Writing a Book: Business Memoirs

Jan 20, 2014 | Writing A Book

A memoir is a book about a part of a person’s life, written by the person who lived it. It is usually about a particularly interesting or intense period in that life. Business memoirs are about some aspect of a life devoted to business. There are four key types.

Some business memoirs are “lessons I’ve learned from a successful business career.” A good example is Winning by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch.

Some business memoirs are “this is how I did it” books. Those are usually about a single, important part of a business career. One of the best of that group is Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change by Lou Gerstner.

Some business memoirs are “how-to” books. The difference between these and the “how I did it” memoirs is that how-to memoirs center on a topic, not a time period. Richard Branson has written more than a half dozen how-to memoirs. One is: Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School.

Some business memoirs are “memoirs with a point of view.” These books are memoirs because they’re based on a slice of a person’s life, but the author wants to make a point or points of some kind. Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is a great example.