Ever since the invention of the Kindle, I have become an acid reader. Pre-Kindle I read Harry Potter and nothing else, but now my taste has expanded. I love fun fiction books just as much as the next guy but from time to time I actually enjoy reading a business book. My job has exposed me to many and I have read the good, the bad, and the dreadfully boring.
Listen up authors! I’m about to give away the secret to writing a great business book. The key to a good business book in my opinion are action items. So often do I see business books that share with you the overarching stategy, the best practices, and the cliches. When you write a book that’s entirely case studies you are helping nobody.
I’m not saying don’t include case studies. Case studies are actually really great! However, it’s not fair to have us read 300 pages of stories and then make us draw our own conclusions. As the author and the expert, we want to hear what you think the key learnings are. Learning from successul businesses is valuable but we have likely heard these stories before. If we knew how to repliate their successes we would be the ones writing the book. The question is how do I apply this success story to my business. You as the author should help build that bridge for me. When you share a great story and the give no explanation you actually make it more complicated. This leaves me with even more questions than when I started. I bought the book because I want answers.
A good book has you feeling motivated afterwards and excited to get started. A great book leaves you with a clear vision on what to do next. The more you spell it out, the more useful your book is. Think about including a check list or steps for implementation. A true expert is someone who can take complicated theory and explain it in a way a smart high school student would understand.
Some of my favorite business books include:
Like any good business book, this blog will end with clear action items for what makes a good business book (so I’m not a huge hypocrite!)
- Finish each chapter with a checklist of things to do next.
- Write a fictional story that can explain your action items in a relatable scenario.
- Use case studies to show your theory in action but then follow up with key learnings immediately after.
- Focus your topic and avoid the use of any popular cliches.
- Create a model in which others can apply their business to.