No Love for the Harvard Business Review

I came across a surprising perspective on HBR and McKinsey while compiling a list of business magazines a while back. This is from a thread over at Metafilter:

I find the Harvard Business Review somewhat of a joke. It’ll have good case studies and an interesting article from time to time, but it lacks substance. It is like the Redbook for CEOs. … Many consultants read the McKinsey Quarterly, though it’s barely more thoughtful than HBR.

I say surprising simply because I see so many references to HBR in the service design literature. I think it’s fair to say it isn’t as rigorous as an academic journal, but a joke? That’s pretty harsh. Mefites aren’t above posturing from time to time, but my background isn’t in business so it’s a little hard to evaluate.

If HBR and McKinsey are the “Redbook for CEOs,” that would make Business Week, Fast Company, Business 2.0 and Inc. the equivalent of Bazooka Joe comics.

  1. Tom Peters notably wrote, “Truth be told, I don’t often read the Harvard Business Review. The price is obscene, and I often find the typical article … ponderous.”

    I think they publish some of the best work, although Sloan and Wharton are catching up. But they’re a periodical and have to fill the pages whether there’s good work or not, so it’s not *all* great work.

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