Why are business books so awful
I thought it was just me. I always get depressed when I pass the ‘business and management’ section in an airport bookshop. How can people write such gibberish? And why would anyone read it? The only explanation I can think of is that most managers spend their entire working lives trying (unsuccessfully) to keep chaos at bay, and delude themselves that if only they could discover The Secret then they will get on top of things. This is a delusion because there is no secret: chaos comes with the territory. But how nice to find the learned Economist weighing in on my side. Quote:
“If you want to profit from your pen, first write a bestselling business book. In few other literary genres are the spin-offs so lucrative. If you speak well enough to make a conference of dozing middle managers sit up, your fortune is made. You can, says Mark French of Leading Authorities, a top speaking agency, make a seven-figure income from speechifying alone.
Given this strong motivation to succeed, it is astonishing how bad most business books are. Many appear to be little more than expanded PowerPoint presentations, with bullet points and sidebars setting out unrelated examples or unconnected thoughts. Some read like an extended paragraph from a consultant’s report (and, indeed, many consultancies encourage their stars to write books around a single idea and lots of examples from the clientele). Few business books are written by a single author; lots require a whole support team of researchers. And all too many have meaningless diagrams.”