Sunday, January 07, 2007

Throw Out Your Business Books!

What I’m about to say may seem slightly controversial. It might even sound sacrilegious.

But here goes:

Some time back, I was at a networking function. During the course of a conversation I was having with a very nice woman, she told me how she only reads business books.

“I don’t even bother with fiction," she informed me. She told me how inspired they made her. How much she learned.

Strange, I thought. I did like business books. And for the past few months I had done nothing but read business books too. But, that got me thinking.

I began reflecting on my reading habits. Business books were good, but they lacked something. And I felt that I was lacking something by just reading them. So, decided something right then and there.

So, what did I do? I’ll tell you, and I’m going to advise you to do them same.

Call me crazy, but…

…I threw out the business books! Every single one of them. Well, I didn’t literally throw them out, but I stopped reading them. And I advise you too to stop reading them this minute.

Instead, read FICTION. It can be literature, Stephen King, or whatever.

This is what I’ve done. I went back to read my anthology Best American Short Stories 2004

I'm a couple of years behind, but no matter. I should finish 2004 and 2005 by the end of the month.

The truth is I love literature. And I read A LOT of fiction.

But I’m a marketer and copywriter, right? What good does fiction do me? Well, I’ll tell you. Fiction is all about stories, and STORIES SELL.

Business books are great, and I can almost guarantee you that the most successful ones are filled with stories. And stories do a good job of selling products. Look no further than Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods. If you go through the food isles, every product has a story behind it. And people love stories.

And they will love the stories you tell about you, your product, or your business. And the more they love your story, the more willing they will be to buy from you.

So, get up and start reading some stories. Then, incorporate stories into your marketing. The results will speak for themselves.

To Your Continuing Success,

Carlon Haas


Anonymous said...

Carlon, I loved this post. The best marketing in storytelling. The best CEOs spend their time telling the story of their company. The best communicators write like FICTION writers, not like business book writers. In fact, if you want a business book that reads like fiction check out Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Also, if you want to see how good writing can be applied to good business, check out the free day at Wizard Academy. There's one coming February 1. Roy Williams is an incredible presenter, copywriter, and teacher.

Anonymous said...

Great post Carlon. I think one of the important things we can all do is temper our reading with a good old fictional novel. I find that I read 30-35 business books per year and if I didn't have my fictional appetite taken care of I would likely be turned off by reading all together.

I find inspiration from many sources but you would be suprised how often I find it from something I am reading for just fun!

Great post my friend as always!

Ripple On!


Pete Monfre said...

I'm going to toss them out right now. OK, I might keep a couple. Just the good ones. Maybe you, me and Steve should have a bonfire....