Trendy Biz Books: What's This Year's New Buzz Word?

Last Updated Sep 28, 2010 1:17 PM EDT

Page back through old fashion magazines and you'll see only one thing is constant -- change. Hemlines rise and fall as regularly as the tides and designers routinely flip through the usual suspects for the 'must-have color of the season'. This continual treadmill-like pursuit of the new might be fun (and profitable) in fashion, but could it be harmful if it were applied to business books?

That's the question tackled by my fellow BNET blogger Wayne Turmel in a post for Management Issues recently. As a blogger Turmel regularly receives the latest business titles and he already detects a trend for this fall's publishing season.

The business version of the new hemline will be: (let the fanfare blow) "living your values at work". Two such works are Stan Slap's Bury My Heart at Conference Room B and Mary Gentile's Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What's Right. There are plenty more on the horizon, but they demonstrate the trend. Apparently, this year it's all about working in a way congruent with your personal values.
Last year at this time, you'll recall the buzz in the management book-and-blogosphere was "employee engagement": how to achieve it for yourself, how to help your organization do a better job and what a lousy job everyone seems to be doing with it.
Besides questioning the taste involved in titling a business book with a cute pun on the name of a horrific massacre, what could possibly be wrong with a new focus for a new publishing season? I am a blogger and am familiar with the constant pressure to feed the monster something tasty and new. Turmel, though, sees a real issue with our collective distractibility.
What bothers me about this is not the subject matter. After all, who can argue with the notion that the way you and your organization go about your work should fit your spiritual and social worldview, and if there's a disconnect do something about it.... No, it's the cyclical and disposable nature of the content business that bugs me.
I can tell you precisely what will happen. Come October the blogs, articles and podcasts will be full of talk about values and will go strangely silent on the subject of employee engagement.... Just as that perfectly good dress still fits and looks great but suddenly no one will wear it, so employee engagement remains a topic worthy of discussion and action but will fade quickly to radio silence. And it's not like this time next year we will all be working in alignment with our core values and ready to move on to "Strategic HR" " Value-Aligned IT" or whatever the 2011 version of leggings will be.
Do you agree that the business world can be too susceptible to trends? And are you guilty of being a business book fashion victim?

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(Photo courtesy of jakub_hla, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.