Some Business Books are More Equal Than Others

3 November 2010

Or… all business books were not created equal

I recently spent half an hour in my local library browsing their business titles.  The more books I flicked through, the more depressed I felt.  As I read snippets from here and there, I felt talked-down to, patronized, and my hackles were raised. Even my feminist side got rubbed the wrong way with some ‘macho’ writing.

A lot of the titles seemed to be following the same template, and were so general as to be virtually useless.  However, in addition to that, I tried to put my finger on why these books felt so repulsive to me, when I’m actually interested in the subject. 

So this is what I came up with:

  • A lot of the writing is too general, with not enough examples, because they are trying to cater to everyone (= make as much money as possible).
  • Often, in order to bolster their own expertise, the subtext is that these are difficult topics – they are not!
  • Cliché after cliché after cliché was trotted out.
  • There was very little new or interesting or inspiring – it felt like there is a master book out there where others copy from.
  • A lot of the books are a deathly combination of being too basic and boring and having too much unexplained jargon and unnecessary complexity.
  • They don’t feel ‘real’.

I brought a bagful of the books home, and in an odd way I am finding them inspiring – first of all, I am now planning a book of my own, and secondly, I am now on a quest to root out the truly good books that are out there.
I promise to keep posting them on my amazon page as and when I find them.  My criteria are:

  • Useful information – ie is it worth my time to read this?
  • Readability – is the book a slog to read though, or do I get my info easily?
  • Enjoyment/entertainment – who said it has to be dull?
  • A feeling that the writer has something genuine to impart, a passion for what they do, letting their personality shine through, and not just another gray, bored person, thinking they will make a quick buck with a book.