The BusinessWeek Best-Seller List

At some point, writers of inspirational management books are going to run out of animals. Fish, mice, sharks, squirrels, beavers, and geese have helped point the way to wisdom. Now, with this month's No. 10 hardcover, Whale Done! from the Ken Blanchard book machine, even Shamu gets into the act.

Whale Done!'s fundamental idea is that you can, uh, attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. "Catching people doing things wrong is easy," observes one of the book's fictional characters. Instead, we're told, managers must accentuate the positive--just as SeaWorld's whale trainers do. Managers should praise subordinates who perform well, redirect those who make mistakes, and instill a desire to excel.

This isn't much different from the advice Blanchard offered in his 1981 best-seller, The One Minute Manager, which instructed bosses to "catch people doing things right." But that one had no animals. In today's zoo, that book seems like a dinosaur.

By Hardy Green

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