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Mogul Manuals

Michael Moritz has practically written the book on high-tech investment. Now he shares his all-time favorite great books with Fast Company.

In his more than 10+ years at Sequoia Capital, Michael Moritz ( restocked the firm's shelf of long-time classics — Apple Computer, Cypress Semiconductor, and Cisco Systems — with such Internet new releases as Yahoo!, Global Village, and This venture capitalist, an Oxford-educated former Time Inc. journalist, has practically written the book on high-tech investment. Now he shares his all-time favorite great books with Fast Company.

The Studio, John Gregory Dunne
A study of the art of portfolio management. In this case, the portfolio happens to be movies, the entrepreneurs are the directors; the engineers are the actors; and the investors are studio executives.

Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gate, Steven Bach
Nothing prepares you better for the perils of venture investing than a Hollywood disaster story. The madcap disaster of Heaven's Gate is a reminder: Nothing like that ever happens in Silicon Valley.

The Fringes of Power, Sir John Rupert Colville
The diaries of Winston Churchill's principal private secretary are packed with quiet lessons about the art of leadership, the power of words, and the vitality and capacity of a man who had reached retirement age before his greatest hour struck.

The Birthday Boys, Beryl Bainbridge
The foolhardy quest of a group of Brits to be the first to reach the South Pole is a case study illustrating the perils of poor planning and vanity. Set against the backdrop of Robert Falcon Scott's expedition of 1910, this novel contains more lessons than any business school tract.

Leonardo: The Artist and The Man, Serge Bramly
A sensitive study of the talents, interests, and proclivities of the Italian artist. It's useful to keep this at hand for the innumerable occasions when a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is described as a "Renaissance Man."

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
I cringe every time I hear some corporate titan compare business to war. This extraordinary novel about World War I helps keep things in perspective.

The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
This put Mailer on the map. It also drew me to America. I read it every few years and always marvel at the story of all these immigrants fighting for the same cause.

A version of this article appeared in the April/May 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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