WHY BOOKS ARE GOOD FOR BUSINESS.
In this multi-media, high tech age, the old-fashioned book still carries enormous weight. It has a greater sense of permanence than a “report”; it brings more prestige than any amount of articles; it puts more information into the reader’s hand more conveniently than any website.
That is why businesses continue to commission books about themselves, their senior personnel or their areas of expertise. They act as permanent records of achievements, both personal and corporate, and they put across corporate messages in an authoritative and thoughtful way.
I’ve written a great many books for and about business. Some of them have been collaborations, such as “High Impact Business Presentations” for Lee Bowman of the Kingstree Group; some have been ghosted autobiographies such as “Against All Odds” for the Chinese banking billionaire, Tan Sri Loy, and “An Adjusted Dream” for Nigerian industrialist and banker, Chief Akinkugbe. There have been the business-mixed-with-adventure stories such as “Fighting Back” in which Atanas Tilev, reputedly the richest man in Bulgaria, told of his fight with the old communist mafia in his homeland, while others have been straight corporate stories such as “An Extraordinary Business – the story of James Martin Associates”, which charted the rise of an early information technology guru and the consultancy company he built.
I first became interested in the world of business in the eighties, contributing to titles such as Marketing Week, The Director, Chief Executive and Management Today. At the same time I worked for the public relations industry, producing corporate literature for a wide range of companies from Arthur Andersen to AMEC, from Citibank to Taylor Woodrow. I published a number of business books under my own name including “Managing Your Marketing Career”, “Corporate Entertaining as a Marketing Tool” and “Using Television and Video in Business”.
I went on to ghostwrite books for various management gurus on subjects as diverse as customer care and database marketing, selling techniques and business travel. These books were less about the authors and more about their subjects of expertise. If they were experts in a particular management technique they could use the publication of a book to publicise themselves to a wider market. At the same time, those authors who held seminars or conferences were able to sell the books as part of the back-up material for their talks or courses without having to take the time off to write the books themselves.
Compared to many other forms of public relations and advertising, publishing a book is a very cost-effective method of putting across a message to a target market. If a company has a customer base to give or sell the book to, before it’s offered to the general public, they may recoup their initial outlay before the book even gets into the shops.
The publication of a book can be the cornerstone of a much wider corporate relations campaign, leading to interviews with the subject or the author in the media, and in some cases even to a film or television programme. But even if it doesn’t grow into a media event, a book still lives for many years as an unarguable testament to the achievements of any company or any business person.