I have a fondness for Canadians. I’ve never been to Canada, but I romanticize the idea of these woodsy people of the earth, these Americans who aren’t so commercialized, these nice, honest folks.
Raymond Aaron is a Canadian. And that earns him some benefit of the doubt in my (yet to be written) book. So, I won’t be too cynical and nitpicky on his conference as a three-day-long sales pitch.
Instead, I’d like to share something of genuine curiosity I learned from Raymond: his mantra to “Write a Book.”
Raymond Aaron’s Story:
When Raymond was my age, he was broke and newly divorced, fat and unmotivated, and not at all happy. One of the things he did, while living in his mom’s basement, was make a list of all the wealthy people he knew and all the non-wealthy people he knew. As he made his list, he tried to find the qualities that the wealthy possessed that the non-wealthy did not. Disheartened, he discovered that every quality that a rich person had, some poor person also had. There were rich white guys, there were poor white guys; there were rich college grads, there were poor college grads; there were rich smart people, there were poor smart people; and so on.
Until he saw the one factor that separated the haves and the have-nots: Book.
As he looked at his ledger, with rich on one side and poor on the other, the rich had written books and the poor hadn’t. It was that simple. And so he wrote a book*. And within a year, he was out debt and on his way to becoming a multi-millionaire.
It’s a nice story. And, of course, it’s not universally true. I came to the conference with a woman who had published multiple books and she is very far from wealthy. Raymond himself had written a book in his youth, a calculus textbook, that did not ultimately make his successful. So Raymond’s initial discovery needed some refinement. It’s not just any book; it’s a book as a means to an end.
One of the beliefs that he shared was: You don’t write a book to get rich, you get rich by writing a book.
Another belief: It doesn’t matter if you sell any books or if anyone reads your book.
Yet another: It’s not what you know; it’s not who you know; it’s who knows you.
Some more: Visibility and credibility lead to wealth; writing a book creates both instantly.
And, related to the first belief: You don’t sell your book, your book sells you.
He suggests that the book you author is a marketing tool, a way to create a brand for yourself. It is a way to position yourself as an expert in your field. To that end, Raymond suggests writing a book along the lines of his formula: A catchy title, a pragmatic subtitle (like “7 ways to write a book”), not too long, but not too short, etc. Need help? He has a service that will help you write your book and get it published in 10 weeks.
What I Learned:
I think of myself as a competent writer. But I have never written a book. It has always been in my plans. And I never thought of writing a book as daunting or impossible. I just never had enough sustained motivation to get it done.
That’s been my first obstacle: procrastination. And procrastination is an odd thing, with many solutions that don’t always work. Mostly because the solutions to procrastination mostly involve trying to increase the procrastinator’s motivation.
But sometimes, to make things happen, you need a spark. Some unexpected thing to come along and tell you it’s time to do something.
As B.J. Fogg teaches, to do something, a person needs: ability, motivation and a trigger. In Fogg’s model, the motivation is the least relevant piece. Motivation is difficult to predict. We do better to respond to it as if it’s a force of nature, instead of try to manipulate it as if it’s a tool. In my case, I happen to be highly motivated to write a book right now. Fogg would say it’s the right time to encounter the right trigger.
A simple trigger for me is being shown that something outside my imagination is actually right in front of me. In this case, it was seeing that I can write a book right now. The form of that trigger was Raymond Aaron’s 10-10-10 system: 10 chapters long, 10 hours to write, and 10 weeks to publish.
I don’t literally believe that I can write a book in ten hours. But, it is not far-fetched for me to believe that there are people out there that can. And, it’s easy for me to believe that I could write a book in 1000 hours, which is a lot of hours, but not an impossible amount of hours. I’ve definitely spent that much time on far less interesting things.
Also, in case it’s not obvious, I don’t believe that a book is just a marketing tool.** To the contrary, I want to write for the sake of writing. Success in that world would be to write stuff that’s meaningful to the people that read it.
But what does someone make of an author that has not written any books?
The plot twist is: Even a book writer uses the books they have written as a marketing tool.
* That book was called You Can Make A Million in Canadian Real-Estate.
** I think Raymond would agree, ultimately, that books and the ideas in them are important. But that’s just not the point of his seminar.