Friday, December 12, 2008

Book Review: BizzWords

BizzWords: From Ad Creep to Zero Drag, a Guide to Today's Emerging Vocabulary By Gregory Bergman

I've been putting off writing this review for some time. I finished the book within days of receiving it from Mini Book Expo for Bloggers, but have delayed in writing the review. I'm not sure what exactly my reason is, but that's also how I feel about the book: I'm not sure exactly. Formatted like a dictionary, and written like bad comedy, BizzWords purports to be "A Guide to Today's Emerging Vocabulary".

There are plenty of terms that cause a chuckle, such as Dot Snot defined as a "young arrogant person who got rich by owning a dot com company" or when people stick their heads over a cubicle wall when there's noise or something interesting happening is called "prairie dogging". Some of the terms actually have merit, and are useful if you're not familiar with business language and need or want to know such as angel investor, action items or red chip. There are others that have little utility and are more descriptive or just interesting.

My problem with the book is what I haven't been able to resolve about the book. That is; What is the book's utility and the intention in writing it? Is it meant as a serious guide to emerging vocabulary? Then it should act like it and skip the silly terms while embracing a more dictionary style format and form. Define the term, origins and provide an explanation without the weak attempts at humor. This would make the book far more interesting by providing a context to the words and, over time, perhaps an evolution of the terms (or extinction). There are serious terms that are actually very descriptive and interesting, but are ruined by bad writing. A prime example of this is "Brightsizing" where a company lays off those with the least seniority while retaining older workers. The book proposes that these "new employees, who are often younger are typically the best trained and educated..." Interesting concept and decent description ruined by

"Signs that your company has been brightsized:
* The highest level of education among your employees is now the tenth grade.
* In the lounge, magazines like The New Yorker and The Economist have been replaced by coloring books.
* In the design department, the Mac has been replaced by the Etch A Sketch."

Ultimately, there is some utility in the definitions BizzWords provides assuming that you can overlook those that aren't useful or just plain silly, but I can't say I'd want to hand over my $9.99 to take this home from my local book store.

From Adams Media

A review for Mini Book Expo: Full Disclosure

Thanks for supporting Maine VRC.

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