Season 1 Episode 7: How Freelance Business Writer Ed Gandia Co-Wrote His Way Up Amazon’s Best-Sellers List
Derek: Alright. Here we go. Ladies and gentlemen, with me today I have my friend and colleague Ed Gandia, co-author of The Wealthy Freelancer and the founder of International Freelancers Academy. One of the most friendly and probably most talented B2B copywriters I’ve ever met who graduated from being a B2B copywriter into coaching other people into enjoying the success that he has as a coach and writer
Ed, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate you being here.
Ed: Oh, thank you for having me, Derek. This is fun. I enjoy doing it and I appreciate the invite.
Derek: I’m holding in my hand the copy of The Wealthy Freelancer. Ed, I’ve spoken to a lot of people before. This is one of the first books that I bought whenever I transitioned from working for others to working for myself. The title absolutely grabbed me: The Wealthy Freelancer. I mean, you spoke straight to exactly where I was. Before we get any further, how did y’all come up with such a perfect spot on title?
Ed: Man, I’m glad you asked because this is actually the biggest source of pain for me, believe it or not. A little bit of background: my co-authors and I had joined forces to put a blog together so we each had side businesses where we did a little bit of coaching and sold some training programs and so forth, but we were all independent, yet we targeted pretty much the same audience. It was essentially freelance professionals. Mostly freelance copywriters, freelance writers, and freelance creative professionals in other disciplines as well.
The idea was we were friendly competitors and we thought, “What if we put a blog together and we can kind of share the responsibility as a creating content? On the blog we can promote, through banner ads and other means, kind of our own websites.” Right? To be a central hub to drive traffic to each of our websites and I think we’ll create some synergies because there of us together is going to equal four or five instead of three.
That was the idea and we’re coming up … This is before the book. We’re trying to come up with a title for the blog and we batted a bunch of them around and The Wealthy Freelancer came about. I think it was Steve who suggested it, because of the book The Wealthy Barber. I haven’t read it to be honest with you, but it’s a parable from what I understand.
Derek: Oh yeah. I’ve never read it either but I’ve come across the title in a couple of different places.
Ed: It’s apparently a bestselling book and we just loved the sound of it, because we got it. Even though Steve was the only one who had read it, we got it instantly. We knew that it wasn’t about the financial wealth. We knew that there was a broader definition there. We loved kind of that parable angle.
I think we started down that road of more of a parable concept. The more we set it, the more we kind of worked with that title, the more we liked it. We just built a whole concept around it and pitched it to a …
Ed: Yeah. Literary agent. He ran with it. We can talk more about that, but interestingly it polarized our audience. Our definition of wealth was a very holistic definition. The way we were describing it was you’re a wealthy freelancer when you have the projects, the clients, the income, and the lifestyle that you want. It’s a balanced approach. You have to have all of them. It can’t be unbalanced all the time. The way many people in our audience read it was wealth means financial wealth and cars and rock and roll and vacation homes.
Derek: In their defense, you do have a shiny red convertible in the cover.
Ed: That was probably like the saddest day of my life is when we got the mock-up of a cover and they put a vintage Corvette on it.
Ed: We just lost it. This is one of things when you work with a traditional publisher, you have very little input in our input even though we were dead set against it, the publisher wouldn’t budge. Here you are saying “Wealthy” and instead of having a concept that basically communicates balance and a different definition of wealth, you are basically screaming financial wealth, material wealth.
Creative entrepreneurs, creative freelance professionals tend to not be about that because money is not the first reason they went out in their own. It’s really about freedom and flexibility and all the surveys we’ve done, that is the number one thing.
Again, it polarized our audience and it’s something that I wish we would’ve thought about a little more and gotten some outside feedback on it because we were thinking about it one way, but it was group think at the point. The three of us were thinking about it and the more we thought about it, the more we sold ourselves on it. We didn’t really get much outside feedback.
Derek: If you had to do over again you might’ve gone to, assign maybe some of the people that y’all were already working with and maybe some of your fellow freelancers?
Ed: I would’ve definitely done that. We would’ve done a survey just to get objective feedback. I would’ve also just ran it past a few people who I know would’ve given me very honest reactions to it. I think we would’ve found that there was definitely some, different perception, out there, we were trying to do it.
At first, I would’ve probably brushed it off but it would’ve been a very clear message. I think we would’ve gone back to the drawing board.
I think one of the biggest lessons there is … When you’re working with a title, whether you start there and you’re building a book around that concept or whatever it is, just make sure you check in with your target audience and get honest feedback.
You got to get it from many different ways. Don’t just ask people because many people don’t want to hurt your feelings so they won’t be frank with you all the time. Get it in many different ways so you can get a complete picture.
Derek: Yeah. You know it’s a great point that you bring up because I’ve seen authors go to their clients or their customers or their friends and family to get feedback on the design of a cover or the title, but the problem with those people is … I think there’s a two-fold problem with that group of people.
One, is like you said, a lot of times they don’t want to be mean or they want to be supportive. They don’t want to say anything negative. “Oh, it’s a great book. You’re going to do so great. It’s a great cover.” Whatever.
The other problem is that they already know the author so they know the context of the title and the book and the cover. Like you were saying, a polarized audience, the people that already knew you and were probably following your blog, knew that by wealthy, you meant holistic. You meant the freedom and creativity. Or as somebody looking at it cold would’ve said, “Oh. This turns me off because I’m not really about the money. I’m really more about the freedom to have the kind of life that I want.”
I’m with you. I think getting that feedback is important, but I think it’s important that authors get it from people who will be supportive and honest in a very supportive way, but also people who don’t have context about the book, or the author, to the author’s background. Looking at it cold so that they can say, “Well. The Wealthy Freelancer. Okay. Well, I’m not a freelancer, but if I ever want to make a lot of money on my own … ” Then, that might’ve been a clue.
Ed: Absolutely. If you already have an audience or if you already have a mailing list, that is such an invaluable asset. Reach out to your audience.
I’ve seen several authors do this since then and I think they pulled it off brilliantly. The way I’ve seen it the most often is they’ve narrowed it down to, let’s say, three or four titles, combination of title and subtitle, and they just put it out there, and they say, “Look. I’m working on my next book. Please kind of keep us … Keep this between us here, among us, but I’d love to get your opinion. This survey will take you literally three seconds. Just want your first impression on these four finalists in terms of title.”
The way I’ve seen it structured is you put that out there. Even if you just get a hundred responses, even fifty responses, that’s great. Then, on the thank you page for the survey ask them if they’d be willing to provide you with more feedback once you finalize it. That could be very powerful because, let’s say, out of 100, 20 people say yes, then you have a group of 20 who is your core audience. Then maybe once you settle on a title, you can get some additional feedback in other areas in terms of content or what have you.
Derek: I’d love to get a little bit into kind of the nuts and bolts. That’s the title which I’ve said time and time again, the most important words of your book are on the cover. The title has to be spot on. It sells the rest of the book. How did the three of y’all work together to actually produce a good book? I’ve seen so many potential partnerships in doing a book project together fall apart because, maybe because of personality issues or maybe because they weren’t on the same page or they had creative differences. How did you, Steve and Pete actually get the book done?
Ed: It’s a great question. We weren’t sure how we were going to do it. We knew they were going to split up the work, but we weren’t sure how we were going to do that. We weren’t sure how we were going to represent the work.
Were we going to try to write in third person and just say, “Hey, Steve has experienced this. Pete, has experienced that. Ed had experienced the other thing.”? Or were we going to author each chapter individually and credit the author who put it together? We went back and forth on that. I think it was one of the first things.
We settled on the idea of just us splitting up the chapters. We came up with an outline fairly quickly and we split up the chapters and we just decided that we’re going to indicate who the author from the chapter was. Which is a little unusual. I’ve seen this done before but it’s not the typical way, right?
Derek: Yeah. Most of the time the publishers or the ghost writers they suggest going the third person route. Writing in one voice, not trying to split it up, but I think it worked out well for y’all. I like having the different perspectives and sometimes the different voices in those chapters.
Ed: Yeah. It did. It did work well. I think our voices are similar in many ways, but there are some differences and it added some variety. We each have our own strengths so we picked chapters and material that come natural to us or we enjoy writing about.
The reason it was easy also to figure out the out line is, the subtitle of the book is 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle. There we go. Twelve chapters plus an introduction and then a concluding chapter. I think it ended up being 15 chapters. I think somebody ended up writing an extra one. I think it was 14, now that I think about it. Somebody got stuck with an extra one, but no big deal.
It was actually fairly easy. We had an unusual situation. The three of us are writers. We were comfortable writing in this format. We’re used to deadlines. It wasn’t a big issue, but we did kind of go back and forth a few times on splitting it up and deciding, kind of narrowing down, we had a lot of ideas.
We knew it was going to be 12 secrets but we also had a lot of ideas. We kind of had to narrow things down because some of the chapters, some of those topics could’ve gotten out of hand very quickly if we let it. Each of those could, some of those could be like a whole book on their own.
Derek: They are. You can find other books on just some of these topics. I think y’all did a really good job of keeping it focused, of not going too high over our heads, but at the same time, sometimes not getting down too far deep into the weeds.
I like that fact that it’s a very practical book. For somebody like I was who was, I had been mid-level manager and done some marketing on the employed side, but to go into being self-employed, to go into being a freelancer, I needed some really practical advice. Not just on the writing, but how do I live my life as a freelancer.
I’m saying I admire the balance that y’all achieved. Was that just kind of natural because y’all had been living this life for so long or did y’all struggle with finding that balance and having to figure out how not to go too deep? How to make sure that it’s not too vague and generic either?
Ed: We agreed early on that we wanted to be a how-to book. We wanted to be very practical. That was well aligned with our approach in the blog that we had created and the training classes and programs that we put together so we were used to that. It comes naturally to us.
I would say I’m probably even more detailed in terms of giving step-by-step instruction, but we’re all very comfortable in that format. How-to was a no brainer. We wanted it to be that way. We didn’t want it to be one of these fluffy, big vision books. We enjoy those, but that’s not who we are and that’s not what we wanted to create.
It worked out great. I think if one of us had been more of a visionary, big picture person, it would’ve been more of a struggle, but that wasn’t the case.
Derek: One of the things that just struck me, Ed, whenever I’m talking to a potential client and I’m gauging or estimating about how much time it’s going to take to do the project, one of the big things that I look for is how much time the author has spent with the material before writing the book.
For instance, if they’ve been doing seminars and workshops for a year or two years, or even three or four, if they’ve been providing this kind of consulting and now they’re ready to just take all of that knowledge and turn it into a book, I find that they’re pretty clear about the book’s audience, about the topic, about what they want to do, versus somebody who’s had just kind of an idea rolling around in the back of their head, but that haven’t actually engaged with the material. How long before y’all starting writing the book, how long have y’all been working together on that blog?
Ed: It hadn’t been that long. I want to say we launched the blog in July and we got the book contract in March.
Ed: It wasn’t even a year.
Ed: Yeah. It wasn’t even a year, but we worked closely together that whole time. Number one. Number two, we had worked … We’re very familiar with these topics, right? Because we’re teaching this material. We’re writing about it. It wasn’t a new thing for us. It was just an extension of a blog.
Derek: Whenever I come across those authors who have had, who have engaged with their material directly, either through a blog or through seminars or workshops or consulting, that they’ve had time to kind of work some of the kinks and some of the bugs out, so they’re not coming up with like a consulting framework or a methodology from scratch.
They started out with something and then they saw that this worked, had time to kind of work the bugs out before actually turning it into a book. When I work with authors who haven’t, it takes us longer. I mean, we can still write a great book, but we have to go through kind of that process of getting the kinks out and talking to an audience and those kinds of things before the book really coalesces.
Ed: I agree. One of the things that made the writing a lot easier was the fact that we already had content. Before the blog, I already had a newsletter, an email newsletter that I had been sending out for almost a year.
I had a lot of content from that. I had a lot of content from an e-book that I had written. Pete had a newsletter. Steve had been authoring a newsletter with how-to advice for years. We each had content we could draw from.
I’m not saying we were doing a copy and paste job, but we had fodder. We had material that we could take and build on and it just made the writing process easier. Just to have something you can start with.
Derek: Speaking of the list and the audiences that y’all already had, can you kind of fast forward to y’all have a contract, the book’s coming out. What did y’all start doing in preparation for the book coming out? Besides telling your friends and family, “Hey. We got a publisher. We got a book coming out.”
Ed: We had the good fortune of having Steve as one of the co-authors. Steve Slaunwhite had already published, I wanna say, three books. Traditionally. Traditionally he would work with publishers. He understood the fact that the publisher is not going to market the book for you.
You are responsible for marketing it. He made it clear from the very beginning so we knew that going in that we were going to have to take that on. Now, fortunately, the three of us are marketers. I mean, we had a lot of things going for us, right?
We’re marketing people. We understand that.
Derek: Yeah. Yeah. You were probably going to do that anyway.
Ed: Yeah. It was good. We took on the challenge. That’s no problem. In fact, I think we preferred taking that one. Especially after we saw the cover of the book from the publisher and realized, “Wow. These guys just don’t get it.”
Derek: Yeah. It’s a nice looking cover. It looks good and it catches your eye, but y’alls problem is that it doesn’t capture the essence of the book.
Ed: No. As a side note, here’s the irony of all that. When our agent was pitching the book … I should say that we found a book for the book very quickly. That’ just doesn’t happen very often. We were very, very fortunate so I want to say it was one of the first publishers that he went to, our agent, that is. It was an imprint of Penguin. It’s a huge publisher. Right?
Ed: They liked the idea. One of the only comments they had was that they didn’t feel this title or this concept was going to sell very well right now. I got to take you back.
This was in late 2008, early 2009. This is post market crash, financial meltdown. People were very skeptical of anything like this. He had a very good point but I thought it was interesting and ironic that even though he said that and we have to explain to him, “No. We get it, in fact. Our definition is broader. This is what we’re about.” His team still slapped the red convertible Corvette on the cover.
Anyway, I digress. We knew we were going to have to take the marketing on. We were going to have to own that. We were perfectly willing to do it. In fact, we had zero expectations of the publisher.
We got the contract in March of 2009. We had deadlines for half of the manuscript by, I wanna say it was, May 31st, and the other half by July 31st. It was kind of a tight timeline because they wanted to publish the following March of 2010.
As soon as we got the manuscript done, we moved very quickly into planning for the marketing of the book. We just started brainstorming ideas and putting together kind of a marketing plan. We’d already indicated what some of those ideas whatever in our book proposal, but we picked it up where we had left off and started expanding on these ideas and planning for it.
Derek: What worked and what didn’t?
Ed: What worked was leveraging our collecting audiences. We had our blog. That was a no brainer, but we still had our individual mailing list. We had an audience that was more than willing to help us out by buying a copy, maybe buying a copy for a friend, recommending the book, spreading the word. Our audience is awesome. Leveraging our audience, in our platform, was a no brainer and that worked as planned.
The other thing that worked really well was leveraging our relationships. People we knew who had large audiences that were relevant in terms of the book. Right? Topic of the book. Getting with them early on to see if they’d be willing to help promote the book in their newsletter, blog, or what have you.
That was huge because by doing that early on, we were able to get buy-in from some key players who had very large audiences and the word spread very quickly.
The other thing that worked really well was to have a launch week. The book came out, I want to say, on Tuesday. That whole week we just did this campaign where if you bought a copy of the book you would get something free. It’s very standard practice, right? Back then it was still standard practice. Not as much as it is today.
You see it a ton. We already had courses and training programs that we could give away. We tiered it. That was another smart thing. If you bought one copy of the book, you’d get these three training classes free. Normally sold for $50 each. These were real trainings, stuff we sold.
Derek: Real value.
Ed: Real world value. If you bought three or more you’d get these additional training programs. We bundled in a contest somewhere in there too. Or a sweepstakes. I forget how we structured it. We had several things.
You just have to send a copy of your receipt and all that. There was some tracking there, but it worked. People responded to it. People were buying multiple copies for friends. Our goal was to sell as many books as possible that week and get on the Amazon best seller list. We made it all the way to, I want to say, it was like number 44 in all of Amazon.
Ed: Which elevated our book to people who would never know about the book otherwise, right? It put it in front of people who weren’t in our audience. That gave us even more momentum. That was kind of phase one.
We had a two phase approach. Phase one was when the book launched. Phase two was in the fall, once momentum had kind of slowed down. We wanted to revive it.
Phase two was all about creating an online event. This is 2010. This is before online summits were very popular. In fact, it was kind of a new concept back then. We created this online summit called International Freelancers Day. It was free online.
Derek: I remember the first one.
Ed: Yeah. Yeah. Right? It was all day. It was live. Think of it as TV. It’s pre-recorded sessions, but they were broadcast live, every hour on the hour. From 9 am or 10 am until 7pm. The book was the main sponsor so we played a commercial in between session, at the beginning of the sessions, and we ran another contest then as well, I believe. There again, we got way up on Amazon, sold a bunch of books.
It was fantastic. It was free to attend, but the book was the sponsor.
Derek: Right. I don’t want to say the bigger question because having the launch and everything … That’s huge. But one of the things that I always encourage people to look at is not just the immediate effect. The long term.
Whenever you’re writing a business book. Especially a leadership book. This is a how-to book, but at the same time, the three of y’all are positioning yourself out kind of these … Whether you meant to or not, the go-to gurus for freelancing success and freelancing health. Whenever you’re writing these kinds of books, it’s important to think about where you’re going to be and what the book is going to be like in 5, or 10, or 15 years.
If you have a business book that can follow you that long. I mean, look at Tom Peters and Jim Collins, right? They wrote their respective books, In Search of Excellence back in the 1980’s. I mean, here we are 30 years later. They’re still known for those books.
It’s important to look forward in time whenever you’re putting all of this together. All of that, as a preface to this question: Over the past six years, what has the book done for you? Then if you could also speak to what it’s done for Steve and Pete?
Ed: Sure. The book essentially enabled me to create a business. We had, as I mentioned, the three of us individually had our own little training businesses. The book gave us a new foundation or a new platform from which to create kind of a new business. Still to this day I say, “Look. We haven’t really made money on the book. The real money has been made by bringing people into our world.”
Steve and Pete, we kind of went our separate ways within about a year of the book coming out. We just had different goals. Still friends. We all wanted to do different things, so I ran with The Wealthy Freelancer, created a different brand because again, the whole wealthy thing was a problem.
The book was still, was driving a big chunk of the traffic my way. It was a source of credibility and authority. It gave me that foundation to then build from there. I’ve gotten a ton of mileage from that book. I don’t regret it at all.
I think part of it has to do, again, with the fact that we knew going in that this was not going to be a money maker. This was going to be a way to create, develop, and grow a platform for a bigger business.
Derek: By knowing that explicitly, you could plan for it. You can take advantage of it.
Ed: Absolutely. To answer your question even more directly, I would say, Derek. It’s enabled me to go, at the time, 90% of what I did, not just my activities, but my income, was doing freelance work for clients. It’s enabled me to flip that and do …
What I discovered, I actually enjoyed doing even more which is teaching and training and coaching. Other freelance professional on how to earn more and less time doing work they love for better paying clients. It’s enabled me to just reinvent myself, shift my work into something that I enjoy even more. Without the book, that would’ve have been possible.
Derek: All of that from a book. You didn’t even have to write it all yourself. You got to divvy up the workload.
Ed: Exactly. Teamwork.
Derek: Yeah. Yeah. What was that quote? I love it when there’s a great group of people all pooled together to make me look good.
Ed: Yeah. True.
Derek: If you had to do it again you would definitely write the book again. What are the things, maybe, that would have done differently?
Ed: One, I’ve already mentioned right. The whole title. Really wish I would’ve gone to our audience and just gotten their unfettered feedback. I think we would’ve found that there were some issues there.
Derek: I hate to interrupt but just to connect that to a thought you had earlier about the publisher not wanting to budge on the cover, and the cover really taking its queue from the title.
Maybe if the three of y’all would’ve had a different title and had taken a different title to the publisher you think that y’all could have set some of the groundwork up before so it would have fallen more in the direction that y’all had in mind rather than The Wealthy Freelancer and then just going further down that path?
Ed: It’s hard to say. In hindsight, I would’ve differently. Then again, you don’t know.
Would a different concept and a different title, would that have captured the attention of the publisher? To be fair, I don’t really know the answer to that. They picked it up and they picked it up quickly. With a very minor concern that we were able to address.
The question is had we gone a different direction would that have been interesting to them? Would they have jumped on it? I don’t know that.
Assuming they would have, I still would’ve thought about that title a little differently and not fall in love with it right away and close my mind to new ideas. By the way, the three of us were guilty of that. I don’t think there was much discussion once we kind of settled on that one. We just kind of ran with it.
That’s a big one. The second one … This is big. This is a huge lesson for me. We were trying to go big with this. The one thing I didn’t mention was the reason we had this promotional plan which was very extensive is we didn’t just want to be an Amazon bestseller, we actually, we had very high aspirations. We wanted to be a New York Times best selling book. That’s what we wanted.
To do that you have to move a ton of books very quickly. Our whole idea and our assumption was, “Let’s go big. It’s a how-to big, but let’s go and tap into this huge trend of freelancing”.
At the time, especially after the financial collapse, companies had laid-off all these workers and they were hiring people back but as freelancers. Not only had the trend already started but it accelerated with the financial collapse. We were trying to tap into that and kind of go big picture with that idea, that this is the way. This is the new world of work.
We got very, very close to the data. We could speak to the trend in a very detailed way in an interview. We knew what we were talking about, but it wasn’t congruent. Right? We have a very tactical how-to book, yet we’re trying to go big picture with kind of a bigger message like somebody like Dan Pink would have is that makes sense. I don’t think that worked really well.
We had to pick one or the other. Either we’re going to go how-to and get really tactical, or we’re going to go big picture and talk about the trends, and the shift, and the demographics, and where this is going. It would’ve been a very interesting book but that’s a whole different type of book. A whole different type of marketing you have to do. I think because we were maybe thinking along two different ways, we diluted our effort. If that makes sense. If I were to go back, I would’ve zeroed in on what do we want to do. We either can become the spokespeople for the freelance movement or we can sell a lot of books in terms of how to. Go after the how-to market. People who are looking for very practical information right now. In other words, a manual they can just execute on.
Then the third thing I would do is I would’ve actually narrowed down our market. Freelancing is just such a big, big … I know it doesn’t seem like it but it’s a massive, massive category and an industry. I wish we would’ve narrowed things down a little bit more because I think we would’ve gotten even more buy-in and the message wouldn’t have been as diluted.
I think we have some very practical advice in the book, but my advice to anyone out there is, “Look. The more you can niche, the better.” It’s easier to market, it’s easier to gain traction, and it’s easier to get the results you ultimately want the book to give you. Whatever that might be.
Think long and hard about, ultimately, who is your target market. Try to be as specific as possible in your book, and the advice you give, and your message. I think you’re better off that way, rather than going to kind of the bigger picture or higher level. I’m going to address the whole business world, or this whole industry. That’s really hard to do these days. You’re better off going narrower. You’ll be able to be smarter with your marketing and I think you get better results.
Derek: Ed, I could not agree any more with you. I think that is incredibly important. I’ve spoken to so many authors and I wish I had a better way to … I wish I had a good analogy or something for them to help them understand exactly what you just said.
What they’re worried about is excluding people. If you were to take your book, for instance, if we say that we’re only writing this book for freelance writers, well then we’re going to be excluding graphic artists, and … My mind’s just gone blank. I’m sorry.
Ed: Translators and web developers. All these other …
Derek: Right. Categories. Transcriptionists. Yeah. We’re going to be excluding all of these people and so we should be more broad so that we can have more people.
I think that dilution is probably the best way to succinctly convey that. The more that you dilute it, the less power it has. The more narrow that you go, the more it speaks to exactly the audience that you’re going for. Once you get some buy-in, those people can recommend it to other people.
I’ve read plenty of books that were for one audience, but I said, “Wow. This is great for me even though it has nothing to do with what I’m doing. It’s a great piece of advice.” I would, in turn, recommend the book on to people that it hadn’t been written for but it such a great book and so chockful of advice that I’d recommend it on.
I think that that’s what you’re saying that y’all could’ve done for The Wealthy Freelancer, by maybe focusing on……..it’d probably be freelance writing and such. The background for the three of you. You could’ve actually gone deeper and maybe even gotten a wider audience.
Ed: Yeah. In many ways we could’ve gone about it. One would’ve been with a category, so focus specifically on one type of freelancer, like you said. Just freelance writers and copywriters only. Or we could’ve focused on one element of freelancing alone. Like this bigger picture, “Hey. Great clients and income and lifestyle and all that.” That’s a lot to cover. What if we just focused on get better paying clients?”
Ed: How to get better paying clients. It’s counter intuitive, but you’re right. What you do is you get bigger and fiercer fans because the people who do buy feel like it was written just for them, so they’re really spreading the word inside their circle of influence. You get more buy-in. In your little world, you become king instead of just a, “Oh. This is nice.” In a broader world.
Derek: Right. Big fish in a small pond.
Ed: Well said.
Derek: Before I let you get back to your regularly scheduled life, name a business book that you have read recently that you would recommend and then recommend a book that you think that everybody should read. Whether it’s been recent or whether it was published 50 years ago.
Ed: Alright. Recent one. I’ve read some really good ones recently, but I’m going to go to the best one I’ve read in the past couple of years because there’s not that many books that I read that I say, “You know what? This is one that I’m going to read every year.” It’s pretty rare for me. I don’t like re-reading books. This is one that I read a couple years ago and I re-read every year and it’s The Happiness Advantage.
I just looked up the subtitle, it’s called The Happiness Advantage: the 7 Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuels Success and Performance at Work, by Shawn Achor. A-C-H-O-R. Fantastic book. It’s not a fluffy book. It’s not a “Be happy and love everybody” book. There’s a lot of science there. Shawn is a professor at Harvard. Very grounded guy.
It really shifted the way I thought about happiness and what it takes to maintain happiness really throughout your day and in your life. Totally different paradigm. I just absolutely love it and it’s something I have to revisit because I forget very quickly and I default. Go back to my default which is kind of the model that many of us think is right. That’s been a more recent one. The second one was more of a favorite or all time kind of?
Derek: One of your favorite books. Doesn’t have to be business, but one of your favorite books of all time that you think everybody should read?
Ed: I would say I don’t have one in particular, but when I get asked that question, just anything from Malcolm Gladwell.
Ed: Right. Tipping Point, of course. Outliers. Blink. Everyone should read that. Especially if you’re in business or work with people which pretty much all of us … I think that’s a must read.
Everyone should have to read those books. It explains so much about human nature and human behavior and why things are the way they are. It really shifts your thinking in a very positive way. I think those three books, they belong in everyone’s bookshelf. Not just there but they need to be read and applied.
Derek: Yeah. I’m with you. You mentioned Dan Pink a little earlier. Kind of those big picture books that are founded in real science and evidence. Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink. Then, a guy that’s come out in the last couple of years, Charles Duhigg, who wrote the Power of Habit.
Ed: Oh yeah. Yes.
Derek: He just released Smarter, Better, Faster. That’s in that same category. Great stories. Great advice. Based in facts and science, not just this is what I feel and stuff that can’t be backed up by science. I like authors who can present great information in an entertaining way. All three of those authors, they do a great job of storytelling.
Ed: Yes. They’re certainly masters of that.
Derek: Ed, thank you so much for all of your time today. I know that you’ve got a lot going on, but I really appreciate you coming on and giving your experience. It’s neat to be able to talk to a business author six years after the publication of the book, to see what the book has done for the business and have time to process what you would do differently, what you did right, and then share that with everyone. I appreciate you being so open and honest about your experiences.
Ed: Oh. My pleasure. Derek, thank you for having me on. I really enjoyed the conversation.