Not enchanted with "Enchantment"

I’ve read a fair number of business books, but I stopped reading them when they all started to sound alike. I have limited time for reading and so I want to read books that “blow my hair back” as Will Hunting would say.

I made an exception to my abstinence from business books when Guy Kawasaki’s publisher offered me a review copy of his new book Enchantment. The book confirmed my decision to lay off the business literature. I was surprised how much of it I’d already read elsewhere before it arrived. Much of it is a compilation of ideas and stories that were popular on the web last year. Enchantment isn’t a bad book, it just isn’t very original.

This made me think of Robert Ghrist‘s quip about new books:

Reading anything less than 50 years old is like drinking new wine: permissible once or twice a year and usually followed by regret and a headache.

I can’t imagine that Enchantment would stand such a test of time. Hardly anyone will be reading it a couple years from now, much less 50 years from now.

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6 thoughts on “Not enchanted with "Enchantment"

  1. I’m so happy someone thought the same. I just said yes to the publisher because I thought why not – free stuff – but couldn’t get more than a few pages in before being totally bored out of my mind. There’s some great business books out there (queue The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker) but this isn’t one of them.

  2. Hi, John. Have you read Mortimer Adler’s “How to Read a Book”? His chapter on inspectional reading alone could save a person countless hours of time. I’ve found that most books can be understood in less than an hour. As Adler mentions in the last chapter, there are probably 1 in 1,000 or even 1 in 10,000 books that are worth the time it takes to truly understand them.

  3. I could see how this could sound like I’m criticizing the book for being too old and too new.

    When I said that the book contains material that was popular on the web last year, I wasn’t thinking “That’s so last year,” criticizing the material for being out of date. I was thinking “stuff that everyone has been talking about recently.” My thought was that if you were up on web memes last year, you won’t get new ideas from reading Enchantment.

    On the other hand, there is something particularly worthless about one-year-old pop culture. Nobody wants to read last week’s newspaper. There’s some demand for today’s newspaper (though not as much as there used to be!), and old newspapers can be interesting for different reasons. In Ghrist’s case, he reads blogs and classics, news and the tried and true, but not much in between.

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