The Business Inflexibility Trap

Business books today are a sorry lot indeed. Sandwiched between the get-rich-quick manuals and the even-losers-can-get-a-job tomes, today's business library is a dreadful mix of business school doublespeak and trite platitudes. Sure, you want to be more productive, more effective, more efficient, and more profitable—pick your adjective, and then choose your book. Maybe it's full of cases, like so many courses on the road to an MBA. Or maybe it's full of quaint distillations of wisdom. Either way, the chance that reading a particular book will actually help you address whatever intractable problems you face at work is an unlikely proposition at best.

At the bottom of the barrel of the business book world are those books that attempt to talk about information technology (IT). After all, what business manager in her right mind doesn't roll up her eyes at the thought of a business book that deigns to address issues of technology? After the last decade's plethora of books on digital-this and E-that, and that ridiculous “New Economy” thing (what were we thinking?), the whole idea of a business book that even brings up the topic of IT causes publishers to run screaming.

There is an enormous irony in this sad state of affairs. That irony arises from the simple fact that IT is more important to business than it ever was. Name your business goal—productivity, profitability, efficiency, what have you; today, they all depend on IT. You'd think that ...

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