A 3-D approach to business book writing

I recently thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari. Its promise in the subtitle is to uncover the real causes of depression – and share unexpected solutions. And it did all of that and more. Importantly, it was a really compelling read and it got me thinking “Why?”

It boiled down to what I have now coined  the ‘3-dimensional’ approach to writing non-fiction. Here are the dimensions:

  1. The personal

Johann Hari was interested in the topic of anxiety and depression because he suffered from it. He was prescribed anti-depressants as a teenager and wanted to understand why. The research and the findings were personal to him, so he shared his story early on in the book and kept coming back to it throughout the text.

  1. The proof

To support his arguments and verify anecdotal evidence, the author researched the subject, drawing on others’ experiences, surveys and studies and he reported this factually and referenced it at the back of the book.

  1. The practical

The book gave readers practical advice on how they could learn from the author’s experience and findings and use it to help themselves and others suffering from depression and anxiety. There were strategies and suggestions that readers could apply to their own situations to help themselves and others.

The three Ps

Authors of business non-fiction can apply these three dimensions to their writing. Their story (the personal) will provide a point of difference. No other author has the lived the same experiences as they have. They must research to prove their arguments or else they are offering opinion rather than fact. They need to offer readers practical advice to take away and apply to their own situations.

Of course not everyone will write a Sunday Times Bestseller or a New York Times Bestseller, there’s always a secret sauce. If I knew what this was I would have retired years ago! I guess it’s part story-telling, part timing – your story needs to be topical – and a lot of writing flair.


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