Advice from the Masters: John le Carre

Apr 24, 2013 | Better Writing

John le Carre is the pen name of David Cornwell, a former intelligence officer who writes espionage fiction. Since his first novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, fifty years ago, he has written some of the best fiction there is, regardless of genre.

Neither of us will likely ever write as well as he does. You’ll probably never write a novel, either. But those of us who write business books can take some advice from one of the great espionage thriller writers.

“My struggle is to demystify, to de-romanticise the spook world, but at the same time harness it as a good story.”

“Demystify” is the key word. Our challenge in a business book is to make the complex understandable and expose the tricks of the business “magicians” as something the rest of us can do.

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