Good business advice from non-business books – why not?

The Economist has an interesting article in their Schumpeter column, 23rd January 2010 issue.

It began “Margaret Thatcher regarded Beatrix Potter’s “Ginger and Pickles” as the only business book worth reading”.  It then went on to cite other tales from Beatrix Potter which could also contain important business lessons.

Having read nearly all Beatrix Potter’s tales, without any danger of nodding off, I’ll venture that most business management books are far more soporific than these books (or lettuce: see Flopsy Bunnies).

In that case, let’s disrupt the world of business publishing.  If it’s possible to learn useful business lessons without wading into the plethora of business management tomes, what alternative books would we nominate and why?

After all, Lucy Kellaway, in her column for the Financial Times, has also written about “management tomes to make you groan” (Dec 21st 2009) in which she runs through nominations for the “bad business book award”.  This is not to say that all business books are useless of course, I think that would be a little unfair (although Mrs Thatcher may disagree)!

However, I’m going to continue the Beatrix Potter theme, and would like to start the running by nominating The Tailor of Gloucester (a personal favourite).  Business lessons:
– You won’t be able to do everything on your own all the time
– Having a loyal colleague – or colleagues –  is invaluable.
– Help can come from unexpected quarters and may even be of better quality than you could have managed in-house.
– Look after your health

What book would you suggest?

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