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The Extraordinary Business Book Club

Alison Jones, publisher and book coach, explores business books from both a writer's and a reader's perspective. Interviews with authors, publishers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, tech wizards, social media strategists, PR and marketing experts and others involved in helping businesses tell their story effectively.
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 29, 2017

'How can I write books that people will read all the way to the end, they can open at any page and find something interesting or useful or inspiring or actionable, and they'll come back to again?'

And with that question, Bernadette Jiwa - author of Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing, Marketing: A Love Story and most recently Hunch: Turn Your Everyday Insights Into the Next Big Thing - nails the question for any business book author. 

Discover how she goes about answering it, and particularly how she uses the principles of storytelling and the backstory to write such compelling, generous books, in this fascinating interview.   

May 22, 2017

I first met Glenda Shawley in January 2016 when she came along to my 'The Year of the Book' workshop, in which writing productivity guru Bec Evans and I helped a small group of entrepreneurs get clear on the book they wanted to write and plan how they were going to achieve it. 

By Christmas of that year, she was holding in her hand advance copies of Founded After 40: How to start a business when you haven't got time to waste, the first of the books to come out of that session (another one was self-published earlier this year, and I'm publishing another two shortly).

In this episode, Glenda reveals how she did it, with lots of practical tips for linking the book with the business and building a community around it, and reflects on what the impact has been for her, personally and professionally. It's a masterclass in how to Get Stuff Done and create an experience that not only helps but delights the reader.  

If you ever find yourself thinking, 'Well, of course it's easy for THEM...' as you listen to illustrious best-selling author celebrities on this show and others, this will be a refreshing and challenging insight into how a small business owner without a big existing platform got on and did the work, and is reaping the benefits.  

May 15, 2017

You've heard the mantra: 'Focus!' You know you need to niche. You understand that multi-tasking is inefficient, and you curse yourself every time your attention wanders from the one thing you know you should be working on. You're trying to put in place systems and processes to optimise how you work, and when things go wrong it feels like the universe is conspiring against you. 

Sound familiar? 

The good news is that it's not that simple. Tim Harford, the Undercover Economist and author of Messy: How to Be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World, argues that a tidy mind is unlikely to be a creative mind, and it's when things go wrong that we're likely to step fully into our genius. 

This is heartening stuff for me, at least, and a great insight to have in your back pocket next time someone criticises the state of your desk... 

Tim also reveals how moving between different modes of communication - from writing a book to writing articles to speaking to presenting on Radio 4 - helps him clarify his own thinking, and he has some brilliantly practical advice for anyone writing their first business book. 

 

May 8, 2017

It's time for another collection of The Extraordinary Business Book Club's Best Bits! Sit back and listen to half and hour of jaw-droppingly practical and powerful tips from the top writers and publishers featured in episodes 51-59, with some fascinating differences of opinion and approach: 

  • Mark Levy (Accidental Genius) on organising your ideas
  • Lucy McCarraher (How to Write Your Book Without the Fuss) on the importance of structuring before you start
  • Lisa Earle McLeod (Selling with Noble Purpose) on forgetting all about structure and just starting
  • Ross Lovelock (ScQUARE) on writing for the reader
  • Alan Weiss (Million Dollar Consulting) on writing for yourself 
  • Caroline Webb (How to Have a Good Day) on her writing playlist
  • Melissa Romo (Head of Global Content, Sage) on creating a writing ritual (and specifically how her frog helps...)
  • Adrian Zackhemi (Portfolio Penguin) on how publishers evaluate an author's proposal
  • Louis Rosenfeld on why publishing is about so much more than the book

I guarantee there's something here that will inspire you, restore your writing mojo, get you unstuck, or at the very least make you feel like you're not in this alone. 

May 1, 2017

Lou Rosenfeld is in the ideas business. He's a writer himself, and a speaker and trainer, and now with Rosenfeld Media he's created a distinctive approach to publishing that's based around ideas - and the community engaged with them - rather than books per se. 

His company supports the 'three-legged stool' of the ideas business, which Lou himself discovered as an author: 'I found that I really couldn't succeed with writing if I wasn't presenting, and I couldn't succeed with presenting if I wasn't teaching, and couldn't succeed with teaching if I wasn't writing so it's a virtuous circle.' 

So the publishing company he created is format-agnostic, and devotes an extraordinary amount of time and energy to supporting its authors as a co-collaborator and focus for the community.

'I still think we're reinventing publishing,' he says. 'I'm not even sure the word publish means anything like it did 10 or 15 years ago. It shouldn't really. I felt like the traditional publishing model, which to my mind emphasised quantity over quantity, is really broken. It's not anything I really want to be affiliated with so we've very studiously avoided that approach and taken a very different one.'

Find out more, including his advice to authors, in this fascinating interview.

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