On writing professional books

February 22, 2024
4 min read

The 2020 pandemic with all its various torments caught me in the process of advancing steadily towards my second book, which already had a (working) title: Branding Burnout™. Long story short, the purgatory that followed resulted in my aborting the book – which remained in bits and pieces probably never to see the light of print.

However, while working on the Brandient’s new website I have stumbled upon many excerpts that are surprisingly relevant today, and take this opportunity to share some ideas and opinions around the topic of the (neo-)branding practice. 

I am a true believer in the power of books, and I do believe that any top professional must humbly contribute to the universal knowledge creation, and help the young padawans to understand, to practice, to get in love with a certain practice. 

To be honest, I am also fully aware about the vanity of “I have something to say”, but also about the new dynamic of books writing, more specifically — the pressure to deliver the book in a very short period of time, in order to avoid a problem of relevance and obsolescence! And I also know that when it comes to ego, the "why writing a professional book?" question doesn't get a too motivational answer, as what it counts these days is rather to say something cool, to leave a momentary mark, to get your two minutes of glory or maybe to start a Substack author career and get some money and have some fun in the process - all of the above being easier and more satisfactory than writing and launching a book. 

The internet has an infimum capability to teach a young professional in any field, including branding, and eventually could even erode the process of short memory transformation into long term memory which helps humans to progress. The fact that we have no time to connect the information we've got from the internet with our real personal experiences would eventually affect our originality, our personality, our mental and emotional power. 

Writing a professional book becomes a cruel challenge over these days — let’s be honest with ourselves: what kind of 'absolute' truths are really upheld over these days? There is no time to analyze, to make a satisfactory judgment of what is going on. We are used to take as professional knowledge reference either ‘ready to eat’, eventually AI generated answers, or journalistic popular tops, or even urban legends, and then, we are irritated and surprised why so much poor knowledge is on the shelves, so many clichés, stereotypes, fake news, and so on. When you consider the internet search engines your main source of learning, you are in big trouble: because the AI-generated-knowledge can offer unverified, problematic or wrong answers - mostly as result of its sources of generating this knowledge (public paid advertising, public LinkedIn articles, public promos and so on).

Not at all funny, but the almost generalized lack of authority and the reign of superficiality put professionals who want to write books about their real experiences in a very awkward situation: they can’t anymore spend 5 years to research, analyze, summarize, measure, conclude and extract relevant valuable ideas from their practice; they have to hurry and deliver what they feel and they can, since under these effervescent times, what is relevant today could be(come) obsolete tomorrow. The great Wally Olins told me once that he used to re-write the draft of his books many times over, over one or two years, until he did reach the best, the perfect, the purest conceptual and stylistic standard he wanted. No wonder he’s still relevant after years — but I’m afraid, gone are those times! The state of daily emergencies affects us in a way that we can’t go deeper into the search for the true essence, relevant findings and provide glorious solutions.

The 10,000 hours of intensive practice (including thinking!) in order to earn the title of expert/professional (a rule of thumb popularized by Malcolm Gladwell), this is what we are missing over these times! For example, are you aware that the conceptualization and writing of a solid branding strategy consultancy report is taking 4 weeks or more? (Which by the way, it is less and less acceptable by business clients in their acute need for an immediate quick fix solution). Therefore, a hand from an AI assistant could help, couldn't it? Well, yes, actually it could help a senior professional (10,000 hours?) who is able to instruct the AI, based on its tacit accumulated knowledge, but not a junior professional.

I feel how professional books are more and more under the brutal attack of this ’transformative everything’ and 'neo-experimental everything' and 'quick fix everything', under the growing culture of impatience and convenience (books are named over these days “5 easy steps to ...”, “10 quick lesson about ...>” etc.), and I can't blame the internet for that. The Internet is just responsible to the sometimes-irresponsible business of the Internet. Far from preaching the end of the Gutenberg era, I actually feel a glimpse of hope when comparing my 5 year-old thoughts with the actual state of the quick-fixes instantly available today. Books must be protected and promoted by people who are capable to understand their value to the progress of humanity.

Aneta Bogdan MBA FCIM Managing Partner Brandient

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Tagged: books · Branding Burnout™ · excerpt

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