One Vastly Overrated List and The Solution

After writing providing us a list of The 10 Worst Business Books of All Time, Geoffrey James is back with his latest BNET slideshow titled 7 Vastly Overrated Business Books.

James cites is criteria for inclusion as:

You see them on corporate shelves everywhere and they’re cited at meetings, conferences and seminars, but when you dig a little deeper, and think about their contents, you’re forced to wonder WTF the fuss is all about.

His list is made up of:

  • The One Minute Manager
  • Winning by Jack Welch
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Atlas Shrugged
  • Who Moved My Cheese?
  • The Art of War
  • The Wealth of Nations

I know this is another run at creating link bait and I still can’t let it go. His choices and his reasoning are just weak.

First, he goes after the two biggest of business fables of all time. Both are simple tales designed to deliver a simple message. I used to berate these books and now appreciate them in the spectrum of what is published. THEY HELP PEOPLE. Accept them for what they are and just moved on.

Atlas Shrugged is a binary book. Either you like it or you don’t, but everyone should read it. Including it on a list like this does a disservice to the book and pushes people away from it.

The three books make appearances in The 100 Best Business Books of All Time with 7 Habits making the list of 100. You read The Art of War to understand strategy in a big way. The Wealth of Nations is too long for most to be able to spend time with it, but what we should remember is that it was originally published in 1776 and contrary to what James says, it still serves as a foundational book in the study of economics.

Winning is the only one I get close to agreeing with James on. This book was infinitely better than Straight From the Gut, but as a GE alum, Welch’s rewriting of history around his views of work life balance at the conglomerate didn’t sit well with me.

Let me offer a solution to such ill-conceived list making.

I just opened up the What to Read section of my website. There are two sections. The first is a Best of The Year section. The second section is 25 Great Business Books. The Best of List will update occasionally and the Top 25 list will get updated every two weeks or so with a book that is worth your time. There are RSS feeds for both sections so you can get the updates as they happen. You can also leave your comments on the book as they are posted.

This is my small part in trying to improve the conversation around business books.

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