Books by Academicians; Books by Practitioners; Books by Story-Tellers – all three are valuable to read

Thinking about books and their authors…

I have presented synopses of business books every month for over 21 years.  And I have presented synopses of books dealing with social justice issues every month for over 12 years.  Add in other presentations prepared at the request of  of clients, and I am pretty sure that I have prepared and presented synopses of close to 500 books over the last two decades.  (For the first nineteen years of the First Friday Book Synopsis, my colleague Karl Krayer would present one book, and I the other. He has not been able to continue, due to his health; so I now present two book synopses each month)

I am thinking about categories of business books, and the authors who write them. I think I have come up with a simple way to “label” the books.

Why do so many incompetent men#1 – Books by academicians.
These books are valuable because these are books written by serious students of the business world. They conduct studies; they read, and incorporate into their books results from other studies.  And they write their findings, with plenty of detail to back up their arguments.
Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?: (And How to Fix It) by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, which I just presented at the August, 2019 First Friday Book Synopsis, fits into this category.  It was a valuable book to read.

#2 – Books by practitioners.
These books are valuable because they are books written by folks who have “been there and done that.”  Their real-world experience is very valuable.  My other book from this August’s event, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss, is this kind of book. He is a former FBI negotiator.  His real-world negotiating experience provided great, valuable insight for all of us who have something to negotiate. (And…we all do).

The Making of a ManagerOne of my two books for our September event also fits in this category: The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo. One thing I like about this book is that she is not a manager looking back after years of work, but she in the midst of learning as she goes; becoming a manager at a young age.

#3 – Books by story-tellers.
These books are valuable because…well…we are shaped by stories.  And the very best story-tellers are in great demand.  I think of authors like Walter Isaacson, and Malcolm Gladwell, and Charles Duhigg, and the new book Range by David Epstein.

These books usually make the most enjoyable reads. And I especially love to prepare these synopses for that reason.

(Personal note: I read Steve Jobs on my iPad, the last new product Steve Jobs was able to introduce)

(Personal note: I read Steve Jobs on my iPad, the last new product Steve Jobs was able to introduce)

There are probably other categories.  But it seems that these three cover a lot of the titles I have selected and presented through the years.

Of course, there is “crossover.”  All good books have elements of all three categories.; academicians can also tell stories, and do… But, most books seem to fit more fully into one of the three.

This much I know – a good book has so much to offer!


Check out my synopses of the books I present at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  Each synopsis comes with my comprehensive, multi-page handout, along with the audio recording  of my presentations.  Click here for our newest additions.  The synopses of the books I presented in August will be available soon.

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