[book cover] Zag [book cover] Shopgirl [book cover] The Brand Gap [book cover] 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Writing for lazy people

It seems to have become common practice in publishing to commission an author to wrap more than three hundred pages around approximately two good ideas. While this approach may lend itself to a higher price tag per book, it certainly doesn't promote good use of time on the part of the reader. We believe it is time for this to change.

Cliff had the right idea with the whole 'notes' thing, but there has got to be some middle ground. It is possible for a book to be enjoyable, informative, and short. This is of course not limited to non-fiction; Shopgirl, by Steve Martin is a good example of storytelling that is both concise and emotive. The Brand Gap, and Zag represent well written, informative, and generally enjoyable works of non-fiction.

The average reader doesn't require multiple chapters of analogies, anecdotes, and otherwise redundant storytelling to understand what is typically, a simple (though possibly profound) point. Add to this the fact that people have a greater amount of distractions competing for smaller and smaller slots of their time and attention, and it becomes clear that size does, in fact, matter.

You may have read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and it may have occurred to you that seven habits could have easily been conveyed in a bulleted list, with perhaps a two or even three page explanation following each. You would have been right, but nobody would have paid twenty bucks for a pamphlet.

The habits of highly effective writing, to find the elusive middle ground between concise and contrived, can be summed up in the words of Albert Einstein: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

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