You Need to Write Something Short, Specific and Stunning

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There seems to be a switch that flips in some consultants’ heads after a few years working with clients: “I’m going to write a book that answers all those questions that I keep getting!” I can’t count how many business books I’ve read that are essentially a codification of an individual consultant’s approach to her area of expertise, often with some explanations of the broader topics of interest related to her field.

I’m torn about the concept as a whole. I’m a big fan of writing about your area of expertise and creating great resources for your customers. But these books are often so similar.

I read one such book recently: Clockwise, by Andrew Pain. It was a fine enough overview of some of the basic concepts of productivity. If you needed a refresher or were, perhaps, coming to the concept of time management cold, it’s not a bad book.

But anyone interested in hiring a consultant to help with time management is a bit beyond this book; it’s not something that firmly establishes Pain’s expertise even over his local competition. Given the ease with which you can publish something short, specific and stunning these days, it’s practically necessary to stand above the crowd — at least if you want the effort of publishing your book to be worth the bother.

Writing a book can’t just be something that you cross off the list in order to make yourself more marketable in your career. You have to have something worth writing — even just a morsel of an idea that will take your readers to a new level, especially if they’re hoping you provide solutions to the problems in their lives. Push harder: that nugget of something new (at least to your audience) is there somewhere.

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