Overrated to Priceless

Business books. They are dry and self-righteous and simply drag out meaningless platitudes across hundreds of pages. I say: trust your instincts, go with your heart and work non-stop until you succeed.

So reads one emailed-in proforma pop-quiz 'interview' response (in this case, to The Times) of Richard Branson's memoir audiobook release promo.

Business books. In itself a label open to varying interpretation.

Does he mean course book style instructionals?

Or merely The Big I Am staple of the 'how I did it' trope?

In which case, surely his own tome here would also qualify?

Shame a follow-up question couldn't occur. His thoughts on any 'decent' such business book (written by someone else), even if as an exception-that-proves-the-rule slant, may well've been tasty.

At least he distilled his 'meaningless platitudes' to a single line, triple-shot mantra.

I am duty bound to say that my latest trio of business books are neither 'dry' nor 'hundreds of pages'. Also pleasingly served in bite-sized morsels, just like one of his current favourites reads. Which he cites as detailing '21 Lessons...'.

There is though an angle on which he and I do agree. The worthless vastly outweigh the worthy.

When considering reading any such book, your purpose is I think paramount.

Are you reading for a bit of escapism? As much as you can be transported when reading about your worklife topics.

Or merely to gain a decent piece of knowledge? Something to work on clipping to your worklife belt?

Kind of like, 'you pays yer twenty bucks, hoping to get one gem for life'.

Such books don't quite often follow that format though.

One key point can indeed take many chapters to position, explain and illustrate.

Not forgetting the often seismic shift in perspective and accompanying steadfastness in resolve such new elements require of the reader once finished reading.

Perhaps reading a listicle instead is his preferred route? Likewise there's folly in autoplaying through Youtube/TikTok/Instagram 'guru' clips. Same with a twenty minute podcast portion of banter.

Which is to say, I think he's missing a point though.

The mere opening of a business book - including the subset of sales books - suggest desire to take something new from it.

If you're not reading, are you truly learning? Let alone, to quote the master path of Chandler, applying what you learn?

I tell you something else. Prospects disposed towards you will typically love it when you tell them what you're reading. A revealing qualifier, in fact.

Maybe it's time to pick out a business book. You can always deploy 'fast failure' if ego-riddled, misperceived rubbish. And make a note of any killer takeaway.

When was the last time you modified, added or removed something from your selling approach where the source was other than a colleague? Going back farther, how many book-driven tweaks have you adopted down the years? What do those you admire say for their career improvements?

And as footnote, might you also grant me temerity to suggest, try one of mine for starters while you're at it...!

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