What are the best business books?

On my 31st birthday, I finally decided that I should start learning something about business in general. The thing is that I don’t want to spend 5 years in college to get my MBA, and I’d really rather stay away from ultra-theoretical concepts such as Keynesian theories of economics.

So my questions are: If I want to learn how to follow The Wall Street Journal, but I don’t know anything about business, what would be the best books on the subject? Is there an author who could explain the various aspects of business simply without dumbing it down too much? How advanced is The Wall Street Journal, anyway?

Or should I just chuck the whole thing and stick to computers and Russian Lit?

Thanks, guys.

Off to IMHO.

moderator GQ

Well, reading the Wall Street Journal on a daily basis is a good place to start. I would also highly recommend the internet edition of Bloomberg News (www.bloomberg.com). Bloomberg is the bible for the investment banking community. They usually have some flesh to their stories and the editorial features are often informative and interesting.

I don’t have a book to recommend, but it sounds like you need some basic economic theory, a bit on how the capital markets work, and financial concepts such as investment analysis like time value of money, IRR, etc.

I’m not sure what your goal is. Do you want to better understand how stocks and the stock market work for the purpose of buying stocks? Do you want to become a businessman (or become a better one)? Do you want to be able to throw out fancy terms at cocktail parties?

What do you want to accomplish with your newfound knowledge?