Per Robin's fantastic suggestion last week, I thought it might indeed be fun to list some of the business books that most annoyed me on my search for the best business books of the year. They are as follows, in no particular order:
Dave Ramsey's The Money Answer Book. This one I actually reviewed for Library Journal earlier in the year, and it really pissed me off. Ramsey is one of those financial writers who take one simple idea (don't use credit cards) and leverages it to the hilt*; he's known as a financial guru for helping people get and stay out of debt, with a twist of right-wing Christian fanaticism (this book also contains numerous questions and answers about the necessity of tithing to one's church). What REALLY pissed me off about this one is that it's a reprint, but it's a reprint no one cared about updating, because at one point Ramsey refers to the importance of putting the maximum amount toward one's yearly IRA limits, and he cites $3,000 as the individual max, which is wrong (it's 5,000 currently). Now, that is a big error on a pretty basic and important piece of information, and it shouldn't be a hard piece of information to verify during the reprinting process. Lame, super lame. Wonder what Ramsey's faith says about greediness in reprinting books quickly for the maximum amount of profit. I suppose if he gives 10% of that profit to his church all will be forgiven.**
Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us, by John Quiggin. It's got a catchy title and cover, but this is still a very dry academic text about popular economic ideas and how they don't always hold up.
Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry, by Steven Rattner. I was hoping for more out of this one, but it is just TOO BORING. What I'd like to read on this subject is a really good, insightful, and short article about it by someone like William Langewiesche.
The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion, by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison. This one ended up on a lot of other "best business books" lists this year, but I thought it was completely dull and never really did figure out what the authors were saying. Under the heading "What to Expect in this Book" the authors say this: "Pull is about expanding our awareness of what is possible and evolving new dispositions, mastering new practices, and taking new actions to realize those possibilities." (p. 6.) Bleah. I ask you, doesn't that sound like an undergraduate trying to pad with business research paper with words that don't mean anything? Snore.***
Those were the biggest offenders. Anyone else read any lousy business books last year and want to share?
*Mr. CR thinks Ramsey is actually pretty good at what he does, making the simple point that some people can't handle credit cards and therefore shouldn't have them. I don't know how a person lives without a credit card, especially if they have to do ANY traveling or purchase anything online, and would argue that the true nuance would be having a credit card but learning to control yourself with it, at which point Mr. CR points out that sometimes nuance is just beyond people. It's a fair point.
**I lied about the no particular order. I hated this one the most.
***No links to books today; I don't want you to buy any of these.