The Next Business Book to Read over a Glass of Wine
It is such a rarity to find a nonfiction book that has the page-turning characteristics of a fictional suspense-laced drama that when you do, you never forget it. That is what The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty was for me.
This book is a brilliantly written case study that teaches you various aspects of business without you even realizing it - all while pulling you into the intriguing and exciting world of the wine industry through the lives of three generations of the Mondavi family.
I was lucky enough to be assigned to read this book in business school and it has remained in my top list of favorite books ever since. From a business perspective, it takes you through the days of a determined immigrant and entrepreneur, to the start-up of a small business, to the transformation into an enormous business, and finally through the transition of a company going public.
And through this business chronology, you are pulled into the lives of three generations of the Mondavi family. Births, marriages, arguments, achievements, and disappointments - all tied together by their ever-changing family business.
I don't want to overlook the other obvious enjoyment you get from this book - an in-depth view of the wine industry from an American perspective. And because the book focuses on wine in America, you see the birth, development, and successful explosion of a brand-new industry. You learn about the grapes that are used, the land they need, and the competition that erupts from our European neighbors, followed by the wine industry's underdogs - Australia and South America.
Of all books I've read, none has paired as perfectly with a glass of wine as this one. It is a book I recommend to everyone I know, whether they are excited by non-fiction, drama, history, or wine. This is a must-read that I highly recommend for anyone interested in business or wine.