All Business Books are Bunk — well almost all of them

I used to like business books…but then I read a bunch of ’em.

I recently found a really cool resource — or at least it seemed so at first glance. It is EBSCOHost’s collection of business book summaries. Awesome right? Over 3000 business books distilled down to ~9-11 pages! Now if someone mentioned a book, it would be quick to run and get a general rundown of the content and sound like I was in the know. Well, okay that part is cool…but, what I determined about business books overall was not.

For the most part, most “business” books that aren’t say textbooks, or biographies, etc. typically boil down to the same forms of nonsense:

  1. The author makes some fairly clever claim, and then sites every instance where that claim has proven itself out, and then they uses those examples as “proof” that their claim is the “truth”.
  2. The author takes one topic, that could be adequately conveyed in one chapter, and they let it ooze out repeatedly in minutely different formats throughout. For example, Hernando De Soto’s Mystery of Capital … don’t get me wrong, the general concept covered in the book is incredibly thought-provoking and interesting — but — it’s about 250 pages too long…and the book is only ~290 pages.
  3. The book is a hodge-podgery of business buzzwords, that says very little of substance…but the author will throw in a few of their own phrases/terms to try to be quotable in everyday business parlance.

This is why I feel the vast majority of my future reading will be outside of the business genre. In fact, I’ve given some thought as to why I would ever read a business book in the future.

This is my list of “reasons when it seems worth it to actually read business books” …

(at least so far — please feel free to add your own in the comment section below)

  1. I’m changing jobs and I need to learn new commonly used vocabulary in that field.
  2. One of the leaders in the organization recommends the book — and career advancement is at stake if I don’t read it
  3. I’m going to interview for a job, and I’ve seen a given book on my future interviewer’s bookshelf or in their social media list of favorites.
  4. It discusses some new form of technology that no one knows a lot about yet, (or at least I don’t, and I’m the odd one out.)


Outside of these factors my reading is going to consist of fiction, biographies, history, and other non-business non-fiction.


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