The Best Books for Business Owners of 2009

The Match King by Frank Partnoy
14 of 15

The Match King by Frank Partnoy

Add to Bernie Maddoff’s other sins the fact that he’s not that colorful. You can’t say that about Ivar Kreuger, a Swedish financier who in the early part of last century wheeled-and-dealed his way into a virtual monopoly on global match production; and from there into a financial empire that (spoiler alert!) ultimately imploded. In The Match King, author Frank Partnoy deftly untangles the machinations of Kreuger’s hugely audacious scheme while bringing to life one of business’s more provocative villains. (Among other tidbits: Kreuger kept a fake phone in his office on which he pretended to receive calls from Stalin and Mussolini to impress visitors. He also threw parties at which he hired movie actors to impersonate foreign ambassadors.) Recommended by Leigh Buchanan.