The recent success of Rework, a business book by Jason Fried and the team at 37signals, should send a signal to the entire industry. While Fried and his team make the call for businesses to radically change, there might just be a few things for authors and publishers to learn as well.
1. Stop making business books so damn long. Fried was nervous about how readers would respond to the short length of Rework. Would they think it was worth the asking price when they could get another book for the same price that contained double or triple the amount of pages?
2. Drop the numerous examples. In Rework, Fried talks about one company – 37signals. Sure, there are a few references to other businesses they have learned from, but they didn’t drown us in the same stuff we’ve read about in every marketing book over and over again.
3. Revise and edit like your life depended upon it. I am in the middle of a 350 page business book that would have been a million times better had the editor and author made it their goal to eliminate all the redundancies and unnecessary content. Keep it short. Keep it sweet. I want to read your book, learn from it, and then put your best advice into action.
4. Write about what you have done that works. I read two great books this last month – Chris Brogan’s “Trust Agents” and Jason Fried’s “Rework.” In both cases, these books were almost exclusively about what they do best. We want real-world, actionable, proven tools.
Below is the latest installment of my video blog (#3). Enjoy and I’d love what you think about the state of current business books.