• February 2012

Why Do People Still Bother to Write Books?

By Lisa Earle McLeod
Keynote Speaker and Author
McLeod & More, Inc.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I should write a book”? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself.

I do believe everyone has a book in them.

As an author, people often approach me with the “everyone says I should write a book” line. They then proceed to either tell me their idea, which I always like to hear, or ask me how the publishing process works, which is I find far less exciting to describe.

But take note: While writing a book is hard, getting it published is even more challenging. You have to want it pretty badly.

People want to write books for a lot of reasons. They want to be famous. They want to make a pile of money. They want everybody from high school to see that they’re not a big fat loser after all.

But there’s really only one good reason to write a book: You can’t stand not to write it.

You have a story or idea that you truly must share with the world, or you will just die.

I know it was that way for me. You get to a certain point emotionally, where it’s easier to do the book than to not do the book.

My latest book, The Triangle of Truth, was born when I saw the same problem cropping up in multiple places. I work as a sales leadership consultant. I also write a personal development column, and I’m a keen observer of politics. Here’s what I observed in each area.

Salespeople who can’t put themselves in the customer’s shoes miss opportunities. When they’re only focused on their own products and services, they miss what’s going on with their customer. They become so attached to their own agenda that they’re blind to any perspective other than their own. The result is frustration, unhappiness, and lack of success.

Every time I write about personal relationships in my newspaper column, I get loads of letters from hurt, angry, jaded people describing the many ways their partner didn’t “get it.” They want more conversation; their partner wants physical contact. They want a tight budget; their partner wants the freedom to spend. They become so attached to their own agenda that they’re blind to any perspective other than their own. The result is frustration, unhappiness, and lack of success.

Which leads me to politics, where for years I’ve watched both parties take a hard line either/or stance, refusing to work together. Wait for it, there’s a pattern here: They become so attached to their own agenda that they’re blind to any perspective other than their own. The result is frustration, unhappiness, and lack of success.

I came to realize that the problem isn’t salespeople, romantic partners, or politicians. The problem is people and the way that we think. When we get overly attached to our own agenda, we perceive that other agendas are in conflict with ours, when in reality, they may be complementary. The “I’m right so you must be wrong” mental habit wreaks havoc on our relationships and our organizations.

Once I saw the problem, I started searching for answers. After I found some answers I couldn’t bear not to write them down. Eventually I became so passionate about solving this problem, I had to write the book.

Do you have a book in you? I suspect that you do. You’ll know it’s time to write it when it becomes too hard not to write it.


About Lisa Earle McLeod

Business strategist Lisa Earle McLeod is an expert in sales force and leadership development. An author, consultant, syndicated columnist, media commentator, and keynote speaker, she is recognized as a thought-leader whose latest book, “The Triangle of Truth,” was named a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book for Leaders.

A bottom-line-oriented business advisor whose firm, McLeod & More, Inc. was featured in Fortune magazine, she is also a problem-solving expert whose conflict-resolution handbook was delivered to every member of the House and Senate. And she’s a leadership contributor for Forbes.com, she blogs regularly for The Huffington Post, and she has written more than 500 articles.

This high-energy keynote speaker who has rocked the house everywhere from Apple to Pfizer to The United Way is a repeat guest on “Good Morning America” and has appeared on hundreds or radio and TV shows.

McLeod’s clients range from pharmaceutical to financial services, including Ann Taylor, Capital G, West Pharmaceutical, Black & McDonald, Kimberly-Clark, CMIT, and numerous franchises and entrepreneur organizations. She is also a personal-development expert whose first book “Forget Perfect,” was featured in The New York Times, and continues to sell a full decade after the original printing. Her essay collection, “Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear,” was featured on Oprah.com.

McLeod and her husband Bob live in Atlanta. They are the parents of two fabulous teenage daughters.