Nonfiction writing: It’s narratives all the way down.

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Nonfiction writing is made of stories. All of it. Advice. Logical reasoning. Analysis. It’s all stories. And if you don’t understand what a narrative is, no one will read what you write, and no one will be able to benefit from it. I’m editing a nonfiction manuscript right now in which the parts aren’t written … Continued

Where do you find stories for your book? (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Business books are made of stories. Where do they come from? Here’s today’s question: Dear Dr. Wobs  I am writing a business book and want to supplement my own experiences with relevant business anecdotes. (Google is virtually useless, although maybe I’m just doing it wrong.) Any suggestions? — Jack Finding stories We’re hard-wired to remember … Continued

Should you start with a story or a lede?

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The best way to hook an audience is to start with a story. The best way to get people to read what you write is with a descriptive title and a few summary sentences (or as journalists call it, a lede). How do you resolve these contradictory pieces of advice? When I got this question … Continued

Business books are stories. Here’s how to write one.

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Most business books are boring because there are no people — just endless rambling on about strategy. You need people and stories to make them come alive. I wrote my first business book proposal in 2005. It was for a book called “The End of TV as We Know It,” and it reflected my decade … Continued

All narratives are biased, as the Benghazi report coverage reveals

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Four Americans died in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Yesterday’s “final” 800-page report about it from the U.S. House Select Committee is biased. So are the response from House Democrats, the coverage from Fox News, the coverage from CNN, and every other article. Why? Because all stories are inherently biased. It’s the nature of the form. Here’s … Continued

The whole truth about The New York Times – Amazon feud

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Two months after The New York Times‘ devastating takedown of Amazon’s culture, Amazon fired back. Where’s the whole truth here? There is none. Because by definition, stories always leave out more than they include. As briefly as possible, here’s what happened. On August 15, the Times wrote about Amazon’s “bruising workplace.” Jeff Bezos emailed his employees a non-denial … Continued