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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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The Extraordinary Business Book Club
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Now displaying: July, 2023
Jul 31, 2023

"In everything we write, we choose a voice."

Poets and novelists talk a lot about their writing 'voice', but nonfiction writers, and especially business book writers, can write a full manuscript without giving it a thought. Which is a shame, because as Anne Janzer - copywriter, ghostwriter and business book writer - knows more than most, being intentional about your voice is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal if you want to write a book that doesn't just tell the reader a bunch of facts, but engages them in a way that might just change their life. 

As well as learning more about how to choose and develop your writing voice, you'll also discover how to go about one of the best ways EVER for creating content, building engagement and crafting a marketing hook: carrying out original research. 

If you're going to write a business book and you want to do it well, you shouldn't miss this. 

Jul 24, 2023

"When we're talking about Do Deal, we're really talking about the verb of how you deal with people... as an ongoing kind of living thing."

Richard Hoare didn't set out to become an expert on negotiation. In fact his first attempt at negotiation, when he was offered a poorly paid first job in the music industry involved, he admits, no negotiation at all. But after a career at the top of legal services in the music industry he's learned a thing or two, and recognized the need for a short, straightforward book that set out the principles of successful negotiation in a way that anyone could grasp and use. 

Spoiler alert: It's not about getting your own way, it's about uncovering value and nurturing relationships. And because it was written with a co-author, the book involved some negotiation along the way itself.

In this week's conversation Richard shares his tactics for writing collaboratively, and indeed writing at all alongside a busy work schedule, together with some practical and profound insights on the art of the (better) deal.

Jul 17, 2023

'I'm not going to live to be 10,000 years old, so I'd rather just write material that someone's actually going to use. So top-down writing works for me because it's a very economical way to write."

Dr Rachel Lawes is the world's leading expert in semiotics and its application in the realm of marketing. (If you have no idea what that means, don't worry: I asked her for the 'explain-it-like-I'm-five' introduction and she did it brilliantly.)

But as well as taking in psychology, human behaviour, cultural dynamics, and the examination of societal constructs, we talk in gritty detail about her writing process. Rachel's straightforward and 'economical' top-down approach, together with her obvious delight in taking on a book-sized project ('The best bit about writing is reading... Your only job is to read your heart out for four months and write about what it makes you think about the world. What a treat.'), makes for an even-more-than-usually practical and inspiring episode.

Get the kettle on and grab a notepad and pencil... 

Jul 10, 2023

When your work is about experience - helping people access a different physical and emotional state so that they can reconnect with their embodied, instinctual wisdom - you do it most effectively when you're in the room together. How can you possibly translate that somatic, relational, experiential work into words on a page? 

That was the challenge facing Nicholas Janni, and he rose to it so impressively that Leader as Healer was named Business Book of the Year 2023 at the recent BBA awards. In this week's episode he speaks to me about the challenge of that translation process, and the somatic experience of flow in writing itself. 

Jul 3, 2023

"What's important about creativity is not novelty, but difference. I want something different from what is happening now, and difference is much easier to discover because difference means different from now."

There's a lot of mystique around creativity, but for practical people - people like scientists and engineers - being able to have good new ideas reliably is vitally important in a fast-changing world. Luckily, there's a process for that, and Dennis Sherwood has put it into an award-winning book. 

In this generous and thoughtful conversation, we talk about that process for discovering difference (which makes, incidentally, a GREAT exploratory writing prompt), and we debate the order of writing and thinking. Fittingly, we land in different places here: what do YOU think? 

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