This post started a few months ago, with a little Amazon sale – an event that always ends with a shit ton of biz books and trashy novels on my Kindle and doorstep. Because it doesn’t count if they’re 99p, obvs.
I remember thinking “YES!”, I can review all of these awesome business books and really sound like I know what I’m talking about. I can learn EVERYTHING I need to know before taking the next step in my business. But then a lot of these new purchases of mine ended up being considerably less than awesome… but I still had this need to review them. As if that’s what I was supposed to be doing… even if I didn’t want to. I was driving myself a little crazy, always seeing it on my to do list, so I decided to turn it all on its head, and share all the things I really can’t stand about biz books, and trust me, there’s a lot!
Most business books are mediocre; some are even useful. However, there are a few business books that are so idiotic in concept that it’s incredible they got published.
– Geoffrey James, CBS Money Watch
Self indulgent anecdotes
I don’t want to read about your life story right now. I may at some point, but on that day, I’ll be shopping in the memoir aisle, not the business section. Don’t market your stuff as a biz book and then forget to include practical lessons for all the readers eager to learn from your success.
Bad spelling and grammar
I’m slightly (very slightly) more forgiving if I find typos in a blog post – we’re all guilty of occasionally rushing and forgetting to proofread properly. When you’re writing a book, there is simply no excuse. This is one of the downsides of this self-publishing craze – it makes people lazier, and more willing to cut corners. Do you honestly think you’re going to look like an expert if you don’t even know where capital letters should live?
Being in the world of online entrepreneurs is a bloody minefield. You can barely take a single step without crashing into a hackneyed phrase or two, and this has trickled down into biz books too. People seem to latch onto turns of phrase and use them (and use them, and use them…) until the words lose all meaning. Saying things because they’re “of the moment” is a sign of an unoriginal mind. Not a trait I’d admire in a business mentor, you?
Woo woo without the science
I’m a creative type. I like the airy fairy, but sometimes I find it all a bit much. If you’re making shit up without any evidence to back up your claims I get really annoyed. It’s a waste of my time. If you’re trying to convince your readers of something, you need more than just words. Being “heart-centred” (or whatever you want to call it) does not mean you should let go of all common sense.
A book should offer something of value to the reader. It might be an actionable tip, a new perspective, or maybe just a few hours of enjoyment. Either way, we should be getting something out of it. Biz books that are simply 200 pages of self-promotion are a waste of paper, that’s what ads are for. Don’t make me pay for your sales pitch.
There’s a startling trend of pulling together a bunch of old blog posts and calling it a book. What an absolute con. I’m all for repurposing that great evergreen content, but add something new. Don’t charge us for something we can easily access for free.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not condemning all biz books. I LOVE books, and that’s the problem. I have shelves (and many a Goodreads list) filled with books I can’t wait to read… but I often feel like there isn’t enough time IN LIFE for me to read all of these. When I waste my time on something rubbish, I get in a grump.