July 13, 2012

Anyone Can Do That

A few years ago, I was meeting with two colleagues and the discussion moved toward a mutual acquaintance who had just released a new book. Someone chimed; “Writing a book is easy, anyone can do that". My reaction; “Oh cool, when is yours coming out?” The topic was swiftly changed.

That conversation came to mind recently as I've been discussing with a few people about the possibility of writing a book. Despite publishing close to 750,000 words since this site was launched, it's not a simple undertaking. Discussions continue.

Easy Peasy

If you want to write a book, it’s somewhere in range of 60-100,000 words. There are editors and publishers, re-writes and research, long hours and marketing, events and online, retail and so on. No, not anyone can write a book. And few write a successful one. I know colleagues who have and it's a ton of work.

It's simple to opine something is easy when you haven't actually done it yourself. We can all scream from our chair when the pitcher floats a 90mph fastball high and inside handing the other team a three run homer. Anyone can pitch in the bigs, right? It’s effortless to scoff at a speaker for getting on stage because anyone can speak in front of a crowd, right?

Opinions as Opiates

I think Malcolm Gladwell is right. It takes about 10,000 hours to become proficient at something. That, by no means, makes us an expert. But we inch on to dangerous soil if we begin to make claims about something we actually know nothing about.

Some are quick to point out what leadership should be doing, what government should be changing, what those in an industry they know nothing about should be undertaking. Instead, we should learn from each other's perspective and experience which is the essence of collaboration.

No, not everyone can do that. And that is a good thing.

Kneale Mann

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