One business book after another has changed the culture at businesses that embrace catch phrases such as "stick to the knitting" or "level 5 leadership," but many consultants and business school professors now say these books are useless. "These books try to impress you with the massive amounts of data that they gather, but much of the data are not valid," says Phil Rosenzweig, a professor at Switzerland's International Institute for Management Development and author of "The Halo Effect."

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