Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Writing LESS!

The LESS! book cover and the first four chapters.
The LESS! book is close to completion. All chapters are in, I have edited more than two thirds of the book. This has been my most enjoyable writing project in a very long time. Writing a book always requires a lot of hard work, but it is also incredibly fun. If you work with great people, which I do, the fun factor goes up...way, way, up!

I have wanted to write a collaborative management book for a couple of years now, but when I got the opportunity, I was not the first to recognize it. Katherine Kirk did!

Katherine and I were both speakers at the LESS 2011 management conference. The conference was a blast. Lots of great speakers: smart, experienced, deep thinkers, and very good at presenting their ideas. I decided to take the opportunity to interview a few of them for a book project that had been on the back burner for a year. I hadn't written much for awhile, and I was really itching to write and publish a new book.

Katherine made a great presentation, so I asked her if I could interview her for a book. She said yes, so we got together, and I got a very interesting interview. One of my questions was "what topic would you really like to see a management book on?" "This conference," Katherine said.

I just sat there for a few seconds. This was just too good an opportunity to miss. Katherine was right. A book written by the conference speakers was a fantastic idea. I mothballed the book I interviewed Katherine for (Sorry, Katherine!), and asked her if it was OK if I took her idea to the conference organizers. She was fine with it, so I contacted Vasco Duarte. He liked the idea too, so I got a list of speaker email addresses, and we were off.

The LESS! project works like this:

Each writer contributes a chapter. Writers are encouraged, but not required, to edit each other's chapters. We have set up a LESS Author group on LinkedIn to make it easy to discuss the book among all authors. I do the final edit, help with graphics, I do the book layout and the cover.

We decided early on that profits from the book should go to a good cause. Some details left to finagle there. I'll tell you more about that when everything has been set up properly.

So, not only were people willing to take on a large amount of work, they were all willing to give the profits away. Oh, and they have all put up with my rough-and-tumble approach to editing. I have been most fortunate to work with such a hardy bunch of management piooneers.

Writing and editing LESS! has been, and still is, a great adventure by its own right. I learn a lot, about management, about writing, editing, layout, cover design, and about collaboration. I work with great people. I also learn a thing or two that will be useful in the future. I'll let you in on what they are, in the near future. You will not be disappointed.

Now, it's back to editing LESS! for me. See you soon.

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