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From memoirs like Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog to leadership guides like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, books have long been a powerful medium for executives to share their stories and wisdom. But in today’s noisy digital age, does authorship still matter for modern business leaders?
The answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why every leader should make writing and publishing a book a priority.
Related: 7 Books Every CEO Should Read
Establish your thought leadership
Publishing a business book has become a rite of passage for today’s foremost executives across every industry. It’s one of the most effective ways to demonstrate intellectual authority and cement your status as a thought leader.
Writing a book lets you articulate your unique perspectives, business philosophies and life lessons. A book is a tangible artifact of your ideas that delivers lasting value to readers long after publication. Whether it’s leading a startup or a Fortune 500 firm, authoring a book provides an unparalleled way to define your leadership brand.
Share your story
Books allow leaders to share their origin stories and behind-the-scenes glimpses into pivotal moments. Vulnerable and personal stories connect with readers on a human level. Mixing anecdotes with practical lessons also makes teaching moments more resonant. A book provides the space to tell your journey – from early career struggles to the risks that fueled your success. Every leader has impactful life experiences worth capturing in print, which a book makes possible.
Spread your vision
Business books give leaders a unique format to cast a vision and rally people behind it. Certain ideas require more nuance than a tweet, blog post or speech can provide. A book allows you to comprehensively articulate your philosophy and prescriptions around leadership, culture, innovation or any topic. Whether predicting future trends or detailing growth strategies, a book gives leaders the bandwidth to inspire action around their ideas. Put simply, books make messages stick.
Attract top talent
Your book can be a powerful recruitment tool to engage and hire world-class talent. It provides insight into your leadership style and company values. For candidates considering roles at your firm, reading your book is like getting a crash course straight from the CEO.
They can discern whether your culture and philosophy resonate before stepping into the office. A book signals that you are invested in developing people. Top performers will find the care and forethought behind your book attractive.
Related: How to Attract and Retain Top Talent
Build your brand
Authoring a book is a brand-building exercise that boosts your professional visibility and name recognition. A book gives you a product to promote across all your marketing channels. The content also fuels speaking engagements, podcast interviews and social media. Every touchpoint where someone engages your book spreads brand awareness. Over time, your book can make you synonymous with key ideas. Whether trying to attract investors, partners or media, a book strengthens your brand considerably.
Leave a legacy
Once a business leader departs, their tangible impact can fade quickly. A book, however, creates a lasting legacy that continues influencing people for generations. It serves as a formal record of your fundamental principles and achievements.
Whether instructing others or reminiscing, your book remains a reference. Great entrepreneurs like Rockefeller and Disney still impact people through their biographies today. A book provides future leaders with enduring life lessons.
The benefits for your business
Beyond individual gains, a book also directly benefits your business in several ways:
- Credibility and PR. A book is a powerful credibility booster that generates buzz and media coverage for your company. Journalists rely on readers to inform their reporting. A book gives you a pre-researched resource to share with reporters. It’s also great fodder for landing speaking gigs and PR opportunities. Any publicity the book drives ultimately shines a positive light on your business.
- Lead generation. Your book can fuel a robust lead generation strategy. Using sections of the book or lessons within it as gated content offers in exchange for contact info is proven to attract qualified prospects. Books make ideal gifts to existing clients and high-value targets. They establish you as an authority worth paying attention to. Promoting your book is also a pillar for capturing speaking leads or advisory roles.
- Recruiting perk. A book can be a nice added perk to entice candidates during recruiting. Providing copies to finalists or new hires is a meaningful gesture. Your book enables them to hit the ground running by quickly getting up to speed on your leadership style and business principles. C-suite candidates, particularly, see your book as a strong indicator of your dedication to mentorship and developing future leaders.
- Culture ambassador. For organizations with thousands of employees across disparate locations, a book allows you to reinforce vision and values consistently. Your book encapsulates the culture you want to be embodied at scale. When distributed widely internally, it is an invaluable reference that keeps everyone rowing in one direction. New hires receive a clear artifact of the company’s ideals and history from day one.
The book process
Writing a book may seem daunting, but modern publishing options have made the process more accessible than ever:
- Work with an experienced ghostwriter – They handle the writing based on your vision and interviews.
- Use pre-orders to fund production – Cover upfront costs by pre-selling copies.
- Start with a goal of 250 pages
- Schedule 4 months to complete the manuscript
- Hire a professional designer – Have a budget of around $1,000 for an eye-catching cover.
- Self-publish and retain rights – Platforms like Amazon make this simple.
- Launch with PR and events – Land media hits and plan release parties.
The benefits demonstrate why authorship should be on every leader’s radar. But ultimately, a book allows you to impact people seeking wisdom on thriving in business and life. And there is no greater legacy.