9.08.2010

Badly written business books in bright orange

Just read two semi-recent business books, horribly written (why are they always so?) and branded in bright safety orange: Andrew Keen's The Cult of the Amateur, and Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind.

Both might be right in the short and long run (and are certainly at least half right), but Keen's is unconvincing. histrionic, and full of blanket, unquestioning statements like "We need to reform not revolutionize an information and entertainment economy that has reinforced American values and made our culture the envy of the world." (That doesn't sound like an argument I want to get behind.)

Pink's worst crime is he acts like creativity is crazy some new thing and we're lucky that our American business people are able to behave now like those crazy artist-types they've heard so much about for so many years. He also makes no attempt to predict what will happen in 10-30 years when our so-called competitors (India, China, et al.) are just as "CREATIVE" as we are...

Keen's worst worst worst crime, in a book full of attributed quotes, in a book about separating the trained, publishable professional from the "untalented" amateur is on the last page of "The Great Seduction" chapter:

Quote:

In a cartoon that appeared in The New Yorker in 1993, two dogs sit beside a computer. One has his paw on the computer; the other is looking up at him quizzically.

"On the Internet", the dog using the keyboard reassures his canine friend, "nobody knows you're a Dog."

Endquote.

No attribution. No mention of the professional behind this tidbit of wisdom. It's just "The New Yorker."

Hey pal- it's by Peter Steiner and it's his JOB to write and draw cartoons. Credit your source.

Here's hoping Jaron Lanier's book (next on my list) isn't as horribly written. No safety orange on the cover, but bright bright lime green. What is it with these books?

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