No More Bad Finance Books, Please

The appreciation of art–and here I put an emphasis on literature–is a subjective exercise. One person’s cover-to-cover page-turner can be another’s doorstop. While it’s difficult to please everyone, a high quality book will get recognition from a good number of people. According to this Bloomberg article there are more than 11,000 business books published annually. A significant portion of those titles undoubtedly cover finance and investment topics–though not all of them do it well.

Bad finance books are happening

The reason I raise the topic of finance books–and bad ones in particular–is that in the span of one single day I heard multiple horror stories of vainglorious book projects wrapping up or already completed in several countries. Several top executives on both sides of the aisle–asset manager and institutional investor–had spent 12 months or more and a significant portion of time to produce works that were described to me as ‘awful,’ a ‘train wreck’ and ‘merdique.’ Ouch.

There are lessons to learn

No one contends that producing a book is either easy or straightforward. But the tales recounted to me touched on a number of things worth mentioning:

  • Books created solely to feed an author’s ego make the world a sad place.

  • A book project can be a distraction–for the author–or a disruption in the workplace–especially if the heavy lifting is delegated internally.

  • Quality content serves a purpose–e.g. a book must have a reason to be read.

Luckily, these points can be addressed by working with a content marketing coach, journalist or ghostwriter to help identify your objective and shape your story. Writing a book is a rather hefty undertaking. Having a coach help to bring structure to your thoughts and flush out your voice can make the process more efficient. Writing a bad book takes just as long, if not longer, than writing a good one.

On a more positive note

To pay forward some positive karma, I’ve compiled a list of good finance books that I think have particularly effective storytelling elements. This list is voting-enabled, so please jump in a vote for your favorites, or add titles that I may have missed. Also, please add comments below to share your feedback on bad finance books.