Recapping Business Novels and Adding a New One

Since the early days of this blog, I’ve been fascinated by the concept of the “business novel” or fable and have blogged about every one I’ve come across.

At the end of this entry, I’ve listed all the biz novels (I think) that I’ve ever featured in this space, with links to the original posting about each.

I’m also adding a new one to the roster: The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea, by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Here’s a description:

In 2008 a “little story about a powerful business idea” took the business world by storm with its message: that shifting our focus from getting to giving is the simplest, most fulfilling and most effective path to success in business and in life.

Rapidly going from national bestseller to global phenomenon, The Go-Giver soon gained a devoted following in its original English and in more than sixteen foreign-language editions. From schools, churches and hospitals to law firms and information technology companies, individuals and groups around the world have applied the book’s Five Laws of Stratospheric Success to their organizations and businesses, relationships and personal lives.

The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. And so one day, desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by his many devotees simply as the Chairman.

Excerpt from the book:

Pindar smiled. “Please don’t misunderstand me. There’s nothing wrong with making money. Lots of it, in fact. It’s just not a goal that will make you successful.” Reading the bewilderment on Joe’s face, he nodded and put his hand up to signal that he would explain.

“You see,” Pindar continued, “the majority of people operate with a mindset that says to the fireplace, ‘First give me some heat, then I’ll throw on some logs.’ Or that says to the bank, ‘Give me interest on my money, then I’ll make a deposit.’ And of course, it just doesn’t work that way.” Joe frowned, trying to parse the logic of Pindar’s examples.

“You see? You can’t go in two directions at once. Trying to be successful with making money as your goal is like trying to travel a superhighway at seventy miles an hour with your eyes glued to the rearview mirror.”

This year, the authors published a follow-up book, Go-Givers Sell More. “The new book is not a parable or story,” the authors write, “that is, not exactly a sequel to The Go-Giver. (A “real” sequel to the story is also in the works, but that’s going to be a surprise for 2011.) Instead, this book is more like a Go-Giver Companion, a set of short, essay-like chapters about applying the Go-Giver principles to real-world situations, especially in the context of sales and selling. The book is also punctuated by several dozen real-life stories of people we know who live these principles.”

By the way, the authors offer downloadable and other goodies here.

Business novels and fables previously featured on A Storied Career

Barbara Fillip of Knowledge for Development, LLC, is also fascinated with business novels and compiled a helpful list of examples. I posted an entry with her a link to her list, but her posting has a new address since I first posted in 2008.