All of us know we should be doing it: writing the best-selling business book. We see examples of good and bad management, exemplary and execrable company behavior all around us. We all read about and think about and discuss and post and tweet our wisdom in dribs and drabs, but we DON’T WRITE THE DARNED BOOK.
Well, some of us do. Former colleague and B2B guru Blandford has hers, Branding Doesn’t Work in Business to Business. Well done, Maureen. Where are the rest of them. Another former colleague, Bernstein, wrote Grand Eccentrics, which, while not strictly a business book, had businessmen in it. What’s holding the rest of us back? I know!
We need TITLES. KILLER titles. That’s the key. Who cares what’s on the inside? Only ONE person (preferable at the WSJ or NYT) has to read it, recommend it, and the rest of the sheep will follow, making us rich. We won’t get rich on book sales: don’t misunderstand me. Amazon and the publisher will get all THAT money, although our friends up at Powell’s will do what they can for us. We will, however, become fabulously wealthy by giving the keynote presentation to corporate meetings at $40,000 per speech, plus we’ll get to travel first class to go there, and they’ll put a big tray of our favorite Zagnut Bars in our room.
Not only that, we only have to write the speech about once a year, and then deliver it a gazillion times. Sure, we’ll have to change the opening ten minutes or so to work in some references to Zymoidal ZigZag Corporation and their latest strategic initiative (tagline: “ZZZ Isn’t Asleep at the Switch!”), but that’s easy. The other 50 minutes or so is, basically, a PLUG FOR THE BOOK. PowerPoint slides with photos of the book cover and closeups from the pages. Quotes from people who said cool things about the book. BUY THE BOOK! And we are eating Zagnut Bars in first class on the way home, having filled up the briefcase before checking out.
How many $40,000 speeches per year do YOU need to deliver before you call it a good year? You do the math, I’ll wait.
I am stepping forward to provide the necessary ammunition. Since the secret to writing an effective business (or self-help) book (excepting those mentioned above) is lifting ideas from existing books and sort of jumbling the ideas around and padding them out with lots of parenthetical phrases (like I am doing right here in this instance in the present time), it’s really the title that’s missing, and you can take it from there. If you have other ideas, please send ’em along, we’ll pick our faves, and before you know it we’ll be seated at the CEO’s table, eating surf and turf every month or so in another overchilled hotel ballroom, reciting the title of our book, working it into every sentence.
Here are a few to prime the pump, but once you have the idea, you’ll be able to generate your own killer title.
The One-Minute Managers You Meet in Heaven.
The World According to Garp is Flat
Who Moved My Cheese Next to My Black Swan?
The Tippling Point (business and alcoholism advice)
Getting the Last of the Imperious Rich to Yes
The 7 Habits of the Highly Effective People You Meet in Heaven (I know it’s a repeat, but I couldn’t resist)
I’ll see you in the ballroom!