I hate to break it to you, but nobody is going to memorize your entire book.
No one will remember most of your book.
Chances are, your readers will forget virtually everything they read in your book, except for one or two key phrases or ideas. Those key takeaways will become “the message” readers get from your book. If you want to control what that message is, you need to take control.
In 2010, researcher Brené Brown gave a TEDx talk in Houston on the topic of “the power of vulnerability.” As of this post, the video of that talk has been seen over 62 million times. Five of Brené’s seven books have become New York Times Best Sellers, and cumulatively have sold several million copies. Her fees to speak to corporations and at events can range into the six-figures—per talk. In 2019, she was honored as the first researcher to get her own Netflix special. However, throughout the past ten years and across every medium, Brené’s message has remained remarkably consistent: Be you. Be all in. Fall. Get up. Try again. The message itself is powerful, and the sustained, consistent delivery has made it memorable.
Your message is not the words your audience reads in your book, it’s what remains in their mind when they’re done reading. Your content will influence your audience more deeply, and your influence will last longer, if you choose a powerful message and stick to it.
People get a lot less from your content than you might think, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For example, I enjoyed reading Ryan Holiday’s books The Obstacle is the Way, Ego is the Enemy, and Stillness is the Key, but if you asked me what I liked about each one, I might struggle to recall anything specific. The best I might be able to say is that I’m now more likely to see obstacles as opportunities, beware of pride, and find time to be still and think deeply. If I ever need help in one of those areas, I know where to turn for a refresher. If I run into someone who says “My life is crazy chaotic, I feel like I can’t think straight or make the right decisions because I’m always rushing from one thing to the next,” I might ask, “Have you read Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday? Sounds like exactly what you need.”
For Holiday that may be enough. I’ve bought six of his books for myself, dozens for other people, and I’ve recommended them to thousands through my articles, blog posts, and email newsletters. Since every book he writes becomes a runaway best seller and allows him to charge ever-increasing fees for his consulting services, it would appear he’s got a good thing going on.
Do you want results from your book(s) like Brené and Ryan? Then choose a simple, powerful message, and drive it home over and over again.
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