ford Became Last Man Standing, by Bernie Woodall and Kevin Krokicki31. What Made Steve Jobs So Great?, by Cliff KuangPermissionsList of Contributors

Columbia University Press

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