The problem with business news books
Bryan Burrough, the author of “Barbarians at the Gate” who is now a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, writes for The New York Times on Saturday about the problem with many business books.
Burrough writes, “A lot of business books I see are written by consultants and others who I suspect seek to use the books as giant business cards, a way of garnering attention, or worse, speaking engagements.
“But the root problem, I’ve long sensed, isn’t the amateurs, it’s the professionals — those of us who write about business for a living.
“It’s an open secret that many business journalists didn’t set out in that direction. I know I didn’t. Like me, many of my peers stumbled into the field by opportunity or accident and learned the ins and outs of the corporate world on the fly. (When I joined The Wall Street Journal, they had to explain to me the difference between revenue and profit.) For some writers, business journalism remains a ghetto they wouldn’t mind fleeing.
“Yes, there are many contented business writers. But the number of e-mails I have received from those seeking advice on how to escape to broader horizons indicate that many are far from satisfied with their lot.
“And therein lies the theory that dares not speak its name: Could it be that business journalism has not attracted the best and the brightest? There are many good writers out there, to be sure, but as a whole I’ve never felt that the business journalists compare favorably to those who follow politicians, serial killers, even football players.”
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