April 12, 2005
News & Opinion: Fairy Tales in BusinessLand
I always find it interesting how books seem to go in cycles. Chances are if you see one book with a particular angle you will see another with a similar angle. And they usually come out around the same time. The music analogy would be Britney and Christina. I have two books on my desk right now that are using children's tales to illustrate lessons in business. The first is Aesop & the CEO: Powerful Business Insights From Aesop's Ancient Fables by David Noonan (Nelson Business). In the book, Noonan tells 46 of the classic fables. Each section start with a three or four paragraph telling of the original story ending with Aesop's Moral. The story is following by two to three pages explaining the application to business and the Business Moral. The fables are divided into sections like Rewards and Incentives, Winning Business Strategies, and Negotiations, Mergers, and Alliances. I like what Noonan did with the book and would recommend as an airplane read. I am not as thrilled with the other book. Mette Norgaard is the author of The Ugly Duckling Goes to Work (AMACOM). Her approach was to take the tales of Hans Christian Andersen and apply them to the workplace. She uses six of HCA's stories and I think that is the problem. In each section, you get a summary, a HCA trivia fact, the classic tale, and then a section on how it applies to work. I didn't find the summary much different from the actual story. It made it hard to get into the business application and read the lessons I should have learned for a third time. There is just not enough there for me. I'd say skip this one.