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Big business, big stories: Go behind scenes of Wall Street, Silicon Valley
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Big business, big stories: Go behind scenes of Wall Street, Silicon Valley

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Wall Street

Pedestrians pass the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

Wall Street and Silicon Valley are two of the most elusive and exclusive business capitals in the world. Teeming with uber wealthy businesspeople, landing a position in either of these locales may seem like the ultimate dream ... until you actually get there — and experience the fierce pressures that bring out the best (and often, the worst) in people.

This selection of books includes stories both true and fictitious sharing one common theme: They reveal exactly what happens behind the curtain at the companies that dominate the global financial and technology markets.

Looking for something new to read? Try these 6 paperbacks

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Maybe it’s no surprise that the writer of the world’s longest-running play, “The Mousetrap,” knew from drama.

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In movies and TV, Christie is the gift that keeps on murdering. “Death on the Nile,” from director/actor Kenneth Branagh, was set to open this month but shifted to December. A witty earlier version of it featured Peter Ustinov as Poirot, a role he also played in “Evil Under the Sun.”

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Christie was way ahead of M. Night Shyamalan in her ability to spring surprises.

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Christie scowls in virtually every photo, which might explain why she isn’t known for her humor, but she’s often hilarious. Her mystery writer Oliver not only eats apples in the bathtub (so did Christie) but she’s an amusing idiot savant who never stops complaining about the foreign detective she wishes she had never created. Both Poirot and Marple are funny in different ways, and Christie characters often toss off observations such as this, from “The Man in the Brown Suit”: “Everyone on a ship is always getting engaged. There’s nothing else to do.”

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Christie often borrows from history. Most famously, “Orient Express” takes place in the aftermath of a daring kidnapping based on the murder of the baby of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. An actual tragedy in the life of “Laura” actor Gene Tierney inspired “The Mirror Crack’d.” The social experiments of Stanley Milgram, which investigated our willingness to inflict pain on strangers, inform her 1950s books.

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Last year’s hit “Knives Out” saluted Christie’s trademark: assembling a cast of suspicious types in a grand house and bumping them off, one by one. Meanwhile, like “Downton Abbey,” Christie’s books chart the period in which those homes were falling into ruin because their owners couldn’t afford the taxes or the servants required to keep them up. Eventually, many became hotels or schools — which also became the setting for Christie murders.

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Theranos has consistently made headlines over the past few years for its failed attempts at revolutionizing medical technology. The company was valued at $9 billion, quickly making its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, a billionaire. The issue arose, though, when multiple clinical trials revealed that the blood-testing system did not actually work. This Silicon Valley screw-up led to thousands of misdiagnoses and unnecessary treatments.“Bad Blood” tells the full tale of the entrepreneur’s inability to swallow her pride, putting droves of Americans in danger.

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If you want the best of Christie, dive into “The A.B.C. Murders,” “Murder on the Orient Express” and “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” all with Poirot. The best of wily, small-town Miss Marple includes “A Murder Is Announced,” “Murder at the Vicarage” and “The Moving Finger.” And don’t miss Christie’s droll self-portrait, Ariadne Oliver, a writer who helps Poirot solve murders in “Mrs. McGinty’s Dead.” When in doubt, grab a book from the 1930s, a time when she could do little wrong, but skip the ’60s, when she tried to be groovy.

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