I think when a reader reads a whole book - which takes six to ten hours - that’s kind of a gift to the author. The gift of close, undivided attention. To who else do we listen so closely for eight straight hours? And when readers give that gift to me, I’m grateful for it.
But I'd rather help than watch. I'd rather have a heart than a mind. I'd rather expose too much than too little. I'd rather say hello to strangers than be afraid of them. I would rather know all this about myself than have more money than I need. I'd rather have something to love than a way to impress you.
A conventional ‘success’ story is one where, with each next, the protagonist has more money, more respect, and more possessions. I’d like to suggest an alternative ‘success’ story – one where, with each next, the protagonist is closer to finding that spot where he’s no longer held back by his heart, and he explodes with talent, and his character blossoms, and the gift he has to offer the world is apparent.
I'm convinced that business success in the future starts with the question, What should I do with my life? Yes, that's right.... People don't succeed by migrating to a "hot" industry (one word: dotcom) or by adopting a particular career-guiding mantra (remember "horizontal careers"?). They thrive by focusing on the question of who they really are--and connecting that to work that they truly love (and, in so doing, unleashing a productive and creative power that they never imagined).
I learned that it was in hard times that people usually changed the course of their life; in good times, they frequently only talked about change. Hard times forced them to overcome the doubts that normally gave them pause.It surprised me how often we hold ourselves back until we have no choice.
Make sure your characters are worth spending ten hours with. That’s how long it takes to read a book. Reading a book is like being trapped in a room for ten hours with those characters. Think of your main characters as dinner guests. Would your friends want to spend ten hours with the characters you’ve created? Your characters can be loveable, or they can be evil, but they’d better be compelling. If not, your reader will be bored and leave.