If I had one hope for the new year in business books, it would be that the genre of fables, followed by related concepts and principles, would fade away. Speaking for me, this approach has worn out its welcome. The first splash, and obviously, big hit in this format was “The One Minute Manager” in 1981. In fact, that book is still on some best-seller lists. You are likely aware that many of the Ken Blanchard co-authored creations followed in this format, including “The Leadership Pill,” “The Secret,” and others. Other authors have found success with this format. One of the best examples is Patrick Lencioni’s hit, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” and several others that followed from his pen which we have featured at the First Friday Book Synopsis. Don’t forget about Spencer Johnson’s work, “Who Moved My Cheese?” It’s not that there is anything necessarily wrong with the books that use this format. Indeed, some would argue that if publishing a readable fable is the way to get people to read business books and learn business principles, then the format has served its purpose. The problem is that like anything else, how many times can we go to the well? The approach is no longer fresh and certainly not unique. I think that this format has reached a saturation point of where it is actually counter-productive, with readers flipping through the fable, moving to the back of the book for the key points and principles, and leaving dissatisfied. I can only speak for myself, but I am ready to move forward and embrace some different approaches. What do you think?
Karl J. Krayer, Ph.D. – President – Creative Communication Network