OK, nothing to do with the usual economic democracy stuff, but I’ve just been perusing economics and business books. Have you noticed how every recent book seems to have a categorical, unequivocal and narrow by-line which claims that it has ‘the’ answer:
‘Good leaders: Why emotional intelligence is the key to outstanding leadership.’
‘People focused: How open book management can make your business thrive.’
‘The collapse: What caused the financial crisis and how we can stop another one.’
OK, I made these up, but they could just as easily be replaced with by-lines from existing books (For example, the best selling business and finance book today is Steve Peters’ ‘The Chimp Paradox: The mind management programme to help you achieve success, confidence and happiness’).
What’s going on here? Is it:
- That, with the prolific use social media, the world has become so noisy that publishers need to make every book they put out sound like it is the answer, thus cutting through all the others?
- That publishers think people – especially people interested in business or economics – are so busy that they need someone (this book) to just give them the answer?
- That publishers think the rise of science in so many domains of life means that people only listen when people have something that sounds objective, rational and beyond simple refutation?
It’s probably all of the above (plus publishers tend to copy each other).
Wouldn’t it be much better if publishers provided us with by-lines that acknowledge the ambiguity and complexity of their topics:
‘Leadership: why it’s hard to put your finger on what it is and how to do it well’
‘Economics: part ideology, part science, part art’
‘Innovation: how to combine luck, old ideas, new processes and occasionally produce something original’