The Relativism of Business Platitudes
Sometimes I start to read a business book and don't even finish it. Or if I do finish it, I wonder why I wasted my time reading it. I won't give a list, but this doesn't include books I blog about. I only blog the ones I like.
My problem is that too many business books are filled with platitudes that get you pumped until you figure out that you have no idea how to apply them (or until you realize you've read them a million times before). It almost makes me mad that so much of the same stuff is out there.
But I've been thinking about that and I realized something. Most people don't read a lot of business books. I think most people read business books the way I read programming books – as needed. When they get promoted, when they take a new job, when they face a particularly tough problem at work, that is when they go and look for a book with answers. And I think that despite all the disgust I have with some of these books, the right thing at the right time can mean a lot. Even a cheesy platitude may give you a tiny creative spark or enough information to push you over that hump you face at work, if it's relevant.
Maybe book stores target the wrong people. Instead of looking for people that read business books for general knowledge, maybe they should seek out people who have a specific situation to which a few good books can apply.