Co.Design

My (Updated, Slightly Changed, Hopefully Improved) Business Book Challenge

Almost a year ago I issued what I called my ‘Business Book Challenge.”  I presented the challenge as follows:

I have come to the conclusion that most (maybe all) business and strategy books are useless. They over-generalize. They offer little value. I go in with such high expectations, based on reviews and descriptions, and am almost universally disappointed.

I want to be find the business and strategy books that do help, that really deliver value.  I want to find the must reads.

I want books that offer guidance and support on how to start and run a effective businesses and organizations.  I’m looking for authors who really understand how to change people’s minds or understand their behavior.  I know there must be a book out there that can help me (and others) to be organized and efficient, creative, and successful. And of course, I want to find a book that offers really good advice on how to break through and make a difference/impact in today’s connected society.

I have been trying for years, with nothing to show for it.  So now, I am asking for help.

I had expected a flood of suggestions and ideas, but that didn’t happen.  A few people sent recommendations of books or authors to consider, but nothing stood out.  Most of the emails and feedback I received came from people who agreed with my assessment that the business book industry not meeting our needs, and/or who shared my frustration about the lack of helpful business knowledge and insights being proffered period.  My challenge went nowhere.

There are good books out there -- but I am not satisfied with the options that I have found, and I know more is possible (and needed).  NOTE: I shared some expanded thoughts over at ThinkingAboutMedia.com if you are interested. 

So, I want to re-issue my business book challenge — with a twist.

NEW, UPDATED, HOPEFULLY IMPROVED CHALLENGE: I am looking for a chapter from (or section, or excerpt, or piece of) an incredible, must-read, changes everything about how we do things kind of business (or strategy, management, economics, marketing, organizational behavior, leadership, etc.) book.

I am giving up my search for an entire book and instead focusing on the what pieces and parts from different books I can read — that when combined, will present me with a truly valuable body of knowledge and insight.  If you are an author who believes that what you wrote is game-changing, let me know which chapter I should read.  If you are a publisher who works with authors who you believe ‘get it’, tell me which piece of their writing is not to be missed. If anyone out there have a favorite books — ones that have changed your life, opened your eyes to a new way of thinking, or become the book you give you tell everyone they have to read to succeed — tell me which piece delivered the goods.

Here is my plan/promise:

- I will read and provide my thoughts on every chapter, section or excerpt that someone argues can deliver the desired value.  I will post thoughts here and cross promote everything I share on other blogs I support, through my twitter feed, in podcasts, and similar.

- I will trade emails, blog posts, or other correspondence with any author or publisher who wants to make the case for why their chapter stands out from the pack, and share the back-and-forth between us for everyone’s benefit.

- If/when I find a chapter that lives up to the hype and/or come across a book that is worth reading, I will shout it from the rooftops, write blog posts and articles selling its virtues, and buy copies for people I work with, work for, and provide advice to.

I have wasted too much time reading books (and other information) people say will teach me something, change my life, give me guidance on how to succeed, or satisfy my curiosity.  Most of the time the book simply doesn’t live up to its billing.  Please help me find the must-reads, one chapter at a time.

If you can help, leave a comment below, email me, send me a message on twitter (www.twitter.com/brianreich) or Facebook, or LinkedIn.  Whatever, just send me a message and let’s figure this out together.

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