Business Books You Need to Read Now

What goes on inside a hedge fund? How did Rupert Murdoch turn the sale of The Wall Street Journal into a foregone conclusion? Why would a business that doesn't cater to female consumers be consigned "to the dust heap of history"? Book authors from the business world typically offer the answers to these questions in hundreds of pages, but they also talked to NEWSWEEK in an ongoing series of interviews highlighting the best business literature out there. Stop here before (or after) picking up the latest intelligent take. These are the books you need to read now.

Confessions of a hedge-fund manager. Wall Street is a greedy bunch, but are all bankers and traders a pack of stupid meatheads? No way, says an anonymous hedge-fund manager who talked to NEWSWEEK via Google Chat to protect his identity. Are hedge funds really as evil as they are made out to be?

Why are retailers ignoring female consumers? It may be a man's world, but in the new millennium, it's the women who are controlling the wallets. Yet mainstream retailers largely continue to ignore female consumers. Author Paco Underhill explains why women should get more respect in the global marketplace.

Goldman Sachs envy. A look at why this investment bank, which employs the cool kids of finance, continues to thrive even as it's chastised by the federal government, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and angry American taxpayers.

Hedge funds: Obama's next big headache? The author of More Money Than God says hedge funds are the best risk managers around and makes the case for hedge funds getting a light regulatory touch.

Why videogames matter. Videogames are big business, but they're also a time suck. Author and critic Tom Bissel makes the grown-up case for videogames.

Behind petroleum: how BP got into this mess. Investigative reporter Tom Bower probed the oil industry before the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico and outlines what his findings tell us about how the oil industry will emerge from the disaster.

A look back at America's time of temperance. The author of a new book on Prohibition talks about the social movements that led to the banning of alcohol sales in the U.S., and why the ban was overturned.

Ripping into The Wall Street Journal. The backstory of how Rupert Murdoch bought one of journalism's most prestigious titles and how he's now using it to take on The New York Times.

Rethinking blue-collar jobs. The wage gap between white- and blue-collar work is expected to grow, but rather than consign nearly half of the nation's workers to relatively low-paying jobs, why not use the recession as an opportunity to make service work fulfilling and analytical, with higher wages to boot? Social scientist Richard Florida talks about his vision for upgrading the service economy.

How boards of directors are killing U.S. companies. In theory, the corporate boards of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, AIG, and General Motors were paid handsome sums to oversee the activity of executives and protect shareholders' interests. In practice, leading up to the financial system's failure in 2008, the boards slept as the CEOs ran the companies into the ground. Author John Gillespie discusses his chronicle of their demise.