Posted by: Kristen Ridley | February 8, 2011

Business book titles are dumb

dumb business booksI was reading a communications publication today which included a review of a book that sounded like it might possibly worth purchasing.

Now, in general, I have long felt that many of these books are mildly pompous at best, and dangerously oblivious of what it’s like in the REAL business world at worst, but now and then I do find one I decide is worth buying (after I check it out of the library first of course).

What I want to rant about today though is the titles of some of these books. Full disclosure: I probably have a higher than average level of eye-rolling, lip-curling disdain for anything that smacks of “self-important, “I’m an expert, and you’re not” [remember Chevy Chase on SNL?] or “Take-my-advice-cause-they-paid-me-a-big-advance-and-they-better-get-it-back-in-sales” types of books.

So being the cynic I am, I usually pay little attention to them, but today when I went to the Business Books section on Amazon to check out the book I read the review of, I couldn’t help but raise my eye-brows at some of the titles I saw there. Here’s a sample of actual titles which really made me wonder about who names these books, and how the process works based on the results (my snarky comments follow each title in parentheses):

• X-Teams (Oooh, is this like the X-Files? or maybe a new X-Men movie sequel?)

•The Opposable Mind (Just like the opposable thumb, it’s what sets us apart from the apes…except on Mondays)

•Human Sigma (“Yep, the word Sigma will sell anything, and if we attach it to “Human” they’ll eat it up”)

•Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Cause, yeah, doing things without thinking has always delivered EXCELLENT results!)

•The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (With a title like this, the only really improbable thing is me ever buying this book!)

•The E Myth Revisited (This sounds more like a sex book than a business book to me)

Admittedly, I’m being irreverent here, and I freely admit I know nothing whatsoever about what may or may not be inside these books, so it’s quite possibly unfair of me to make fun of them. But seriously, when did it become de rigeur to use Nietzsche to give titles to mainstream business books?

I guess it’s the communicator in me, but what’s so wrong with the idea of giving a book a clear, simple title that tells you what it’s actually ABOUT?!

I’m telling you, this is what I call a sweet gig – sit in a cushy office in some fancy-schmancy New York publisher’s high-rise and just fantasize up important-sounding titles for a bunch of business books. I could so do this job – I always got straight A’s in creative writing.

So here’s what I REALLY want to know – how can I get that job coming up with names for business books? Anyone? Bueller???

Okay, your turn. What’s the dumbest title of a business book you’ve ever come across?


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