It’s been a long day and all you want to do is go to bed. But there’s the latest “must-read” business book staring at you. Before you brew a pot of coffee and crack it open, consider management consultant and best-selling author Dave Logan’s advice.
He says most business books belong on one of two lists — “If you don’t know this already, you should be working at the DMV” and “If you do these things, your company will become the DMV.”
Here are his three reasons why most business books are destined for failure:
1) Most use stories to cover their complete lack of insight. Logan read a galley of a book that he hopes will never come out. After some catchy anecdotes about hero CEOs, it advised, among other things, that leaders figure out what’s really important, then do those things.
2) Second, the stories themselves often highlight the wrong message. Business success isn’t a checklist, it’s a dance: with the market, employees, investors, customers, landlords and creditors — not to mention spouses and kids.
3) Most business books are air sandwiches: empty in the middle. One of Logan’s mentors told him to read the first and last chapters of a book, because everything in the middle is either stories or takeaways so simple that watching Mr. Rogers is a better use of your time.
What’s on Logan’s best business book list?
1) Read “The Odyssey” to understand character, purpose and discovery.
2) Read “Atlas Shrugged” to clarify your own position on how the political economy should run.
3) Read “Ender’s Game” for how genius and leadership pull people in opposite directions.
None of these books have takeaways or to-do lists. They matter because they make you think.
Source: BNET, August 2011