Writing a business book is a particularly visible form of leadership - how do you find the courage for that? In this week's look back through my most recent Extraordinary Business Book Club conversations, I uncover the principles, tactics and Jedi mind tricks that enabled these authors to find the courage to make their voices heard.
There'll be something here that you can use too, to make yourself a little bit braver and a little bit more likely to succeed.
If there's a recipe for courage, this is it.
'If you can just get over the fear of failure and treat failure as a learning process, then... you're going to go on to do some great stuff.'
From designing the iconic 'Choose Life' t-shirts of the 1980s to launching one of the first lockdown festivals of 2020, Drew Ellis has been living by this mantra for years now.
One result of his experimentation is Like Minds, a global thought leadership and events company, and in this conversation we explore how it happened, why events and books are such a perfect partnership, and the future of audio and particularly Drew's plans for Clubhouse.
And if you're playing small, there's a challenge here for you: be seen. There are so many options that there are no excuses any more.
'In a way you have to be really cocky and bold to say I'm going to write a business book and it's going to be worthwhile and lots of people will want to read it. You have to be overflowing with confidence. And I saw in my interviews with women entrepreneurs that confidence is hard to sustain. Not only do women often knock down their own confidence, they have negative self-talk themselves, but in addition to that, they hear messages all around themselves, telling them this is not suitable for you.'
Susanne Althoff and I explore the parallels between writing while female and launching while female in this fascinating conversation, and I also learn some journalist's tips for getting started, practical ideas for organising your material, and the useful mind-bending trick of tricking yourself into not thinking you're doing what you're doing...
For most of the guests on this show, writing a business book is part of building a personal and professional brand. This week I talk to someone who has no interest in having his name on the book he's written: he just wants to get the concept out there.
When his teenage daughter asked him 'Dad, what's the smallest amount of money you would have to put aside each day to become a millionaire?' he sat down and did the maths with her. And then he did it again, and one more time, because he couldn't believe the answer.
Discover how the $7 Millionaire concept has grown from there, the difference it's making to lives, how a talking frog helps overcome people's fear of finance, and how the author tricked his inner critic into allowing him to get the book written.
'By the way, do you have a strategy for you? Because if you don't, you should.'
That throwaway line in a top-level strategic meeting was a game-changer for Kathryn Bishop. As a high-flying professional and academic, she had an astonishing array of strategic models at her disposal for evaluating options and making decisions. Why not draw on those tools when it came to planning her own life?
Navigating shifting and competing priorities is especially difficult for women, so she decided write the book she couldn't find when she needed it herself: a guide to help women apply powerful strategic thinking to make optimum decisions at key transition points in their own lives.
But how do you marry cerebral boardroom models with the emotional realities of life as we live it? As someone who used bullet points in her love letters, Kathryn knew she had some work to do to achieve a conversational tone, and she found a rich and fascinating way to achieve it.
Steven Van Belleghem sees opportunities to experiment everywhere. When he works with brands like Google, Microsoft, and Disney to help them combine technology and behavioural trends to create outstanding customer experience, but also when he writes. He wrote the first business book to include augmented reality, he writes fiction to explore the possibilities of the future, and his latest book features a specially composed soundtrack.
He's also developed a unique approach to structuring and writing his books, which he generously shares in this conversation, and encourages us all to find the courage and curiosity to experiment for ourselves...
No business can ignore social media influencers these days, they're part of the fabric of our lives both personally and professionally. But what are the opportunities and the pitfalls for the influencers themselves and for the brands that work with them?
Sara McCorquodale set out to answer that question, and along the way discovered the very human stories behind the public faces. She also discovered that the resilience she'd developed as a journalist stood her in good stead through the research, and shares some tips on how to approach that for first-time writers.
Fascinating from both a business and a writing perspective. (How very Extraordinary Business Book Club.)
Having interviewed hundreds of CEOs as a journalist, James Ashton started to notice some patterns. He got curious. In this fast-changing world, where leadership is more challenging than ever, what kinds of leaders have emerged and how do they respond to those challenges?
A fascinating conversation about leadership itself, but also a practical glimpse into how a professional journalist organises and structures ideas to create a powerful book.
"Organizations, not government... hold the key to change in the world, and therefore when we write, we've got to write with the business, the organizational leader in mind."
We talk a lot about engagement, empathy, psychological safety in the workplace. But what we're really talking about, claims Yetunde Hofmann, is love.
Love is a difficult word to use in the context of business. It makes us uncomfortable. But if leaders embrace it as a 'core capability', it has the power to transform our relationships within, between and beyond our organizations.
As well as this profound stuff, we talk about the mechanics of interviewing and the power of leading with questions rather than statements. A powerful, affirming and thoughtful conversation.
As a project manager, Rob Kerr was accustomed to evaluating options and allocating scarce resources for maximum impact. The magic happened, however, when he started taking those tools out of the office and applying them to life:
'We were making better decisions as a family. We were being a bit bolder with our choices... I thought, okay, this is working for us.'
So Rob brought together his framework for bringing project management into real life and united it with his passion for entrepreneurship to create Project Future, a tool to help would-be entrepreneurs evaluate their options and set up a successful business.
Along the way he learned a huge amount about writing, collaboration, illustration, and overcoming his fear of appearing on video...