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Advice Books Are for Christmas, Not for Life


Addiction to business self-help books is causing a shortage of leadership skills among UK managers, says a training and recruitment expert.

Millions of pounds are spent on management guides each year in the UK and, with more than 100,000 business management titles currently listed on Amazon, they are sure to be popular stocking fillers.

Stephen Seymour, of training and recruitment consultancy The Urquhart Partnership, believes books are great novelty gifts but are not useful for practical business advice.

He said: "A visit to any bookstore or supermarket quickly reveals the UK's obsession with business self help manuals. From Dragons' Den to Sir Richard Branson revealing the secrets to success, people are spoilt for choice.

"UK professionals should follow the examples set in Europe and America and nurture and grow talent through courses, coaching and mentoring and staff interaction rather than believing the answer to good management skills lies in the pages of a money-spinning title.

"Self-help guides may seem a convenient way to improve skills and gain insight into broadening your business but they cannot compare to the diversity of learning which comes from interacting with trained experts."

Self-help books are seen as a discreet way of topping up skills and Seymour believes this is why the British favour them.

"The stiff British upper lip is hindering workers. In America and Europe, employees welcome guidance on self improvement but here we would rather rely on a book, which we can discreetly seek help from.

"The millions of pounds spent on these guides could be better ploughed into staff training, which would give workers the chance to develop their skills in the workplace, rather than looking for advice by leafing through a book, he said.

"Training and advice can be brought in from an outside consultancy when the need arises and this not only ensures companies are getting the most up-to-date input from trained professionals but means they can also raise queries.

"It is difficult to have a discussion with a book!"

The Urquhart Partnership is an independent consultancy specialising in helping employers source, manage and develop staff. For further information go to

Top 10 Business Management Bestsellers This Christmas, According to Amazon:

1. Dragons' Den: Success, from Pitch to Profit
2. Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion
3. Who Moved My Chesse?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life
4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity
5. The Second Bounce Of The Ball: Turning Risk into Opportunity
6. Good to Great
7. Gerald Ratner: The Rise and Fall…and Rise Again
8. The One Minute Manager
9. E-myth Revisited
10. Now, Discover Your Strengths: How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage


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