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Reviews and tidbits about biz books

Mellon

By David Cannadine Knopf, $35, 800 pages

Banker. Art collector. Industrialist. Secretary of the Treasury. Despite all of Andrew Mellon's professional success, writes historian David Cannadine, his personal world was a sad, hollow place. This book reveals a man wealthy beyond imagination but aloof and estranged from his family. No surprise that, of all the presidents Mellon served at the Treasury - Harding, Coolidge and Hoover - he worked best with Silent Cal. (The two conversed "in pauses.") As secretary, Mellon's policies, including a push for lower taxes, would ring familiar today. And he had no qualms lobbying for his various companies while in office. Mellon's early tenure at Treasury drew much praise, but the Depression destroyed his reputation.

Carlos Lozada, Washington Post

Alpha Male Syndrome

By Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson Harvard Business School Press, $26.95, 276 pages

Do you always say what you think? Do you seldom have doubts about your ability to deliver? Then you might have alpha strengths. Do you see challenges as affronts? Do you have strong opinions about things, even if you don't know much about them? Do many of your work relationships have competitive undertones? Then you might portray the bad side of the alpha male. It's all laid out by Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson. As they see it, alpha traits can range from dysfunctional bullying to exceptional, "gloriously noble leadership." It's an intriguing book packed with serious research, quick quizzes to determine your alpha quotient and hints for moving from negative alpha to positive.

Amy Joyce, Washington Post

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