When I posted "The Worst Business Books of All Time" I mostly listed books that were considered pretty good when published, but which in retrospect were useless and worse.
To build that list, I had to examine some pretty awful business books, but I didn't come across any that were as truly awful as the one I now hold in my hands.
It's entitled "The Problems of Work" and it's by the hack science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who also founded Scientology. The book is a truly amazing combination of cliche and idiocy. Some representative quotes:
- "The ability to hold a job depends, in the main, upon ability."
- "One may be both able and intelligent without succeeding."
- "To eat we must have a job."
- "Once we had the rich to look toward and envy. But now the taxes that we bear have reduced, despite their clever accountants, even their number."
- "The chaos of insecurity lies in the chaos of data about work."
"One instance comes to mind of a crazy girl for whom nothing could be done... but one night near the asylum an auto accident occurred and an overworked doctor, seeing her near, ordered her to do some things for the victims. She became well. She became a staff nurse. She was never insane thereafter."Sometimes the book simply lapses into meaningless gibberish:
"Until one selects one datum, one factor, one particular in a confusion of particles, the confusion continues. The one thing selected and used becomes the stable datum for the remainder."Say whut?
Now, imagine an entire book full of this kind of stuff, along with plenty of references to places to "learn more" in an obvious attempt to recruit new members for the church, which is apparently founded on the idea that people can use a simplified lie detector to transform themselves into super humans.
Of course, Hubbard isn't the only founder of a religion who can't write worth beans, but this book is so wretched that it makes the book Jesus, CEO read like Shakespeare.
Let me put it this way: "The Problems of Work" holds the exact same place in the world of business books that "Battlefield Earth" holds in the world of science fiction movies. It's almost worth reading, just to marvel than anyone, anywhere, thinks it's worth reading.