Aug 15, 2009

Steve Forbes' Desperation For Bestseller Credibility: Having Employees Expense His Book [Forbes]

You'd think Steve Forbes would be content having his name slathered all over his various properties. You'd be wrong, because Forbes wants to be the author of a bestseller, too. Badly. Badly enough to spend company money buying his book.

Forbes recently authored a book on the megalomaniacs who proceeded him historically, called Power, Ambition, Glory. The book aims to teach CEOs (or CEOs-in-training) lessons drawn from history: basically, it aspires to be The Art of War For Dummies. From the tipline, Forbes is so desperate to win wars on behalf of his own ego, he had employees buy his new book en masse in order to get it on the bestseller list:

It's very important to Steve that he be considered a successful author and a serious scholar. So he (or someone that works for him) instructed the Forbes sales staff to buy the book - every day, several times a day, in different stores, especially when they travel, so that it will help inflate the book's sales figures. They can expense these purchases and the company will presumably write off the cost. Using this technique, they successfully got the book into the top 100 on Amazon during the first week of release, but it's flatlined since then.

Ah, yes: maybe Steve can take a cue from his own book, and remember that time Napoleon Bonaparte failed when he tried to move in on Russia in the winter, and then later, when Hitler did the same thing. Both attempts miserably failed, because they didn't know what Russia in the winter was actually like. Hopefully Forbes - while trying to move in on bestseller lists with a shitty book - won't try too hard to make the same mistake. Seeing as how his company's hitting tough times, spending the last year laying off and consolidating staffs, Forbes shouldn't any his ammo fighting battles he can't win. As we all know, the Ruskie-esque menace that is James Patterson's The Angel Experiment pulls no punches.

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