I'm unable to wax poetic on my love of Big Little Lies or Gone Girl without feeling self-conscious, so I went for a serious list. These tell-all accounts of opaque companies, quixotic leaders and a doomed ocean liner, are as hard to put down as any Gillian Flynn fiction.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (2018)
The gripping account of the meteoric rise, huge cover-up and swift fall of Theranos, a blood-testing company founded by Elizabeth Holmes, a former wunderkind of Silicon Valley who raised $1.4 billion to run what turned out to be a scam that put patients in grave danger.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (2015)
This is the gripping backstory of the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania by a German submarine that ultimately drew the United States into the First World War. Larson weaves a story between the ocean liner and the German U-boat that torpedoed the ship on a sunny May day, sinking it in 18 minutes.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance (2015)
Get to know the man behind some of the most exciting advances of our time. Musk went on the record for this one, and this portrait will get you all psyched about space, renewable energy, electric cars and yes, even in our troubled times, the future.
Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll (2012)
From the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989 to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Steve Coll includes tales of downed helicopters, kidnappings and Kremlin intrigue. You’ll come away from this page-turner deeply informed about the biggest, most secretive American corporation, which has major interests in the place we call home.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight (2016)
A journalism school classmate published a book about Nike’s influence in collegiate athletics (University of Nike by Joshua Hunt). I haven’t read it yet, but I am sure it is a worthy counter-argument to worshipping at the Church of Nike. But what an epic Phil Knight has to share. The best sneaker salesman the world has known tells a pretty good story, too.
Kelsey Warner is assistant business editor for The National