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August 2, 2005

News & Opinion: More matter, with less art

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 3:02 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Could someone please explain to me why Business Week doesnt review business books? This week the magazine shares the value of a recent book on the history of water policy around Yosemite National Park; in recent weeks it has limned books on art theft, and wine maven Robert Parker. These are not business books so much as "business" books.
My issue is not that the BW reviews are bad; they arent. Nor would I deny the argument for including a wide range of reviews in the magazine by appealing to managers better side, the one that interprets business broadly. But I would still find this argument pallid considering the general media treatment of business books. You can go to Arts and Letters Daily and find scores of sites offering one-hundred-score reviews of books, many of them top-notch. None of these publications, online, or off, give business books more than a passing thought. They are generally scorned---treated as diet books, for managers.
Business Week has the opportunity, not to mention the editorial space, to bring an informed and discerning eye to the ever-increasing number of books that are published for the business crowd. But it squanders this precious piece of real estate, a full page every week, on titles that are frankly dilettantish. While editor of Fast Company John Byrne did a great job of keeping readers aware of current ideas and great reads. One can only hope hell take that approach back to his old Maggie.