Too often I get asked by people who lead others in business, society and cultures: “Why would a leader want to have a book?”
A multi-faceted question indeed – and a good one too.
Leaders, by definition, lead others. They are passionate, poised and profess their philosophies to motivate the people who follow in their stead. They have wonderful stories that they tell to inspire and empower their disciples and they also share them with those who are interested in why they are so successful and what they believe.
Oftentimes, leaders are actually dubbed “Thought Leaders” as they rise through the ranks because of their beliefs, ideas, thoughts and strategies. Their way of doing things has provided them with the tools to succeed and no one leader does it quite the same way. In fact, if you put a group of ten leaders in a room and asked them for advice and guidance, chances are, they would all give you different answers.
The leaders who invest the time to put their philosophies, stories and strategies in a book are the ones that stand out from the crowd. Let’s face it: leaders who are authors have a leg up on credibility and appear as an authority in their respective worlds.
Not only does it provide them with notoriety and publicity, it pulls people into a conversation with them. Readers are interested in what leaders think and how they profess to lead others and succeed. They also want to know what works and what doesn’t.
More than this, leaders leave a legacy of their ideas and allow their life’s work to live on when they share their knowledge, wisdom and insights with others through a book. In fact, the book lives on years beyond the leader’s own lifetime.
Take a look at this list of leaders from various walks of life…they all have taken the time to write a book:
Richard Branson – Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur; Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen and Blasting Into Space; Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life and Business; Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun and Made A Fortune Doing Business My Way
The Dalai Lama – The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World; Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together; Becoming Enlightened
Martha Stewart – The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success As You Start Build, or Manage A Business; Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook; Martha Stewart’s Dinner At Home: 52 Quick Meals to Cook For Friends & Family
Jack Welch – Winning; Jack Welch Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Business Leader; Winning: The Answers: Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today
Carly Fiorina – Tough Choices: A Memoir
L. Ron Hubbard - Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health; Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought; Self Analysis
Dr. Mehmet Oz – YOU: The Owner’s Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider’s Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger; YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner’s Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty
Lou Holtz – Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success
Larry Bossidy – Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
And the list goes on and on and on of leaders who have books. The difference between you and them is that they get more gigs, are noticed more by the media and have more opportunities than you do if you don’t have a book.
Authors who go on to become speakers often get more placements and appearances because their credibility as an author soars head and shoulders above the rest of the candidates.
Even politicians these days use books as part of their own marketing campaign and messaging strategies. Our own President Obama used his books, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, to inform the American public about who he is, where he came from and what he believes.
From the White House to the first leaders of the thirteen original colonies and from women and men who lead in every walk of life, there are leaders and then there are Thought Leaders.
Which one are you?
And, more importantly, where is your book?
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