Simon Sinek on When Your Idea is Worth Turning Into a Book

In Chapter 16 of 16 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, author and public speaker Simon Sinek answers "How Do You Take Collections of Ideas and Turn Them Into Books?"  Sinek focuses less on the collection of ideas and more on how to take an idea, attack a problem and do so by taking your readers on a journey.  Simon Sinek teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people.  His goal is to "inspire people to do the things that inspire them" and help others find fulfillment in their work.  Sinek is the author of "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action".  He works regularly with the United States Military, United States Congress, and many organizations, agencies and entrepreneurs.  Sinek is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and an adjunct staff member at the think tank RAND Corporation.  Sinek earned a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Brandeis University.


Erik Michielsen:  How do you take collections of ideas and turn them into books?

Simon Sinek:  Considering that most books are probably only have enough content in them to be sort of articles, you know, to take a collection of ideas and turn them into a book, you know, an idea to be a book has to be able to advance. In other words, it has to start somewhere and go somewhere. Right? And I think a lot of books that are written have an idea that’s—it may be a really good idea but the whole book is simply case studies that prove the same idea, over and over and over again, right? And a book like in a work of fiction is a story. It has a beginning, it has a middle, and it has an end. You know, there’s a sort of an Aristotelian story arc, you know, where there’s some sort of here’s the world there is something is introduced that makes everything go wrong, you know there’s some sort of resolution and then here’s the—here’s how it looks. There’s conflict, right? So I think a collection of ideas that belong in a book, it addresses a very real problem. Here’s the way the world is. There’s a serious problem with this. Here’s the introduction of something that can help us and here’s what we could do to advance that. And there’s an arc. There’s something that holds your interest throughout the whole thing as opposed to just pick a page, start anywhere, and it’s more of the same. You should feel like you’ve missed the beginning if you start in the middle, you know? So yeah, I mean, a collection of ideas, I wouldn’t call it a collection of ideas, I’d call it, you know, a journey. That—and it doesn’t even have to be a complete journey, it has to be a journey. It has to start somewhere, and it has to go somewhere, even if it’s not a final destination.