What Clients Have Said
“Barry proved to have a tremendous ability to convert my words, thoughts, and stories into a well-structured, thoughtful, and insightful book.”
“Here’s my most important piece of advice: be sure to hire a great writer. No, wait—it’s a lot easier than that. Simply hire the best in the biz, Nadine Taylor! Thanks, Nadine, for encouraging me, for keeping me on track, and especially for your friendship. You have made this journey fun.”
FAQs About Business Books
What if I don’t have a huge concept like Freakonomics?
Few books are based on paradigm-shattering ideas, yet many provide valuable information. Viable concepts include an inside look at an industry or company, a new business-related concept, or a plan for getting ahead in business. A book based on any of these can help you accomplish your business-building goals.
Are there different types of business books?
There are many, including:
- biography/autobiography – the story of a company or business leader
- new ideas – introducing new concepts or reimagining old ones
- from life to business – applying lessons learned in life to business
- from business to life – transferring concepts from business to other aspects of life
- wealth-enhancing ideas – approaches to making money
What are some ways to begin a business book?
There are many ways to begin a business book, including:
- A story, either about the book’s topic or illustrating it – this approach is used in books such as The Tipping Point, Team of Teams, and The Power of Habit.
- A story about why or how the author(s) wrote the book – as in Think Like a Freak, Get What’s Yours, and Elon Musk.
- A demonstration of the phenomenon or situation the book examines – as in Thinking, Fast and Slow.
- An explanation of something the readers need to know – as in Money: Master the Game.
- A dictionary definition – as in Outliers.
These are not the only approaches to opening a book, but they are tried-and-true.
Do business ghostwriters need business degrees or experience in running a business?
Professional ghostwriters specialize in learning on the fly and translating ideas into readable, thought-provoking, interesting books. You’ll certainly want a ghostwriter who understands business, but there’s no need to find one with an MBA or C-suite experience.
What kind of business books are most likely to succeed?
All kinds. Here are the book listed on the New York Times Business Best Seller List from January, 2019:
#1 – Leadership: In Turbulent Times, by Doris Kearns Goodwin – noted biographer tells the story of four U.S. presidents who faced dramatic and disruptive conflicts
#2 – Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts, by Brené Brown – the author, who has conducted research with key leaders, explains how to “dare greatly, rise strong, and brave the wilderness.”
#3 v Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou – this book tells “the inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking of Theranos…”
#4 – Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Bread Bad Ones, by James Clear – the author, an expert on habit formation, “one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.”
#5 – Principles: Life and Word, by Ral Dalio – the founder of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates “ shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.”
#6 – Extreme Ownership, by Jock Willink and Leif Babin – two former U.S. Navy Seals explain “how to apply powerful leadership principles from the battlefield to business and life.”
#7 – Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight – the book “offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh.”
#8 – The Magnolia Story, by Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines, with Mark Dagostino – a memoir by the couple who star on HGTV’s Fixer Upper.
#9 – Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman – the author, a Nobel Prize winning psychologist, “takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think.”
#10 – Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth – the author, a professor and researcher, “shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’”
Notice that there are no books on how to run a business on the list. Instead, the ten best-selling business books fall into five categories:
- Leadership – Leadership, Dare to Lead
- Company biography – Bad Blood, Shoe Dog, The Magnolia Story
- Self-improvement – Atomic Habits, Principles, Grit
- Applying lessons learned from a different area to business – Extreme Ownership
- Understanding yourself – Thinking, Fast and Slow
(You can view this list of New York Times bestselling business books HERE.)
Bottom line: will my book be profitable?
There’s no guarantee of financial success in the book business. If your true ambition is to introduce a new concept or present your ideas to the world, earning a profit should not be a primary concern. But if profit is your driving motivation, remember that the media attention and business generated by your book can greatly enhance your revenue – even if the book itself doesn’t make a lot of money.
Is it OK to self-publish a business book?
Yes. The days when self-published books were frowned upon, and had almost no chance of generating sales, are long past.
For many business book authors, self-publication makes more sense than having your book released by Simon & Schuster or one of the other standard publishers. You don’t have to “audition” for literary agents and publishers, hoping to be chosen. You maintain more control over your book, overseeing the cover and interior design, and deciding how long the book will remain in print and whether it will be updated, and other important matters. You can write exactly what you want to.
Depending on how you structure your sales, you can earn significantly more per copy sold if you self-publish – although you have to bear all the publication costs up front.
If you already have a good to great media platform, standard publication may be the perfect approach for you. If not, self-publication may be the best way to go. It’s a widely-accepted approach that gives you the most flexibility.
Do I have to sell my book in “real” bookstores to make it worthwhile?
No. Selling books in Barnes & Noble and other brick-and-mortar bookstores is just one way to profit from your book. There are many others, and here are some of the approaches our clients have successfully used:
- Selling the book on Amazon.com and other online outlets
- Selling the book at seminars and other appearances
- Including the book as part of a larger package of consulting and/or educational services sold to clients
- Using the book to present their expertise and be invited to appear on radio and television programs
- Giving the book away to generate interest in their product/service
- Using the book to explain their philosophy/approach as they seek promotion or other professional advance
- Using the book to memorialize their achievements, and/or their company’s successes