Sunday, July 27, 2014

Write a book

My Zimbio  Are you thinking about writing a book?  Should you be thinking about writing a book?

Earlier this week, Brister's "Shotgunning:  The Art and Science," arrived.  This weekend, the "Countdown Deal" for my book ( which includes a section on shotguns) ends.  My book is a practical guide on rifle, pistol and shotgun with a bit of theology and Constitutional law thrown in: some time spent reading this weekend convinces me I have far less expertise than Bob Brister regarding shotguns.

Of course, I have spent more time in my life helping improve efficiency in organizations, whether as a hands on manager (mostly Army experience, some commercial), developing a change management practice for consulting organizations, or helping organizations "opt in" on the services and/or products my employer brings to market.

Do you have a sophisticated view of some section of the world?  A unique perspective to offer?  A unique and interesting voice?

What about the US Defense Department and our Intelligence Community?  Our nation has become exceptional at fighting platoon and squad sized conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.  Tools and processes for understanding key details about those conflicts seem to drive investments today.  While financial systems for capturing and understanding metrics have been in place for many years, and many are in sore need of tech/data tracking refresh, even after refresh these systems aren't very good at helping effectiveness in the squad fight.

Deciding which book to write, once you have decided to write one, is similar to any product or service development decision:  where does expertise meet market need?  And, as my Harvard Business School competition and strategy professor always used to say, "is this a profitable business?"  Or, in the words of the famous, perhaps infamous, Jack Welch, outsized CEO of General Electric during that company's heyday (sorry Jeff, still true at the moment), "if you aren't #1 or #2 in a business, get out."

Where does your expertise meet market need?  James Altucher (see ) would probably say you shouldn't spend too much time thinking about this (better get going with writing your book, and evolve your product over time, with your next book, or the one after that), but it  doesn't hurt to give those dynamics some thought before you approach a book project.

For me, selling complex products and services to large, complex organizations, is probably my core expertise.  Perhaps I will continue to focus on doing this job (rather than writing about it).  Rather than a tome about the Ukraine (where my rusty Russian language skills and rudimentary understanding of natural gas economics might add some value), perhaps my next book will stray toward business (where I received my masters from Harvard some twenty years ago and have mostly worked since then...).  Thoughts?