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You should write a book

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Pink when he spoke at a lunch event here in St. Louis. While we were eating lunch waiting for the main event, my friend Gene said to me, “You should write a book.” ┬áLike many people I know, my initial reaction was along the lines of, “Yeah, sure. What would I write about?” And yet…

Over the weekend I gave the idea a bit more thought. Also like many people, I’ve often thought about maybe writing a book, and Gene’s suggestion got me thinking about it again. There are actually many things I could write about: parenting, autism, leadership, systems engineering, FIRST robotics, trampoline and tumbling.

And then the resistance – my lizard brain – showed up. “But that sure is a lot of hard work.” “You don’t even have 100 subscribers to your blog, who would buy a book by you?” “You think you know enough about these topics, but do you really?” “You’ve indulged the idea, now let it go and let’s get back to what we were doing before.”

By the end of the weekend, I’m sad to admit, the resistance had all but defeated me. All I had were the remnants of a very basic mind map to show I had been thinking about it at all. And then Seth Godin told me why I should write a book:

If you’ve never written a non-fiction book, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to. It organizes your thoughts. It’s a big project worthy of your attention.

…and…

If you want to change people, you must create enough leverage to encourage the change to happen…. A book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel.

A lot of ideas that bounce around in my head, and many of them get published here on the blog. Many more of them are notes and sketches in the many notebooks I’ve accumulated over the years.

Most of these are ideas for change that I want to get across to people, to maybe change their minds about how they view autism and those who are autistic or to show gym owners and team parents how they can run a trampoline and tumbling meet that people will still be talking about years later. I have pages and pages of ideas on how to spread the work and word of FIRST, to get our kids interested in how they can use science, technology, and engineering to change the world for the better.

So, I guess what I’m saying is I’m going to write a book. I’m just not sure yet what I want to write first. Thank goodness for mind maps to help me sort through all the possibilities. Once I have my topic, I’ll set a ship date and get to work.

{ 5 } Comments

  1. Amy loves Bud | 29 Jan 10 at 1007 | Permalink

    Congratulations! I’ve also come to the same conclusion of late and I’ve begun writing – a novel though not non-fiction.

    My mom had a very interesting life, and I’ve wanted to write about it for a long time. Unfortunately the people who can clear all the details up are all dead. So I’ve started writing a “What If” version of my mom’s life – and it’s not really looking like her life much at all. But I think it’s intersting!

    I’ll be interested to see what you end up doing and will check back often to hear about it.

    Good weekend!

  2. Steve D | 04 Feb 10 at 2133 | Permalink

    Brett – I guarantee you I will buy your book when it is published. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. Mylinda Elliott | 09 Feb 10 at 2354 | Permalink

    I love the collection of areas on your blog. I certainly want to buy the book on autism….someday. :)

  4. Harrysdad | 21 Feb 10 at 0011 | Permalink

    I think most people are tired of autism books. They all sound the same. I like the you tube videos, frankly. In particular the you tube video: “autism spectrum seems out of control” and “sweet sides of severe autism”

  5. Mylinda Elliott | 21 Feb 10 at 1458 | Permalink

    I guess I’m old fashioned. I can’t seem to get used to video’s, though my teenagers love them. I hope people don’t stop writing books.