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Five of the weirdest management books you’ll ever read

3 min read

10 November 2015

They can be a source of inspiration, insight and useful information – or they can end up in the bin after just a few minutes.

Everyone has reached for a management book for guidance and tips at some point in their careers and the authors of some of the world’s best selling books on running a company and managing a team have made a fortune into the bargain. 

The challenge these days is to find something new to say and to make your great work stand out. When it comes to ideas some authors have wackier ideas than others.

(1) “Bodybuilders in Tutus”

The subtitle to this work is: “and 35 other obscure business-boosting observations”. It’s actually a collection of essays about marketing. The title comes from a reference to the author’s discovery that bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger visited a ballet studio to learn about graceful movements so that he could incorporate them into his bodybuilding poses. 

In case you’ve missed it, the message of this particular anecdote is about the value of taking yourself out of comfort zone.

(2) “Managing a dental practice – the Genghis Khan way”

Running a dental practice as a business includes a lot more challenge than many of us realise – apparently. This book looks at the achievements of the great Mongol warrior and leader and explores his skills such as intelligence gathering, understanding the enemy and adopting new technologies. It then applies them to the workings of a dentists’ surgery – without those murders and kidnappings, though.

(3) “How to succeed in business without a penis”

At its title suggests, Karen Salmansohn’s book is aimed at those members of the workforce who don’t own this particular accessory. 

From the author of “How to make your man behave in 21 days or less, using the secrets of professional dog trainers”, Salmansohn analyses gender roles and offers advice to women about balancing their female qualities with what are traditionally seen as the masculine ingredients for success.

(4) “Jesus CEO using ancient wisdom for visionary leadership”

Every worried that your boss has something of a Messiah complex? This book, written by a marketing and advertising expert, makes the interesting analogy of Christ as a CEO who built up a staff of twelve followers into a successful enterprise. 

As well as being the Son of God, he also managed to run a team by keeping in constant with his boss, clearly defining his followers’ work related benefits and realising that nobody wins until we all do. That whole crucifixion business, on the other hand, took a bit of explaining to the shareholders.

(5) “Aim Low: Quit often, expect the worst, and Other good advice”

Forget all that stuff about striving to succeed, pushing the boundaries and being all that you can be. Aim low, advises Dave Dunseath, a marketing graduate who is now a session musician, and you’ll never be disappointed. You’ve already got all the skills you need to underachieve – so go for it.