The worlds of business and labor are obviously intertwined, so when reading about a business you learn a bit about labor and the history of both. 

Titan by Ron Chernow is a fascinating biography of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and his rise up from a struggling childhood to the wealthiest man in America. Rockefeller started as a clerk and eventually became the king of petroleum and finance. Chernow has also written award-winning biographies of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.

Wheels for the World by Douglas Brinkley is a wonderfully interesting book about the Ford Motor Company and Henry Ford, the founder of that industrial giant. Ford and his team and competitors come alive in this book. Those interested in labor unions and their history will find Brinkley's book instructive, too.

Snowball by Alice Schroeder is a biography of Warren Buffett and his career as an investor. She laces the book with lots of details about Buffett's decision-making process and his theories about companies and his actions in the market. The book is a great read. Listeners to WBSM will notice the city of New Bedford is a subject in the book, and will find Buffett's comments difficult to stomach.

Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw is a detailed biography of the man who created U.S. Steel and revolutionized a heavy industry. Carnegie was a poor immigrant and a child labor who used his brains and his determination to amass a fortune like Rockefeller. Reading this book, as well as Titan, will give a person a solid understanding of that era in time. David Nasaw also wrote a tremendous biography of Joseph P. Kennedy and his life as a businessman and political operator.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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