Looking for a Good Book

How many times have you picked up the most recent business guru’s book and only made it past the first few chapters before it started collecting dust? No need to be embarrassed, I’m guessing that it happens to most of us. I’ve got my share sitting on my nightstand.

If you are like me, you start the book with high hopes and aspirations. Often the first chapter builds interest and excitement about how you can apply this innovative thinking in your work.

Then, nothing happens. You read a couple more chapters, the initial idea seems to go nowhere, you lose interest and put the book down forever. You’ve probably forgotten what got you excited in the first place.

In his blog on bnet, Dave Logan argues that it’s not our fault that we lose interest. Logan lists three reasons why “business books are bad for you”: 1) they lack real insight; 2) they often send the wrong message; and 3) they are “empty in the middle”.

I’m sure a lot of you read his list nodding along, shooting daggers over at your bookcase. However, there must be some of you (I hope?) who thought, “yes, but…”. What books have you read that are truly inspiring? Any books that you read through quickly and actually found yourself (dare I say it) enjoying?

For my part, at the recommendation of a colleague, I read The Goal by Goldratt, a book about process improvement. I wasn’t particularly interested in reading a book about process improvement,but the narrative style and skin-in-the-game character made it easy to continue to pick up, and his insights were interesting and useful without being overly complicated. Most importantly, and I think the point that Logan makes in his blog, is that the story is insightful beyond its most obvious message.

The thing is, I really enjoy reading. Before making reading a chore (see this how to video), I’m looking for some recommendations. So, what books have you read recently that were really great, that inspired you, or were, at the very least, enjoyable?

Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights


3 Responses

  1. Krysty, I just read and loved The Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel.

    It is interesting, gives real life examples, doesn’t self-serve (as Joel has a marketing company), and has practical applications for the reader.

    I definitely recommend it!

  2. Thanks Stephanie! Sounds like a good one to try!

    Since writing the blog, I’ve started reading 12: The Elements of Great Managing which has a similar feel to what you are describing above – very real and practical.

  3. I agree that sometimes business books, especially reading them before bed, can help put you right to sleep. A colleague of mine has a theory that to get the most out of business books, he only ever reads the first few chapters as you can get any lesson from those chapters. I tried it and for some books, the theory does apply.

    However, if you are looking for a good book, I recommend Drive by Daniel Pink. There is tons of buzz about him right now and the theory of motivation and engagement are hot topics in today’s workplace. If books are not your thing, check out his TED talk, it is just as good for hearing his main ideas.

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