Last week I had an Options Review Session with a woman who had a great book idea. She was an expert in her field and wrote a popular blog. I thought she could write a great business book, but she was reluctant.
“I really don’t have anything important to say that hasn’t been said,” was how she put it.
That’s probably true. As Michael LeBoeuf said, “The greatest truths are too important to be new.” I agree, but great business books aren’t great because the author has discovered a startling new truth.
So if you don’t have a startling, previously unspoken truth how do you create a great business book? Here are some things that have worked for some other authors.
Deliver new proof. Susan Finerty was an expert in her field, but she also did original research that added value to Master the Matrix.
Pull the existing proof together and connect the dots. That’s what Bob Sutton did in Good Boss, Bad Boss.
Make the point in new ways. No one had ever used a very short, fictional story, supplemented by diagrams to show how to manage people effectively until Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson wrote The One Minute Manager.
Tell success stories and draw some lessons. That’s what Rod Santomassimo did in Brokers Who Dominate.
Use your own, unique life experiences as a lens the reader can use to view your points. That’s what Stephen Lynch did in Business Execution for RESULTS.
The test of a great business book isn’t whether or not it tells a startlingly new truth. Great business books help readers improve results. That’s the test. It’s all about the results, not the novelty.