Writing

How Jim Collins and Seth Godin Revived My Project

I rarely listen to Tim Ferriss’ podcast anymore, since I saw diminishing returns on the amount of information I could apply, and I no longer had a 2+ hour commute per day. I still keep tabs on it though, as occasionally someone/ something I am interested in will be featured, and I will give it a listen.


Last week, it was Jim Collins, author of best-selling titles such as Built To Last and Good To Great.  Although I was not interested, I thought I would still give it a listen, and if I found myself bored, I could always turn it off. Instead, I found myself taking many notes and going back to listen to several segments again. Collins has done a lot of deep thinking, which seems to have led to a very productive (in a real sense of the word; actually producing value) life.


One of the parts I found interesting was how he had a compelling idea he wanted to share about a concept he calls the turning the Flywheel – but it was too short to be a book. His wife suggested he write a monograph instead, which I had never heard of, but is how you may categorize short works like Common Sense by Thomas Paine.


I had an idea late last year about a book I wanted to write. I organized several ideas around the theme and even started writing it. I am not the kind of person who really wants to write a book – there are plenty of books. But this desire was something altogether different, in that I wanted to write it so I could read it. It was the book that I wanted but couldn’t find. However, a few objections came up.

  • I don’t want to research a book.
  • I don’t want to write a book.
  • I don’t want to publish or market a book.
  • I really don’t have time to write a book.

Withal, I still want to write the book.

So what am I to do?


Well, Jim Collins gave me a thought: Why don’t I write a monograph?


I thought this over for a few days and then happened to listen to another podcast – this time authored by marketing genius Seth Godin called Akimbo. This episode, called Publish Yourself, detailed the current state of the publishing ecosystem and Godin’s subversion thereof. He suggested – if you want to write a book (or a monograph, I suppose), write it. Make an attractive PDF version, and then email it to a bunch of people who might like to read it.


So, that is just what I am going to do!


If I strip away the usual dogma around writing a book, like:

  • You have to spend years building an audience.
  • You have to sell it to be worth it.
  • You have to find a publisher.

So on.


What I am left with are better, less suffocating ideas, such as:

  • I do want to write it.
  • I want it to be fun, like a hobby I can pursue over a more extended period.
  • I want to share it with people and for them to have value out of it.


If anyone, anywhere is reading this – I will be writing regular updates here, and eventually, giving it to you to enjoy!

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