3 myths of business books [Linkedin article]

For years I’ve been telling everybody who wants to listen (and those who don’t…) that “Every day is a school day”. This is my motto for continual self improvement; to see the lesson in every experience and to learn from events, people and conversations.

Reading books has been an integral part of this motto as every book teaches me something on how to run my businesses better or how to live a life of purpose and meaning. Many business coaches and successful business leaders read 24 or more books every year, ranging from business books to study/textbooks and novels. And I try to keep up with this level of reading, even when life becomes super busy.

It’s amazing how a mindset changes the way you view the world: what other people might see as a drama or something really bad, I try to see as a lesson… what lesson happened in today’s school day? Many great things have happened in my life as a result of seemingly bad experiences.

Combining these two ideas: that reading books is good for developing your overall understanding of business, and the fact that I try to learn from every experience, I don’t really mind the fact that some books are better than others.

Myth no. 1 – You must be published by a large name publishing house

Yes, we all judge a book by its cover – but it’s a myth to think that the only business books worth buying are the ones that come from the big five publishing houses. I’ve learnt that many books that have been published on a shoestring actually have the best content.

Many ‘slick’ business books just don’t do it for me… they are too polished and the content is lacking. Usually these books are structured like this:

  1. This is what I will be telling you in this book
  2. Let me tell you what I have to say
  3. In summary – this is what I’ve been telling you in this book

I feel cheated every time I read a book like this – why did I spend my money on something that repeats everything 3 times? Can’t the message be given in a more concise manner? What about saving the planet and the trees due to the fact that you need less paper if you get to the point sooner?

Many self-published business books go straight to the core of the subject. These books often tell the personal story of the business owner / entrepreneur and the lessons they’ve learnt from their journey. I love reading these books as I can learn from other people’s mistakes and relate to their trials and successes. It also gives me great ideas that I can apply in my personal life, my hobbies and my businesses.

Myth no. 2 – Only publish for Kindle and other ebook platforms

The other myth I hear often is that the future of book publishing is in ebooks. While in the fiction category this statement might have merit, research shows that in the business books and other non-fiction titles the paperback (printed) book still rules the roost!

Printed books can be read on planes – even during take off and landing – and it’s easy to take notes, highlight and add bookmarks or sticky notes in a printed book. Business books are often re-read many times, while novels and other fiction books are often only read once – lending itself a lot better to the ebook concept.

Myth no. 3 – You need to have an exceptional business to warrant a book

Every business owner, entrepreneur or content expert has a story to tell. Nobody has the exact experiences that you have. You are unique, so your story is unique. For centuries humans have learnt what to do and what not to do through story telling. Writing your story is a way to pay it forward. You describe what you’ve done and how these experiences shaped your business or career into what it is today. There will be people out there who need to hear your story so they are saved from making the same mistake(-s).

Subjects you can write about are:

  • What choices did you make during your career?
  • What would you tell your younger self, if you had to go through your journey again?
  • What education choices would you make if you had to do it all again?
  • How does your skill set help other people?
  • What is your approach to life, work, family, etc.?
  • Where do you get your motivation and strength from?
  • What was the best, and what was the worst thing that ever happened to you? (and what did you learn from it?)

Publishing and printing your book also helps future clients to understand more about your values and how they align with their business goals. It can help to educate future clients by building their awareness around a subject so they understand where you add value and why they need to hire you.

Granted, your story may not sell 200 million copies but I’m sure you can come up with a way your book helps you with achieving your goals.

Don’t be shy – at the very least you will have a new experience to learn from! Remember, every day is a school day and perhaps your next school-day is all about writing, publishing and printing your book.

Ivanka Menken

PS – If you’d like to learn more about publishing your book, go to www.complete-publishing.com to check out their Guided Self Publishing services.

This article was originally published on Linkedin