I hesitated before buying Sell Your Thoughts: How to Earn a Million Dollars a Year as a Thought Leader by Matt Church, Peter Cook and Scott Stein. The subtitle made it sound a bit too much like a “get rich quick” scheme. But now that I have read the book, I am glad that I did so. Although there is a greater emphasis on the money side of things than I would prefer, the authors do provide some really interesting insights.
The “thought leader” practice to which the book is addressed is that of the independent speaker-author-trainer-mentor-facilitator-coach. The thought leader generates some unique intellectual property which encapsulates the thought leader’s expertise, and then proceeds to sell the body of knowledge through a range of different delivery modes. Using a martial arts analogy, the authors describe the steps involved in a thought leader progressing from a “white belt” to a “black belt” and beyond.
The book sets out in a clear and compelling manner how to create the content for your message, how to find your market niche, the different types of delivery methods which you can use, and how your practice will change as your reputation as an expert grows. So can anyone earn the sorts of financial returns promised by the authors, just by following their advice? It seems to me that two key ingredients not overly emphasised in the book are that the thought leader needs to be an exceptional presenter, and the thought leader’s expertise needs to be in an area for which people are prepared to pay a lot of money.
For professionals who do not want to become high-priced independent practitioners, there is still plenty to learn from this book with regard to packaging and marketing ideas.