The Three-Legged Stool of Great Business Books

Dec 7, 2021 | Writing A Book

Great business books offer information, insight, and inspiration. They show readers how to do things differently and more effectively.

Great business books are well written. They use simple language and sentence structures to get the meaning across. They use illustrations, exercises, and structure to make things better for readers.

That’s the kind of book you should aspire to write. You can get help with almost anything in the paragraphs above. Ghostwriters, editors, graphic artists, and book coaches stand ready to help you. But the insight and inspiration are up to you.

You’re responsible for the core of the book. You’re responsible for what I call the “three legged stool of great business books.”

Targeted learning is one leg.

What points do you want to make in your book? Which are the most important points? You must boil the learning down to simple points.

That’s not enough. Aim the points at a particular reader. A demographic description is not a reader. Pick one human being to write to. Then you can plan your learning more effectively.

Research support is another leg.

Learning points by themselves are just opinions until you support them with research. Use surveys and studies to help your reader understand. Use statistics to demonstrate importance and relationships.

Stories and examples are the third leg.

For a significant part of my adult life, I earned my money as a professional speaker. One of my coaches told me, “They write down the statistics, but they remember the stories.” Readers will remember a good story long after they forget your specific points.

Stories are the way humans have communicated since we first crawled out of caves. Stories are how to pack a lot of meaning in a small space. The best business books put flesh on the learning points and research by using relevant stories and examples.

You need all three legs.

One or two legs is not enough. If you want a great business book you must have all three legs. You need clear points and research support and stories and examples.


Your information and insights are the core of your book.

You can hire out anything except the information and insights.

Targeted lessons are one leg of the stool.

Research support is another leg of the stool.

Stories are the third leg.

You need all three legs. One or two won’t do it.

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