These business books take two very different approaches to business and to me, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ is the clear winner.
Both books deal with the same scenario: you face a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. In ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, Sam I Am (our protagonist) needs to sell a plate of food to a customer who presents a valid argument against the purchase: he doesn’t like green eggs and ham. For the engine in ‘The Little Engine That Could’, he needs to climb a mountain while hauling clowns and animals.
‘The Little Engine that Could’ is the guidebook for people who confuse effort with results, and is a triumph against the odds. This theme makes for great movies (or children’s books), but is a bad strategy in business. Here’s what’s so terribly wrong about The Little Engine and his chances of succeeding:
Our little Engine — our Rocky Balboa of the railroad set — certainly achieved the impossible. He was setting himself up to fail, yet didn’t because of the author’s simplistic, misguided belief of the following:
“If we just try hard enough, it will happen.”
A lot of business books appear to be based on this. That said, a lot of business books are fit only to keep wobbly tables from rocking back and forth.
Let’s compare this with Sam I Am from the Dr. Seuss classic:
In the end, Sam I Am showed the more realistic business approach — combined with a solid work ethic — and was provided the resources and training to succeed. (It is also perhaps the only business book written that rhymes.)
While both protagonists had the will to succeed, Sam was set for success with his adaptability, focus, and understanding of the marketplace.
So…would you rather have Sam marketing your product or that Engine?
(Photo credit: Children Enjoying Reading via Shutterstock)
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