'What you leave behind is what you write... no one talks about the article that changed their life, and they're not read for decades after they've been written. [Books are] foundational.'
Working at the intersection of research and application, Professor Alex Hill has learned that it's not enough to have the 'Ta Dah' moment - you then need to have a good answer to the 'So What?' question. In this thoughtful conversation we talk about the principles of organizations that endure, the importance of naming ideas (and how to help people NOT misinterpret them), and the life-changing significance of finding out what it is you want to leave behind.
'A book is a job title that stays with you for life. I will forever be author of The Solutionists... This is your long tail. This is how you remain having influence in the world over time.'
If you ever feel like the problems of the world are overwhelming and that you are powerless against the injustice, apathy, greed and prejudice out there, this is the conversation you need to listen to. Solitaire Townsend is a solutionist par excellence, and she empowers other people to become solutionists too, no matter how insignificant they think their own actions might be.
And part of having an impact on the world, it turns out, is stepping up to write a book that will exponentially increase your influence. Don't get angry: get writing.
Publishing as an industry has more than its fair share of extraordinary people, but there are few to rival Richard Charkin. Over his 50-year career he's worked in almost every area of publishing from children's book to scientific journals, and has not just witnessed but been instrumental in steering the industry from its gentleman's club background to the hi-tech, diverse, commercially competitive sector it is today.
But after decades of senior leadership in major publishing houses, he's just taken on his greatest challenges: launching a start-up publishing company and writing a book himself. I asked him how that's going, and why he decided against an index...
'I thought I was sitting down to write a book. I was not sitting down to write a book. I was sitting down to create idea stewardship. And that's a much bigger exercise.'
Melissa Romo is passionate about the opportunity that remote working presents - inclusion, access to talent, quality of life, etc etc. But as a remote worker herself, as well as the leader of a distributed team, she also knows it's not all 'roses and tulips'. Missing from all the discussion of remote work she was hearing was the emotional fallout she recognized in herself and others: guilt, paranoia, loneliness depression and boredom. If we don't solve for those, all the fancy collaboration systems in the world won't help us do our best work and be our best selves.
The result is Your Resource is Human, a deeply researched and highly practical handbook for making remote work work at the relational level. In this conversation, she tells me what it took, and what it means, to shape and share those ideas.
Really recognize who your audience is... [and] parcel up the pieces, the topics, the themes according to their needs. Not according to what I know, but what they need to know.'
Susan Doering's career progression mirrored that of many women: a successful early career, derailed by childcare commitments and domestic expectations, followed by a period of 'happenstance' - doing jobs as she was asked, discovering her own skills, and starting to build her confidence and qualifications along the way, until she'd created a place in the world where she could excel and where she loved what she was doing.
And then she wrote the book she wished she'd had herself, to help other women achieve the same.
Along the way she discovered how to shift away from academic writing, how to structure ideas, and how to learn to love the long, long process of marketing a book...