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Monday, 5 November 2007

This week’s great read

What a wonderful day! My business worries are over. Someone has e-mailed me about a book that “provides readers with proven business intelligence from C-Level executives (Chairman, CEO, CFO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies nationwide.”

I like the conjunction of “world’s” and “nationwide” – a sort of unconscious giveaway, really. You know it's all going to be drivel from that point on.

But gosh, what must it feel like to be a “C” level person, not just a sad little scribbler? And there was more! “Each chapter is comparable to an essay/thought leadership piece and is a future-oriented look at where an industry, profession or topic is headed and the most important issues for the future.”

How could anyone who writes like that produce an essay? The subjects of the various reports gave me a good insight into what to expect. For instance, “Setting and Reaching Benchmarks" and "Using Internal Metrics to Benchmark Performance" not forgetting "Maximizing Performance with Effective Benchmarking" and "The Importance of Analytics in Today's Complex Organizations".

I was a little disappointed to see no use of the words “vision” and “mission” – but there was good stuff about leadership and strategy, so that’s alright. Anyhow, if I had any doubts about what was in store they were quelled when I read that “Through an exhaustive selection process, each author was hand-picked by the Inside the Minds editorial board to author a chapter for this book”.

I have never for the life of me understood why jargon-constipated people “author” things when they can write them. God knows, writing is hard enough. But then I have never understood why people buy books like this when a sympathetic, understanding doctor will prescribe sleeping pills.

What I have noticed, though, is that people who use this sort of language are almost invariably useless at doing anything. As Winston Churchill noted, "Big men use little words."

Another thing I have noticed is that very often this year's "thought-leader" is next year's overpaid drone who's been found out and is scuttling off with his or her massive, utterly undeserved pension, plus compensation for loss of office and so on, having lost millions for shareholders and lots of jobs for the poor bloody O-level workers.

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