See the books that inspired his literary success.
Guy Kawasaki likes to say that his high school English teacher would laugh to hear that he’s written so many books. A legendary figure in Silicon Valley, Kawasaki was the chief evangelist for Apple and helped launch the Macintosh computer in the 1980s. He’s also been an investor in nearly a dozen tech startups. These experiences inspired the self-described “accidental” author to write 13 nonfiction books so far—on everything from innovation and social entrepreneurship to “enchantment” (his take on the art of persuasion).
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In recent years, he’s become a champion for all writers. In his 2011 book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, he explores how self-publishing platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing have changed the game for writers and offers practical advice for succeeding in this new era. As an investor and chief evangelist for Canva, an online graphic design service, he’s helping self-published authors with the all-important task of designing an effective cover.
In the spirit of writers helping writers, Kawasaki talked with The Story about four books he considers must-reads for aspiring authors and book marketers—because these days, successful scribes need to do both well.
“This book changed my life,” Kawasaki says. That’s serious praise for the beloved 1938 how-to guide on unleashing your creativity. The author’s central premise—that everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say—resonates with Kawasaki. His main takeaway: “If you want to write, stop listening to the naysayers, including the ones in your head.”
“This book is Dale Carnegie meets a social scientist,” Kawasaki says about the seminal 1984 text often included on best business and psychology booklists. An experimental social psychologist and professor, Cialdini combines academic experiments with three years of fieldwork during which he posed as a wannabe advertiser, fundraiser and seller of everything from dance lessons to vacuum cleaners. He boils his findings down to six fundamental tactics for getting people to say yes. “People need to read this book to understand how to market their book,” Kawasaki says.
In an effort to discover the source of creativity and great ideas, Shekerjian interviewed forty recipients of MacArthur genius grants. Famed paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, filmmaker John Sayles, comic Bill Irwin and others weigh in on ideas like talent, genius, instinct and more. “The insight people will take from this book is that before they achieved success, MacArthur winners grinded, grinded, and grinded,” Kawasaki says. “They were at this for 20 years. When you read about success, it was never overnight.”
Culled from The Story
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