If you only want to know how to write a business book, then here’s your guide:
Describe a step-by-step business model or business philosophy and how to implement it.
Give examples, personal or otherwise, about how other people have made it work to “prove” that your reader can too.
That’s all you need.
The step-by-step business model you describe will probably be one you yourself have used. In which case, it’s served you well.
Good for you.
But is there a decent shot it will serve your readers well? Is it actually going to be worthwhile for most of them to read?
How about 40%?
What success rate are you going for? Or do you not care just as long as you’re making money yourself?
Those are important questions to ask. So really… What’s your answer?
If you want to know how to write a business book worth reading, then you have some extra work cut out for you.
You have to go much deeper than describing a business model or business philosophy, and offering encouragements to implement it. You have to strive for something bigger and better.
Try to actually be useful.
Do you know that many – perhaps even most – business book writers don’t even believe their own books? They talk a great game, but they’re con artists.
So here’s your Writing Challenge: Don’t be a con artist. Don’t sell something you don’t believe or promote a model that doesn’t work. Don’t tell people you can help them achieve their dreams if you can’t.
Basically, don’t write a business book unless you have something worthwhile to say.
Being an entrepreneur, I’ve read a few business books in my day. And guess what? I can’t think of a single one that has done me or my business any real good.
So, sadly, I’m not all that surprised by the revelation that they’re largely worthless. Though I will admit that hearing some of their authors admit that was rather disconcerting…
To see exactly how unethical the business book-writing industry really can be, we’ll turn to an article from Bloomberg. It might be from 2012, but I haven’t found any evidence to suggest that its content is outdated.
“I don’t read business books,” says Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, a business book that spent 36 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. “And I almost never talk to anyone who reads them.” He isn’t alone in his disdain. “I usually tell people not to read business books at all,” says Bob MacDonald, who’s written several popular business titles such as Cheat to Win and Beat the System. “They’re just ego trips. You’re not going to learn anything.”
An easy translation then is that too many business book writers prey on people’s dreams and desires for purely selfish gain. Hence the reason why we have to draw the line between people who want to know how to write a business book… and people who want to know how to write a business book worth reading.
Of course, there’s no way you can help everyone. So banish that thought from your head. There will be people who buy your business book and don’t read it, who read it and don’t implement it, and who implement it but don’t get to reap the rewards for some reason or another.
Even so, as you’re writing, write with a clear idea of what setbacks your readers could reasonably come up against. Don’t just give them pep-talks and platitudes.
Give them practical advice. Give them realistic expectations.
Give them a business book worth reading.