The cachet of a book

In Thought Leaders Business School one of our deliverables is to write a book. (If you want to see something impressive, check out the virtual book shelf with the books of TL graduates… and be prepared to scroll for a while.)

I’m often asked why. It’s a good question. I bang on a lot about the flipped classroom and we also say thought leaders should blog, write white papers and publish in other ways. So why do we still say you should (and must, if you do our program) publish a book?

In Western culture, a book has a disproportionally large impact compared to the effort it takes to produce. 

Doing a PhD takes 3 years and includes writing a rigorous, academically-defended, peer-reviewed doctorate that is typically a minimum of 100,000 words. And then there are programs you can do that promise that by the end of the week you’ll have written a book. Indeed you don’t even have spend a week – you can just pay someone to ghostwrite it for you. 

Yet a book has more cache (more impact) in the marketplace than a PhD. 

Is it right? No. 

Is it fair? No. 

Does it make sense? 

Well, maybe. For 5,000 years, for our entire civilised history (up until the internet anyway), the knowledge of humanity has been stored in books. The book is the artefact we use to pass on what we know. I think that’s why we give it more cache than perhaps it deserves.     

A while back I wrote about why it's so hard to throw out a book.

So if you want to be commercially successful as a thought leader, it's smart to write a book. 

And I’d suggest you make it the best book you can write, and end up with something you’re proud to have your name on.