How a Business Book is Different from Other Books and What that Means for You, the Author

Jun 23, 2020 | Writing A Book

For years, I’ve been asking business leaders what they read. The range is stunning. Most of They read business books, but that’s not all. They read fiction and history books and biographies and memoirs. They read a lot about their hobbies or passions.

Business book readers want specific things. They’re different from what they want from other kinds of books.

Why Business Readers Read Business Books

Business readers tackle business books to solve a problem or answer a question. They’re looking for new ideas. They’re hunting for new things that they can do that will improve results.

That’s different from fiction, where they’re reading for entertainment. It’s different from books they read for general knowledge. If you’re a business author, don’t get between the reader and his or her purpose.

Write clean, simple prose. Use lots of simple sentences and not much passive voice. Ration your adverbs. Forget the fancy construction that your English teacher admired. Keep it simple and to the point.

Business Readers Don’t Want to Be Entertained, But They Don’t Want to Be Bored, Either

Keep your reader’s interest with a mix of points, stories or examples, and supporting research. Have a beginning or ending of some kind every 1,500 words or so. That’s about the point where the average reader starts to tune out. A quick change helps maintain attention.

Help Your Reader Put What You Say into Practice

Most business readers want practical knowledge. They want to be able to do something with what they learn from you. So, help them.

Sprinkle action steps, exercises, takeaways, and analysis tools throughout your book. Help your reader get what he or she came for.


Business readers read business books to solve a problem, answer a question, or improve results.

Keep things moving with simple, straightforward language.

Keep your reader’s interest with a mix of explicit points, examples or stories, and supporting research.

Help your reader get more of what he or she came for with exercises, analysis tools, and action steps.

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