A first caveat is that I’m not sure it is possible to have any book that I completely disagree with. In fact I’ve read some extremely silly books but found some value in each of them – if only that the different perspective usually provokes some thought. As a publisher I can assure you that I have read many many business books that fall into this category.
My second caveat is that it’s not just one book but a series of books that provided one of the stimuli for my own book publishing. I don’t think I could possibly completely disagree with the content of the series of books, but I totally disagree with the concept of these business books.
My problem is with XXXXX for Dummies. It’s not the implied insult that buying one of them lays an individual open to that worries me. It’s not the individual elements in the books, but it’s the comprehensiveness of them that drove me mad. From those that I read, I did derive benefit and ideas – but I have never actually either finished one or managed to extract enough to reward the time taken. If you want an encyclopedia of any subject, then they are fine – but I found that the benefit from the time invested was minimal. Yes, it is possible to treat them as a resource, going back to them on occasion and going to the index, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually done that. There is a mass of undifferentiated information that covers each subject in great detail, in excruciating detail, and they are written by highly knowledgeable people and they are holistic and I am sure that a lot of people have found some use for them.
On the other hand, I wanted books that were focused on what I needed to know in order to be successful written by people who had been successful doing what they explained in the book and which I could read and finish.