BY GEOFFREY JAMES @SALES_SOURCE
These books reveal the truth of how organizations really work, and
it's not pretty.
As anyone who reads this column knows, I'm a huge proponent of
positive thinking. However, positive thinking is delusional unless
it's based upon a clear understanding of how the business world really
Put another way: We can't make the world a better place unless we can
first see things as they really are. I've already pointed you at the
"Top 10 Motivational Books of All Time" in order to help you prepare
to make the world for the better.
The books on this list show you exactly what we're up against.
10. How to Lie With Statistics
Darrell Huff's classic 1954 tome explains how business people,
politicians, and the news media misuse "the truth" specifically to
mislead. As a touchstone and reality check, this book keeps you from
being duped by others. As a weapon, this book gives you vast power
over the ignorant masses. Please handle with great care.
Best quote: "A well-wrapped statistic is better than Hitler's 'big
lie'; it misleads, yet it cannot be pinned on you."
9. The No Asshole Rule
As much as we all wish it were different, there's no denying that some
people are jerks and that sometimes we're going to end up working with
them. The expletive in the title sets the tone for this book, which
also provides suggestions for avoiding, transcending, or even
utilizing these inevitable corporate sphincters.
Best quote: "Two-faced backstabbers...who have enough skill and
emotional control to save their dirty work for moments when they can't
get caught, are tougher to stop--even though they may do as much
damage as a raging maniac."
8. The 4-Hour Workweek
Hard work and long hours are the key to success, right? Well, maybe
not. In this widely praised (and criticized) book, author Timothy
Ferriss asks you to rethink the concept of work, revealing the sad
truth that 90 percent of what you're doing may be not just unnecessary
but actually detrimental to achieving the life you desire.
Best quote: "Alternating periods of activity and rest is necessary to
survive, let alone thrive. Capacity, interest, and mental endurance
all wax and wane. Plan accordingly."
7. The Peter Principle
Most businesses aspire to create meritocracies where the brightest get
promoted while the mediocre get culled out of the company.
Unfortunately, there's a downside to this strategy, according to
authors Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull. As companies grow and change,
all staff members (including CEOs) end up in over their heads.
Best quote: "Anything that works will be used in progressively more
challenging applications until it fails."
6. Crazy Bosses
The business press tends to lionize the heads of large corporations,
treating them as giants among the rest of us mere mortals. This
classic by Stanley Bing reveals the petty side of corporate privilege:
the extreme narcissism of the powerful and privileged psychopaths
who've clawed their way to the top.
Best quote: "After nearly 6,000 years of evidence on the subject, one
thing stands clear: the people who end up as leaders in any
organization, large or small, are often the craziest guys around."
5. 21 Dirty Tricks at Work
In this horribly fascinating book, authors Mike Phipps and Colin
Gautrey explain the most common ways that bosses, co-workers, and
employees attempt to manipulate one another. More important, it
provides specific advice for thwarting these attempts and getting what
you want at work.
Best quote: "Dirty tricks are more than just a career-threatening
nuisance; they also form part of the political backdrop to all the
great recent organizational scandals."
4. Don't Bring It to Work
Ever wonder why some people act childishly at work? Wonder no more.
Workplaces have a tendency to reproduce the family dynamics of the
people who work there, explains author Sylvia LaFair. She describes
the dysfunctional types, then provides suggestions to help them evolve
beyond their emotional limitations.
Best quote: "The reason most organizational programs abort is that
they fail to deal with our life patterns, which are at the foundation
of workplace anxiety, tension and conflict."
3. Poorly Made in China
According to author Paul Midler, the real story behind outsourcing to
China isn't how much cheaper it is to manufacture there; it's how
Chinese manufacturers destroy product quality and weaken brand names.
Once you read this, you'll know why just about everything you can buy
in the U.S. (but made in China) feels like a second-rate replica.
Best quote: "American companies...were no match for savvy Chinese
industrialists who often went out of their way to manipulate product
specifications to widen profit margins."
2. The Complete Yes Minister
Based on the acclaimed BBC TV program of the 1980s, this hilarious
book describes exactly how faceless, nameless bureaucrats wield the
vast power of inertia to frustrate attempts by clueless "leaders" to
move organizations in new directions. Read it once, read it twice, and
you won't get fooled again.
Best quote: "It's called 'the law of inverse relevance': the less you
intend to do about something, the more you have to keep talking about
1. The Dilbert Principle
Still one of the best (and certainly the funniest) business books ever
written. Author and cartoonist Scott Adams looks into the very soul of
the business world and captures the absurdity of much that takes place
there, puncturing every bloated corporate balloon that ever floated
past a cubicle.
Best quote: "We're a planet of nearly six billion ninnies living in a
civilization that was created by a few thousand amazingly smart