Standard rags to riches stories, Japanese terms and endless quotes. Let's make a list of criteria that speaks about the uselessness of a business book.
I read a lot of business literature, and I already have my own set of markers, by which I can with high reliability distinguish a good book from a useless one long before the end of reading, and sometimes even before the beginning.
I’m not going to convince anyone that I’m right, so if the following are signs of a great book for you, well, fine, you will get more.
So, these are the signs of the uselessness of a business book (the more there are in the book, the worse it is):
1. Memories of Zig Ziglar
Zig Ziglar (agree, even the name is unpleasant) is a very popular "motivational speaker" in America. His performances are on YouTube, listen at your leisure. He teaches mainly a positive outlook on life, ways to achieve success, sales methods and other similar things. This is not a bad thing, it just doesn't fit with my view of educational projects at all. Accordingly, if the name of Zig Ziglar appears more than once in the book, it goes to the furnace. Forgive me once, he has sunk deep into the souls of many Western authors.
2. Memories of Yogi Berra
That is also a name. If you're not a baseball fan, you probably don't know who it is. And he, by the way, is the coolest baseball player in the history of this commercial version of rounders. I admit that he is great, but seeing his quotes and instructive stories about his life in every second book is a little tired. Again, if he was mentioned in the book once, we will forgive, but no more.
3. Constantly checking the ideas outlined in the book for compliance with democratic values
Democracy is a wonderful thing, although it is mistakenly revered by many countries as the only correct form of social and political structure (in fact, this is just one of the possible forms). But when the author repeats this on every page of the book about management, you begin to doubt his professional suitability. By the way, I have not met a single Western company that would be managed by democratic methods.
4. Endless conversations about the vision and mission of the company
When the author has nothing to write, when all his meager ideas, which would have been enough only for a notebook sheet, and he stretched them out over three hundred pages, are over, it's time to fill in the gaps with a burden about the company's mission. It doesn't matter what the book is about - it will do for anyone. Like the goal in a single project, the mission of the whole company is very important, but this topic should not be overused. The mission cannot be imposed, it can only be grown, it must come from within, not from the outside. It is especially funny when different authors express diametrically opposite judgments about the rules for developing a vision.
5. Quotes on every page
Often the author has nothing to support his idea, except for a quote from a long-dead Greek, Chinese or Indian. Given the diversity of opinions and the large number of people on the planet, you can choose the right quote for any idea. Quote to the point is good, but more often they are out of place.
6. Parable about the construction of the temple
This story is especially loved by young authors, it seems to them that there is no more beautiful story in the world. The story is really good, but, dear authors, show your imagination, there is no need to pass off stale sturgeon for the one you just caught.
7. The scheme "from rags to riches"
A rare book does not tell us about the difficult past of the author, which he defeated by an effort of will, and now he will teach us. It is clear that a person's life is a story about falls and attempts to rise. But when this is thrown out to us by the collar from the first page - excuse me. Especially books-motivators sin with this, for which I sincerely do not like them.
8. Caustic criticism of Enron
Yes, Enron is the most popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption. Yes, the collapse of this giant turned the Big Five into the Big Four. But how much can you? None of the popular business writers will ever come close to managing tasks of the magnitude that Enron has. Everyone knows how to criticize.
9. Permanent references to Japanese management practices
Firstly, the Japanese economy has long been not in the best condition, there would be someone to take an example from. Secondly, few people actually worked in Japanese companies and know how everything actually works there. Why write about something that you yourself have not seen? Thirdly, most Japanese business terms are perfectly translated into other languages, there is no point in creating unnecessary entities and arranging the terminological Babylon.
10. Instructive stories about Apple, McDonald’s, Kleenex and other Walmart
I agree that the average American's enthusiasm flares up when he hears about the exploits of the founders of all these famous brands. Just think, only half a century has passed. I am also ready to believe that all this can be sown in our stony soil. But it's too convenient and simple - to nod at the giants behind your back. Usually in texts where there are many such nods, there is one emptiness.
11. Equally instructive stories about 9/11
This is definitely a terrible tragedy. But the authors of business books are so fond of writing about it, they are so comfortable giving the reader a couple of examples from the story about airplanes and towers, and even telling how they would not allow it, which becomes disgusting. In hindsight, everyone is strong. Books that talk a lot about 9/11 have a place in the basket.
Of course, the presence of these markers in the book is not yet a verdict, but their abuse is a guarantee of uselessness.
Execution cannot be read. Put the comma yourself.