Fraudulent Management Books

21 July 2006 at 10:19 am 4 comments

| Peter Klein |

Be careful when purchasing management books in China:

As Chinese economy and private business grow rapidly, books on western company management and leadership strategies have been on the list of top sellers in many bookstores. However, it is discovered recently that a lot of the best-sellers are bogus books.

Execution Ability, a popular series of seven books written by “famous Harvard professor Paul Thomas”, turned out to be bogus. “This professor and his books are now very famous in China,” said Jiang Ruxiang, general manager of Beijing Zion Consulting Co., Ltd. Jiang discovered that there is no such a professor Paul Thomas at all.

Another example is a book titled “No excuse”, with fake American writer and fake New York Times review as “The most perfect reading for company employee training”. It was the best-selling management book in 2004 with sales of 2 million copies. . . . 

Examples of [fake] “honors” include “2003 No. 1 sales on Amazon”; “Endorsed by U.S. Land, Navy and Air Forces.”; “Every U.S. government employee has a copy”, etc.

HT: JC Spender.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Management Theory, Myths and Realities.

Patently Silly Syllabus Bleg

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JC  |  21 July 2006 at 4:43 pm

    Ah, but if they seem to work as well as the genuine article? Then what?

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  21 July 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Perhaps this is management’s version of the Sokal affair!

  • 3. cliff  |  22 July 2006 at 3:24 pm

    it was in fact a marketing measure in such an immature market.

  • 4. JC  |  22 July 2006 at 9:44 pm

    But the Sokal affair was designed to humiliate the academic publishing system – a sort of Emperor has no clothes deal. In spite of its success, I would wager it has had little or no impact on academic publishing.

    What I was suggesting with my snippy comment was that stuff that works for those that read it, whether airport stuff or the bogusly marketed, seems as effective and valuable as much (most?) of the stuff that appears in our A-journals. If we look at the list of self-improvement books, and how they sell, those that succeed may have little theoretical substance but meet some kind of test in the market. And we think that important, no?

    The ‘experiment’ in Beijing touches on the relationship between quality and reputation in our business. Apart from anything else it/was a great ‘natural’ experiment, the kind we are seldom able to perform.

    I guess I’d like to know more about what actually happened – or is happening.

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