Ten Rules for Writing a Successful Business Book

1. Announce that globalization, new technologies, and demanding customers have fundamentally altered the world of business.

2. Quote Peter Drucker as if he agreed with your ideas. Great minds think alike.

3. Simplify all prior business ideas to caricatures. Remove all nuances and caveats. Equate Business Process Reengineering with layoffs.

4. Explain how leading companies have implicitly followed your philosophy even if they’ve never heard of it. Apple got to where it is today based on your business philosophy even if that ingrate Steve Jobs won’t admit to it.

5. Repeat the words strategy and strategic as often as possible.

6. Focus on processes. Since F.W. Taylor published Principles of Scientific Management in 1911, management gurus from the schools of TQM, Six Sigma, and BPR have exhorted executives to improve business processes. Just be sure to give your rehash of this ancient theme a fresh acronym.

7. Add the disclaimer that you won’t get anywhere without executive support. But don’t put this on the dust jacket, or those of us on the bottom of the corporate ladder might not buy the book.

8. Learn from the story of stone soup. It’s not just your main idea that matters. Success depends on a whole array of factors: culture, creativity, motivation, location, good ideas, good luck. Something is bound to work.

9. Quote Wayne Gretzky: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

10. Warn that change demands leadership. If somebody tries out your ideas and fails, the faker couldn’t lead a boy scout troop.


I’m a solution engineer for Shape Security, an awesome web security startup in Mountain View that defends some of the worlds largest web sites from bot attacks. I see this blog as a learning tool. It gives me a chance to collect my thoughts on topics of interest and to share with others. If you see a mistake or think I’m on the wrong track, please let me know. I appreciate comments. See my LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesdowney and follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/james_downey.

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