Don’t get me wrong. I read one or two books a week. I am happy about how much I read but I do get a complex when I read about how much my hero Tom Peters reads.
The topic of some business books are simple
“I will teach you how you can get what I got without you having to pay the price I paid in that journey…”
The story goes like this. A successful executive (today) shares his story of success. Just so that it does not feel like a fairy tale, the person tells about all the mistakes he made on the way to the top. He admits that he sacrificed his personal life (family, health etc.) in return for money, fame and other material things and now he feels guilty of those mistakes. He outlines his strategy with a series of tips and techniques of what YOU could do differently. He does not want you to pay the price that he paid. If you follow those tips and techniques you are guaranteed success without the side-effects that the person experienced.
I have the following points to make:
1. The above picture paints a guarantee of no guarantees. The analogy I can think of is this. You are driving and you see a fork. You take one road (Remember Yogi Berra – when you see a fork in the road, take it) and you went through an experience that led you to where you are today. You now write a book filled with tips and techniques that one should follow on the other road (at the fork) that you never traveled.
2. The book may really have good advice. But the author cannot provide proof points from personal experiences if the author didn’t go through that experience. However, if the advice is backed up by other ways it may make sense.
3. When you read a business book, you have to look for the proof points and the applicability to your current situation. Not every advice is applicable to everyone. Otherwise it will be physics book.