Role swapping – not for all

Why do most business books suck?  Asks Ben Casnocha.  While promising to air his own views later, he has excerpted from an insightful “Uncle Saul”.  I liked it.  Hope you do too.

But I sensed something was awfully amiss. It never touched on who writes those books.  Are they really qualified to write?  Mostly these are anecdotal biographies that are often written in retrospect, in reported speech. Not by the entrepreneur that had the first hand experience.  Professional writers build up great readable passages, but they are not much use when someone buys the book to fix a mess.

So here goes my comment under that post.

“I remember the Chinese General Sun Tzu quote “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”. It happens in the publishing world as well.

An added reason why most business books suck is it is written by professional writers (or worse -management consultants spending not more than a few hours watching an enterprise) who also dabbled in entrepreneurship. It may lean heavily on logic and rationality (the damn book has to sell) but will make little commercial sense to a reader having real customers to service or having a business to run. An entrepreneur is infinitely more impulsive, latching on to opportunities as they come.

He lives with endless series of challenges and a book is the last thing on his mind. It’s a rare day when a hugely successful entrepreneur also happens to precipitate great content because reality is often brief and unromantic and is not elastic enough to fill beyond 20 pages in bold print. A writer usually relies on his reflections and fertility of his imagination centered on experience of someone else (an entrepreneur whom he knew), and it loses flavor as it occurs in retrospect.

And as you say, the publisher often prescribes the size and substance on the basis of most recent sales trends projected by analysts which a writer has to cater to. Value to reader or authenticity of content figures nowhere in that list of priorities. So they invariably suck.

The reason why I love blogs by hands on guys.”

Did you feel the same way?  Do you harbor a different view?  I am all ears.



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