The Business Week Best-Seller List

DON'T LOOK FOR ANY NOVEL insights into software's biggest mogul from Bill Gates Speaks, the No. 14 hardcover on this month's list. Author Janet Lowe has made a cottage industry out of packaging previously published quotes and descriptions of the rich and famous, from Warren Buffett to Oprah Winfrey.

Still, since Gates has been interviewed extensively and rarely holds back--except when he's being grilled by federal prosecutors--there's plenty of engrossing material. Lowe's first three chapters cover Gates's early years as a computing child prodigy in suburban Seattle, as a Harvard University dropout, and as a young entrepreneur who loved fast cars as much as all-night software-coding sessions. The middle section focuses on Gates's confrontational management philosophy and his competitive drive. And, toward the end, we learn about Gates the human being--who gamely sang ''Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'' on national TV at Barbara Walters' bidding.

Lowe clearly admires Gates, and her tone is cloyingly sweet. But she does poke fun at Gates's quirks. Example: When dating a woman from a different city, he arranged for them to see the same movie on the same day so they could talk about it later on their cell phones.

That's fun stuff. But it's fluff. For real understanding of one of the world's most influential people, stick with a more serious bio, such as Stephen Manes' and Paul Andrews' Gates.


1 THE 9 STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM by Suze Orman (Crown $23) Practical and ''spiritual'' steps for managing money.

2 THE JOY OF WORK by Scott Adams (HarperBusiness $22) Office pranks and ploys to fend off the cubicle blues.

3 TITAN by Ron Chernow (Random House $30) John D. Rockefeller Sr., the devil and angel.

4 THE CRISIS OF GLOBAL CAPITALISM by George Soros (PublicAffairs $26) The billionaire hedge-fund manager sounds the alarm.

5 THE ROARING 2000s by Harry S. Dent Jr. (Simon & Schuster $25) Why the good times won't go away.

6 THE 48 LAWS OF POWER by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers (Viking $24.95) Thoughts of Machiavelli, Talleyrand, and other power brokers distilled.

7 THE ELECTRONIC DAY TRADER by Marc Friedfertig and George West (McGraw-Hill $34.95) Hopping in and out of the market electronically.

8 WINNING EVERY DAY by Lou Holtz (HarperBusiness $25) Follow your dream, says South Carolina's new coach.

9 HOW TO BECOME CEO by Jeffrey J. Fox (Hyperion $15.95) Succinct rules for getting ahead.

10 WORK IN PROGRESS by Michael Eisner with Tony Schwartz (Random House $27.95) Disney's chief reflects on work, life, and mortality.

11 LOSING MY VIRGINITY by Richard Branson (Times Business $27.50) Sex, business, and rock 'n' roll, from the airline and music company executive.

12 RAVING FANS by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles (Morrow $20) Turning customers into your biggest boosters.

13 SELLING THE INVISIBLE by Harry Beckwith (Warner $16) A collection of bite-size lessons on marketing.

14 BILL GATES SPEAKS by Janet Lowe (Wiley $16.95) Snippets of speeches and writings by Microsoft's man.

15 INFORMATION RULES by Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian (Harvard Business School $29.95) Navigating the network economy.


1 THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR by Thomas J. Stanley, PhD, and William D. Danko, PhD (Pocket Books $14) The simple ways of the wealthy among us.

2 THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey (Fireside $14) Habitually popular.

3 THE MOTLEY FOOL INVESTMENT GUIDE by David and Tom Gardner (Fireside $12) The online duo puts it on paper.

4 DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF AT WORK by Richard Carlson, PhD (Hyperion $11.95) Methods for minimizing stress and conflict.

5 DIE BROKE by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine (HarperBusiness $14) Forget about the will--and the conventional wisdom, says a financial adviser.

6 AGAINST THE GODS by Peter L. Bernstein (Wiley $14.95) Risk management in the making of the modern world.

7 THE 1999 WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? by Richard Nelson Bolles (Ten Speed Press $16.95) The enduring job-search bible.

8 INVESTING FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson, MBA (IDG Books $19.99) From stocks to small business--with cartoons, too.

9 J.K. LASSER'S YOUR INCOME TAX 1999 by the J.K. Lasser Institute (Macmillan $14.95) It's coming.

10 YOU'VE EARNED IT, DON'T LOSE IT by Suze Orman with Linda Mead (Newmarket Press $15) Financial planning--and mistakes to avoid.

11 THE MOTLEY FOOL INVESTMENT WORKBOOK by David and Tom Gardner (Fireside $12) ''So where do I find stocks'' and other queries, asked and answered.

12 THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER by Kenneth Blanchard, PhD, and Spencer Johnson, M.D. (Berkley $11.95) Three management techniques, conveyed in brief story form.

13 THE ONLY INVESTMENT GUIDE YOU'LL EVER NEED by Andrew Tobias (Harcourt, Brace $13) What's more, it's expanded and updated.

14 THE DILBERT FUTURE by Scott Adams (HarperBusiness $12.95) Prognostication from the prolific cartoonist.

15 PERSONAL FINANCE FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson (IDG Books $19.95) Lighthearted primer.

BUSINESS WEEK's Best-Seller List is based on a survey of chain and independent booksellers that carry a broad selection of books on economics, management, sales and marketing, small business, investing, personal finance, and careers. Well over 1,000 retail outlets nationwide are represented. Current rankings are based on a weighted analysis of unit sales in December.


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