Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett--two of the most successful businessmen of our time--have said that Business Adventures by finance journalist John Brooks is the read that brought them enlightenment in business. Released in 1969, the book delineates the history of American business and finance, outlining the greatest and worst moments of all time.

Through a series of case studies, Brooks delves into a deep analysis of what each of these businesses did correctly--and what they did wrong. Analyzing in detail such a large array of enterprises allows the reader to apply the bests of business to whatever project they might be working on themselves, and also enables them to learn from past mistakes--without actually having to make them.