Distraction and concentration

Concentration is at a premium in an increasingly distracted world. And this is why writing a book is so difficult for busy professionals. Writing a book requires long periods of distraction-free thinking-time, focus, and solitude. Author, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, termed Flow as a state of hyper-concentration where we lose all sense of time. We become what we do. Focus… Continue reading Distraction and concentration

Three questions

What’s my purpose? How is what I want to say relevant to my audience? How will I generate ideas? Have a purpose Purpose, relevancy, and ideas in business writing In the 1987 comedy, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles stressed marketing executive, Neal Page (Steve Martin), is reluctantly trapped in a shared hotel room with an optimistic and talkative… Continue reading Three questions

Labels: A necessary evil

Lawyer and politician, Arlen Specter, started as a Democrat, then became a Republican, and then went back to being a Democrat again. As you can imagine, he resisted being labeled. What he actually said was, “I don’t like labels. I think they conceal more than they reveal — sort of like a bikini.” Labels limit… Continue reading Labels: A necessary evil

Plan your whole business book

“Any organization that won’t take the trouble to be both clear and personal in its writing will lose friends, customers, and money.” — William Zinsser, in his 30th-anniversary classic, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction Enthusiasm, drive, and energy are virtues. Yet unbridled drive can turn into impatience. Impatience can lead you to start writing… Continue reading Plan your whole business book

Business book titles

Why should readers read your book? Every business book has a value proposition. Writing a one-sentence reply will help clarify your thinking. Most of us form opinions quickly. And this is true when it comes to business book titles and introductions. First impressions count. First impressions have a habit of sticking. Just about every salesperson has heard that… Continue reading Business book titles

Negotiating the Impossible

If you’ve ever tried to convince someone of your point of view (and who hasn’t?), then Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (without money or muscle) by Deepak Malhotra is a must-read. Negotiating the Impossible is a high-value book that offers its readers accessible and practical lessons in the art of negotiation.… Continue reading Negotiating the Impossible

Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth

Margaret Atwood’s book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, is fascinating. Her list of glittering prizes is long. The reader is treated to a mature voice, a voice of wisdom, and playfulness. In other words, she knows how to tell a good story. Debtors and creditors are joined at the hip. Debit and credit… Continue reading Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth


Payoff: The hidden logic that shapes our motivations by Dan Ariely is a short book about meaning and motivation. The central thesis is that intrinsic motivators shape long-term beneficial results, whereas extrinsic rewards don’t. This small-format TED book is a companion to Dan Ariely’s TED Talks online. At 103 pages, it’s a quick read, something you… Continue reading Payoff

Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

A dangerous book Which messages cause people to comply? Robert Cialdini’s new book addresses this question. Pre-Suasion is a revolutionary way to influence and persuade. Pre-suasion operates by creating favorable conditions a few moments before trying to influence. This is a powerful book, and not without its ethical concerns. I’ll get to that in a minute. A conjurer intentionally misdirects an… Continue reading Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini