'Think about your audience. What stones do they have in their shoes? And what possibilities do they dream of?'
And with this great advice from his editor ringing in his ears, Mark Burns and his co-writer Andy Griffith planned, wrote, rewrote, tested, revised and edited their way to their final manuscript - and investing in their own personal and professional development in the process.
In a fast-changing world, people and organisations that don't learn well don't perform well. Learning really is an imperative across every sector, but how do you convince employees and managers to accept the levels of trust, vulnerability and struggle that involves? You engage their emotions.
'Metaphor and story are really powerful ways in which people can empathise, connect. And when people say, "That's me. That's just my problem," that then gives them a route. You've sold them the art of the possibility.'
Self-development books are big business - but is it just navel-gazing on the hand or esoteric theory on the other?
'At the end of the day people want something that's pragmatic, and they can actually do something with.'
Fiona Murden has been working with the world's most senior leaders for years: in Defining You she makes the profiling tools and techniques usually reserved for the extremes of society - top leaders and Olympians or criminals - available to anyone who wants to understand themselves better so they can make better decisions.
Along the way we talk about winning awards, writing as a woman, the role of running in writing, and the power of partnerships. Unmissable listening.
When we talk about 'the future', we're subconsciously distancing ourselves from some indefinite, hypothetical construct. But in reality, argues Whitney Vosburgh and his co-author Charlie, we are continually co-creating the future in the present, without fully making the connection between the two.
'Instead of being futurists, we need to be now-ists. The future only happens now, and now, and now.'
And that only happens when we build what we know into the way we live, when we go from head, to heart, to hands.
This is also a fascinating insight into how two people can write a book together despite only having met in person twice, and how authors can test the definition of the word 'book' to its limits - from book to mini-book to micro-book... .
Something a bit different this week: I buttonholed some of the top voices in the book industry at last week's IPG Spring Conference and asked them:
What is it that authors need to know but publishers are too polite to tell them?
Their answers might surprise you - and they will definitely help you if you're writing a book, and particularly if you're planning to submit a proposal to a publisher.
This is insider stuff you need to know, together with some big truths you need to hear.