A book by David Sheff detailing Nintendo's path in becoming (at the time it was written) the biggest video games company ever.
The book begins by tracing back the family of the current Nintendo boss, Hiroshi Yamauchi. The company was founded in Japan by Hiroshi's great grandfather, Fusajiro Yamauchi, in 1889, when it used to make hanafuda or playing cards. Hiroshi had a somewhat interesting childhood, with his father running away and leaving him when he was five. His mother, disgraced, (since divorce was nearly unheard of in Japan) moved in with her sister, while Hiroshi moved in with his grandparents, who were running Nintendo. When he found out that his father he had been taught to hate had died, he mourned for months - and it was said that a part of him never healed.
Troubled or not, though, Hiroshi is clearly a very shrewd businessman - the book charts him having 3 different R&D teams, each lead by a different designer (Gumpei Yokoi, Masayuki Uemurra and Genyo Takeda) and with a fierce sense of inter-team rivalry which spurred everyone on to creating more playable games and more ingenious hardware. He could apparently tell if a product would sell just by looking at it - not a man for a second opinion.
Undoubtedly the man's greatest moment of genuis was hiring Shigeru Miyamoto on instinct alone - a good decision, you might say.
The book is very comprehensive, and goes on to cover Nintendo breaking into the American Market, the Game Boy, getting the rights to publish Tetris, ending with the introduction of the Snes. Overall, If you've ever wondered how Nintendo made all the money (because it must have had a lot in the bank to have not gone bust when the N64 flopped compared to the Playstation), or if you just want to know who designed your favourite game, you have to get this book - it's the best written book on games I've ever read.
yerricde says "During the N64 flop years, the Game Boy carried Nintendo."