Some of my best childhood friends were the books I read.
Beyond providing comfort and companionship in both good times and bad, books opened my mind to new ideas and experiences, and took me to surprising worlds I had not yet imagined. Every page I read — on the couch, under the covers, in the backseat of the car, and anywhere else I could — expanded my understanding of both the real world and those worlds that were yet possible.
Books were a conduit to a better me.
Though my relationship with reading has evolved somewhat since I was a boy (including what’s on my To Read list), my love of books is just as passionate today. As then, I grow through each story I enter, even if — and sometimes especially when — I end up disagreeing with or disliking it.
At this stage of my literary journey, the expanse of my reading life encompasses quite a stretch of time, and more authors, worlds, ideas, identities, perspectives, and voices than I can count. And across this time, I have become both a more mature reader and a professional writer. This has given me insight into why and how high-quality storytelling nurtures my personal growth in an impactful but organic way — one that counterbalances a world of increasing automation and anonymity, of quick fixes and downloadable upgrades.
Even better? As a grownup writer with a grownup platform, I can share the transformative power of storytelling with others. Because during the course of my career, I’ve learned that it’s not simply reading stories that can elevate your thinking. Writing a book, whether on your own or in collaboration with a professional writer, offers even richer benefits that can transform your life.
Pull up a chair, and let me tell you how.
The Benefits of Writing a Book
English classrooms and textbooks extol the general virtues of composition in various ways. You may have already learned that writing:
- Helps you discover and organize your thoughts
- And improves your deftness with the written word
- While helping you connect with (and possibly persuade) others
- Plus fostering and sharpening your creativity
- And expanding the minds and worlds of your readers
These are virtues I agree with and champion. But there are some additional benefits that I’ve discovered can uniquely help business leaders.
Elevate Yourself as a Thought Leader in Your Field
After years of thinking, talking and geeking out about your particular passion within your industry, organization, or realm of expertise, you may already feel that you’re an expert in your field — but do other people know it? A well-written, well-edited, well-promoted, and well-received book will provide stone-cold evidence that you know what you’re talking about, that you have a vibrant vision of what’s possible, and that you’re leading the way toward a better future for your field.
More than merely establishing your credentials, writing a book is about becoming a thought leader in your field. And leaders don’t simply reassure prospects that they’re competent providers of commodity services. They share their thinking with others in their areas of experience and expertise. Instead of saying “look how good I am,” they say “let me show you how we can all do better together.”
People in your existing network, of course, may already experience your expertise, thoughtfulness, and vision firsthand. But if you’re trying to expand your network beyond those who’ve already met you, a book provides a scalable platform for sharing your thinking with a wider audience.
Build Bridges (with Others)
Visionary ideas don’t thrive in isolation. Thought leadership is refined in conversations, and the people you connect with during the book writing process become the vanguard of the thoughtful, ongoing conversation you lead in your field.
Conversations with your sources, contributors, editorial advisors, and perhaps a collaborating writer will all provide feedback, questions, and insights that deepen and clarify your thinking as you go. They’ll help you write a better book. Along the way you’ll also build rich and solid relationships with everyone involved — expanding the network of supportive, smart thinkers around you.
Your book will also establish new, and reinforce existing, business connections: with clients, investors, partners, mentors, coaches, contractors, employees, and promoters. Everyone who comes in contact with your thinking (either during the writing process or once it is complete) has the potential to become a new or sustained client, partner, investor, or source of referrals. By involving them in your thinking, you’ll strengthen your connections with them. You’ll stand out as someone who not only has great ideas, but who considers these people valuable contributors to an important conversation.
Promote Yourself as a Speaker
Your book can serve as not only a platform for your individual expertise, but a diving board from which to leap into the pool of public speaking — and connect with even more thinkers and leaders. It will open doors to numerous offshoot opportunities for reach (and sales), including podcast and print interviews, press exposure, guest blogs, speaking engagements (ideally, paid ones), panels, book club discussions, and much more.
All of these connections will continue to build bridges within your network, elevate you as a thought leader, and support substantial revenue growth. They also place you firmly in the inner circle of important conversations within your field… conversations that you yourself initiate, nurture, and elevate.
By proxy, your reputation as a thought leader also enhances your organization’s visibility, values, and victories. It may even directly serve the core mission of your organization by raising greater awareness, understanding, and engagement with the issues you’re committed to addressing.
Level Up to More Lucrative Opportunities
Though there will likely be some passive income earned from your book sales, writing a book can also grow your core business revenue. For example, your increased visibility and clout can:
- Allow you to raise your rates
- Win new business aligned with your thinking
- Secure long-term connections with top clients
- Attract new investors
You are, after all, the person who “wrote the book” on an important topic in your field. You’re leading the conversation. That means you’re no commodity vendor — you’re redefining the standards and raising the bar for everyone as you go. Clients and customers will naturally expect to pay top dollar for the expertise of such a leader, and investors may increase their valuation of your business accordingly.
Think Deep, Lead Deep
While the book you write and publish will become a valuable asset for marketing, sales, and overall brand and business growth, it’s also an investment in your own growth as a leader. The process of writing a book is an intense time of clarifying, deepening, and articulating your thinking.
And it’s your thinking that truly shapes your success as a leader. You didn’t get where you are today simply by following some generic “Leadership for Dummies” checklist. Instead, your success flows from your own unique knowledge, understanding, approach, perspective, values, and vision.
One of those things you already know is that effective leaders are able to analyze and strategize from a 10,000-foot perspective, then set a bold vision of where their team or their company could go (and also have the smarts, innovative ideas, and clearly thought-out plans to get them there). But have you ever really spelled out for yourself (or anyone else) how you do that? Or what you see from that elevated perspective that most people seem to miss? Or the transformative vision you have of how your entire field could level up?
Entrepreneurs do better when they think better. When, as a leader, you take time away from meetings and must-dos to reflect carefully and deliberately on what you really think and believe (and then go back to think about it some more) — when you put those ideas into conversation with one another by organizing and articulating them clearly and comprehensively in a bona fide book — you become a stronger, better thinker. Every step of the process — from brainstorming your thesis to the speech you give at a book release party — forces and frees you to clarify, deepen, and expand your thinking.
As you invest the time and energy it takes to craft your thinking into a book, then share it with others, you won’t only become more enlightened as an individual; you’ll become a better leader. Whether you write the book on your own or collaborate with a professional writer or editor, you’ll cultivate a conversation that can impact your entire field and all the people who you ultimately serve.
What will such an investment in your best thinking allow you and your organization to do?
And how might the priceless gift of your own well-examined mind be a conduit to a better you?
“More than being a fun, creative, productive, and personally rewarding process . . . months before the manuscript was complete, I had already seen a 10x return on my investment.” — Small By Design author David Feldman
Writing a book can feel scary, but it doesn’t have to be. And unlike reading a book under the covers with a flashlight, you don’t have to do it alone. My team and I are here to help. Reach out to us directly and learn how we can collaborate on your book.