Why you should “spy” on the people you ask for help

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Imagine you need to ask someone a favor. Or you’re a salesperson pitching something. Or you just want to ask for free advice or check someone’s opinion. Or you’d like them to promote something you just created. If you hit them up when they’re in the wrong state of mind, whose fault is that? It’s … Continued

Restarting a stalled book project

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I had a half-written book. It had languished for a while. I felt stuck. This is how I brought it back to life — without wasting all the work I’d done. Why my book was stuck A while back, I’d started a book titled How to Write a Business Book That Matters: A Comprehensive Guide … Continued

Mortifying conversations with authors

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Did these really happen? I’m not saying. What kind of work do you do?I’m an author.What’s your day job?— What do you do?I’m an author.Really. Wow. Do you know Stephen King?No.Malcolm Gladwell! Do you know Malcolm Gladwell?We both presented to the same group once.What’s he like?Skinny. Glib.— What’s your job?I’m an author.Do you write fiction?Not … Continued

Assembling the ingredients of your business book

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Business books are made of ideas and frameworks, stories, proof points, argumentation, and advice. That’s what you need to build one. So what does it take to assemble all of that? Let’s examine a 50,000-word book, which is typical these days (somewhat shorter than in past years). A hardback typically has 250 words per page, … Continued

When is using artificial intelligence to write your student essay cheating?

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Artificial intelligence writing software is now good enough to write decent student essays. If a student turns in such an essay, is that cheating? And what are we going to do about it? Aki Peritz wrote about the problem in Slate and Jeff Schatten pondered it in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Both pieces include … Continued

The collaboration tax in freelance projects

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The price of freelance work goes up as you involve more people from your company in their work. Call it the “collaboration tax.” The best analogy I can give is this: I once hired a carpenter to rebuild the porch on my house. I wanted to see if I could get a better price than … Continued

Why fear and greed are essential to your business book

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Chapter 1 of your business book should be the “scare the crap out of you” chapter. There are two ways to do that: fear and greed. Which should you use? Why “scare the crap out of you”? Business books intended to create action must include an idea or an insight that matters to the reader. … Continued