The good, the bad and the ugly of busines books

Or perhaps this should be called the great, the good and the ugly.

The Great

CrucialconversationsCrucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High
is a great book. If you have ever had an argument that you've regretted, you'll appreciate what this book is trying to teach you.

The authors explain that when we get in an argument, adrenaline takes over and we don't end up arguing in our own best interests. We forget what we want or how to get it and we focus on winning.

They give lots of examples and tools to try to teach you how to "dialogue" better. Unfortunately, it sounds really hard, almost impossible. (Which the authors recognize and they give you a pep talk and some tips at the end.) I'm going to try to use a couple of their techniques and I'm keeping the book. However, don't expect any miracles here. (Although if I learn just one or two of their techniques I think it will be good for both my career and my personal life.)

The Good

Brazen caeerist
Penelope Trunk is a good writer which makes Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success an easy read. The book was funny, entertaining and usually pretty accurate. Supposedly it's full of controversial career advice for Generation X and Yers but I thought most of it (but not all) was good advice. I'd recommend this book as a graduation present for a new college graduate. Penelope gives lots of practical insights like "What you like learning about is probably what you like to do" as well as advice on interview questions, when to use IM or email and what to do in the case of sexual harassment. If you've been in the work force a while, you might not find it super useful but it's an easy read and you might find a few nuggets.

The Ugly

In the case of The Science of Getting Rich, you'd be better off not listening to the writer's words but rather doing what he did. In this case he wrote 105 pages with 2 inch margins, and a catchy title. And in case you're short on words, he has lots of examples of fillers like "And further", "It is evident", and "The question arises here". And blank pages between each chapter. Then you sell your book on $7.99 on Amazon. For a weekend's worth of work, you might make a few dollars.SS-20090127153948

Note that other people feel differently. My used copy was heavily underlined and highlighted (until page 50) and the book is rated an average of 4 stars on Amazon by 105 people. What I should have paid attention to was the rating distribution. 15% of people, 16 people, rated it a 1 star.

I thought it was terrible and gave it 1 star as well.

So that's the great, the good and the ugly: