My guest today is Nick Hutchison, the founder of BookThinkers, a business dedicated to helping authors and readers make a connection in the personal development space. The BookThinkers empire consists of an engaging Instagram community, a podcast called BookThinkers: Life Changing Books, mobile applications and so much more. “We love connecting people with books,” says Nick. “And so social media has been a great way to achieve that mission.”
BookThinkers is always helping their audience discover new books, new mentors and new resources. I absolutely love this conversation with Nick because, as a relatively new author, I’m always learning new things and trying to figure out how to make sure “Betting On You” is of service to a larger audience. If you’re interested in hearing us discuss how to get the most out of personal development books, hearing about what to look for in a great book, as well as advice for authors who are trying to grow their audience, sit back and enjoy this conversation.
Don’t Quit Your Personal Development When You Put the Book Down
During the pandemic, book sales went through the roof. This statistic reflects so many peoples’ No. 1 priority during quarantine: Use that time in isolation for personal development. In general, people want to learn, but are they actually finishing the books they bought from their “want list”? Are they actually seeing their goals through? I believe that people do want to change, but maybe they just can’t find the time or figure out the proper routine to do the work.
“The act of buying a book certainly releases dopamine for certain people. And unfortunately that’s the very end of the process,” Nick says. Purchasing a book and putting it on the bookshelf can feel like an item checked off even if they don’t crack it open. “If you get to that point where you actually read it but you don’t change your behavior, there’s no difference between [that and] Netflix or playing video games, right? They’re just a form of entertainment.”
Great personal development books, if they resonate with you, have the ability to give you a fresh take on life, your relationships or your career. But you have to go beyond simply reading the words on the page; you have to put those lessons into practice afterwards. How can you make sure to get the most out of what you read? You can accomplish this by “taking notes, actually reflecting on your notes and then changing your behavior,” Nick says. A great book is designed to motivate you further in your journey, not be an end goal in itself.
The Best Personal Development Books are Actionable
As an author, I read something like 35 self-help books before I even put together my book proposal. I went out into the marketplace and bought these new books to see what the landscape was like. One quality I found that they all share is that they’re designed to make you feel like anything is possible. But I do know that not all books are created equal.
How can we weed through all of the noise at the bookstore and figure out what is best for our personal development? “I think the best books are actionable,” Nick explains. “They give you the tools to act against the promises that they’re delivering to you at the beginning of the book or what the hook of the book tells you is possible. So I think they’re rooted in reality. I think they’re actionable, and I think they describe the task at hand accurately.”
A good book that will end up leaving you with a lasting impression and motivate you to make personal changes doesn’t leave you hanging. Such a book says, “Alright, I’ve inspired you, and now here’s a plan.” So when you’re browsing through a selection of personal development books and feel committed to doing the work, skim through the pages and follow Nick’s advice: Make sure that what you’re about to read is actionable and will deliver on what it promises.
Advice for Authors in the Personal Development Space
As a solo entrepreneur, structuring and growing my own business has felt pretty daunting at times. For authors who are establishing themselves and their brands, there’s simply a lot of noise to cut through in order to have their messages heard. There are tried-and-true methods for promotion — PR companies and social media — but how can we make sure we’re using those avenues to their fullest potential?
“The whole book process normally starts, for the most successful authors, like a year or two years in advance of the book launch,” Nick explains. “There’s a pre-launch, a launch and then an acceleration into the future. Those three phases are all really important. But [in the] pre-launch phase, people don’t do enough there. You’ve got to form relationships with influencers that can go out there and talk about your book. You’ve got to be able to refine your hook.”
He talks about developing the hook as being able to condense your book into a 30-second selling point, as well as using that time in pre-launch to form relationships with the people who become interested in your work and will help you during the launch phase. “That launch phase is really important,” Nick adds “If you have all of those tools in place, you’ll have a stronger foundation, you’ll sell more books, you’ll be able to impact more people.”“The right book at the right time can change anybody's life. I really believe that books are sort of a pathway to close the gap between who you are and who you're capable of being.” ~ Nick Hutchison. Hear more on this episode of Punk Rock HR! Click To Tweet