History Channel’s The Men Who Built America: Additional Reading
I have received a number of emails asking for book recommendations for people who are interested in learning more about these men. While biographies are one of my favorite genres I must confess that many of the 900-1000 page books I have manged to work my way through are very dry reading and take a serious commitment to finish. Quite surprisingly, many don’t even have any actionable lessons that the reader can implement in his or her own business.
However, there is one book I can recommend for anyone interested in learning more about these tycoons and how they grew their business empires from nothing. The book is also quite an enjoyable read, relatively speaking, because it does offer some insights into their tactics, strategies, and tricks.
The book is The Robber Barons by Matthew Josephson. If you like to read about history and business, this is a great place to start. At 492 pages it’s roughly half the size of the biographies that plod on seemingly forever while offering a minimal ROI. It also covers financier Jay Gould in depth while The Men Who Built America series only shows him selling watered down stock to Vanderbilt in the first episode. Gould is one of the more interesting Robber Barons in my mind and it’s a shame that the series’ producers didn’t see fit to give him more time.