More than a book
Many authors find success by writing books that have a purpose beyond the book itself. For example, professional photographers oftentimes publish books of their photography that not only demonstrates their talent but also attracts new business. Others have used the release of a book to launch speaking careers. Still others have used the publication of their book to introduce a new product or idea.
Some big ideas were given credibility by the publication of a book. In 1952, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale felt people would be more successful if they had positive thoughts. His book, The Power of Positive Thinking was not only a bestseller, it also started a movement. Consumer safety activist Ralph Nader changed the auto industry with the release of his 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Starting in the 1970s, Dr. Andrew Weil wrote books on holistic medicine which eventually led to a new way of thinking about nutrition and health.
Point being that books, and their content, do matter. And since the invention of the printing press and throughout the intervening five-hundred-plus years, books have always been a way big ideas or concepts are introduced. Take entrepreneur Tom Chappell. Though his name is not exactly a household word, in 1993 he wrote the book The Soul of a Business to promote his concept of using business profits to help with the common good—which in his case was toothpaste. Today, Tom’s of Maine is a leader in sustainable personal care products.
In politics, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders delivered an eight-and-a-half hour speech in December, 2010, that attracted so much attention that the Senate server crashed. In his speech, Sanders blasted the agreement that President Obama struck with Republicans, which extended the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, lowered estate tax rates for the wealthy, and set a terrible precedent by establishing a “payroll tax holiday” that diverted revenue from the Social Security Trust Fund. To bring the message to others, Sanders’ published it in its entirety along with an introduction written by the senator. Now his book has become an important part in explaining his positions for his 2016 presidential campaign.
There are also several organizations that have, in part, started with a book. Marc Freedman, for example, is a baby boomer who was trying to figure out what to do with his remaining productive years. He began talking with others who had recently retired and found some amazing second career stories. He then wrote about them in his book Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life. The book became the spark that started his nonprofit organization, Encore (encore.org)
Do you have an idea for changing the world, your neighborhood or the lives of others? Sometimes a book can be the inspiration for creating the next big thing.
Dirk Wierenga, Principia Director of Publishing