The Book Cover Process
February 3, 2010

I’ve been asked several times how I pick the book for my weekly articles, so I thought I’d take a minute and fill you in on the very sophisticated and highly secret process:

1.  I judge books by their covers. All the time.  I hang out in the business and personal development sections of Chapters (Canada’s major retailer) and cruise the collections looking for interesting titles, subtitles and cover art.  Of course, I also follow up on some recommendations, some books are sent to me, and some are new releases from authors I like.  But for the most part, I’m into the gut-based selection method.

2.  I read.  A lot. I’ll typically start 3 or 4 books a week.  not finish, mind you, but start.  If an author can’t capture me within the first 25 pages (typically the intro and into the first chapter) I’m onto the next.  Life’s too short to be spent on bland books.

3.  I highlight. As an FYI, you never want to lend me one of your books.  I highlight anything of interest (catchy line, new insight, well worded clarification).  I write notes in the margins – notes for the articles, for workshops, or for my own business or life.  I fold down pages (the bottom corner for some reason.  Don’t ask me why) and generally chew up my books.  I love them.  They’re meant to be enjoyed, not framed.

4.  I type out all my notes. Typically 5-9 pages of notes from each book.  I think the most I had was 12 pages from Seven Habits.  What can I say, it’s a great book!

5.  I connect the dots. My favorite part of the article writing process is definitely the hour or so I spend reviewing my typed notes.  I’m looking for a trend – something that may not even be explicitly stated in the author’s words.  I’m looking for an idea that fits into the puzzle in my head of how personal development, corporate skills, entrepreneurship, life, communication, leadership, etc. all blend together.  I’m convinced that if I read enough books and speak with enough thought leaders, I’ll find that eureka moment where it all becomes clear.  Not there yet, but working on it.

6.  I make it actionable. Ideas are great.  But we can’t all be philosophers.  My sole purpose for The Goose is to provide tangible, actionable take aways that you can put into effect in your own life immediately.

7.  I write, Lindsay proofs, You (hopefully) read.

8. Repeat.

So there you go – the mystery process in a nutshell.  Let me know if you have any questions.