kiss theory good bye, (well, not all theory because I have) five proven steps for results


Beware of books titled “Kiss Theory Good Bye” and ones which are further sub-titled “Five Proven Ways to Get Extraordinary Results in Any Company,” and where the author says: “Forget the platitudes and feel-good anecdotes from a few CEOs and business gurus. Get to the point—the how-to details that can actually help leaders get the results they need in the companies they run.”

The Publisher’s Weekly review of the book puts the final nail in the coffin (from Amazon):

Prosen…begins his book with six pages of endorsements from an assortment of CEOs, professionals and nonprofit managers and another six pages of self-praise. Unfortunately, his “five attributes of high profitable companies” are utterly familiar. They include “superior leadership, sales effectiveness, operational excellence, financial management, and customer loyalty.” Prosen offers equally prosaic advice for achieving them. For example, the secrets of “superior leadership” include hiring smart people, fostering a healthy corporate culture and communicating clearly-no breakthroughs there. Because the book attempts to cover the entire range of management skills in less than 200 pages, the discussions offer information that practically any business person should already know. (Will any sales or marketing professional be surprised to learn that the Internet and industry conferences can be useful sources of competitive intelligence, as chapter three patiently explains?) Prosen would have served his readers better by choosing one management skill at which he truly excels and providing in-depth, original insights into that topic.

I am being unnecessarily harsh in trying to make a larger point. In looking at business books, thousands pop up yearly, it seems like quite a jungle for the busy manager to have to navigate. What is theoretically sound, empirically validated and truly worthwhile and useful? We’ll post on these and other related matters in the future – and perhaps Brayden will even provide his own five to seven immutable laws for competitive advantage (though this might cost you $24.99).

Written by teppo

July 31, 2006 at 6:27 am

Posted in books, teppo

4 Responses

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  1. […] A google search of the recently published book “Kiss Theory Good Bye” brings up this post as the second result. That caught me by surprise. And, undoubtedly this might be troubling to the author (whom I do not know), as potential buyers are likely to quickly search for further outside reviews and information before spending time and money on the book – even if the book does provide its tantalizing “five proven steps for results.” Needless to say, I am not too thrilled about kissing theory good bye, and thus challenged the book just based on its title (surely the author’s five proven steps have some theoretical assumptions embedded in them as well). […]


  2. Not sure about the other bloggers here or who reviews these books, but this book IS a rarity: a spartan, brass tacks manifesto to shape companies up and upgrade their performance. Teppo is right that the number of business books offered up each year is staggering. And, the more highly promoted/backed ones, aren’t necessarily the best ones (like with anything). But this little gem is the genuine article. Its like “The Prince” for rulers. I like that his advices were long on application and short on theory. Its kinda like this advise for health: brush/floss your teeth regularly, eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest. Good friends and a good disposition towards life also help. Only, if everyone knows this, why don’t we all do it. Same with this guy’s book for business.


    Lambert Mathieu

    August 9, 2006 at 9:10 pm

  3. […] The more important point is that we now have dozens and dozens of bestselling books which heavily sample on the dependent variable, meaning, simply pick top companies and see what they are up to, and report their ‘findings,’ rather than systematically analyzing the full range of the data and carefully building theoretical reasoning for their arguments. (Some would even like to kiss theory completely good bye!) […]


  4. […] no, we are not always this kind to popular press books here at orgtheory, in fact, rarely […]


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