Who Are You To Write A Book?

April 4, 2017

For those of you who do not know me or follow me, I recently completed a book on business intelligence. It was my first attempt at completing a book and the process was quite enjoyable. Of course I love to read and write so I cannot promise it is something everyone will want to tackle. That said, I would highly recommend the process. Every single one of you has expertise in something that others of us want to know about. From those of you unfortunate enough to have gone through chemotherapy to the self-help gurus here on LinkedIn prolific in their advice and insight and quick on the keyboard, everyone has a valuable story to share.

Cooking with Business Intelligence grew out of a desire for me to organize my thoughts. Writing a book is something I have always wanted to do and in fact I have made attempts in the past with various works of fiction that never really lived their full life expectancy. Perhaps an Elf Lord who is the master of machine learning should be my next attempt…you never know.

There were a few reasons I wanted to complete this book.

  1. I wanted to fulfill a lifelong desire to write a book, any book just for the accomplishment and for my dad.

  2. I was looking for a way to organize my thoughts around business intelligence and data analytics.

  3. I wanted to give back to those who inspired me throughout my career.

Before my dad passed away last year, I wanted to finish one of the many “novels” I had started. My dad and I discussed this often and in fact, he had completed an autobiographical book right before his death but never had it published. I regret not having finished my book before he passed but I know that although he would not see it, he would have been proud of the accomplishment.

With regards to organization, I felt that the exercise of writing a book allowed me to think through the process of standing up a business intelligence practice. There is always room to learn and I will never be complete in my understanding of data and business intelligence. In fact, as time passes, technology becomes more and more advanced and the technical practices we employ today will be outdated tomorrow. Writing this book taught me some very valuable lessons:

  1. People are always people and they are always the most important ingredient in the business intelligence and data recipe.

  2. Don’t get too caught up in the “soup of the day”. Techniques, technologies and breakthroughs will come and go, and eventually pass. Ultimately, your foundation will remain. As long as it is sound, these passing events will not leave too much of a mark or require much “do-over”.

  3. No matter how much you know (or think you know) there is always someone out there that knows a whole lot more. Once I let myself off the hook knowing that this is not some groundbreaking publication that would change the data world forever, I was able to give my self-permission to succeed.

  4. My book is prescriptive but not predictive. In other words I can’t say the reader will be successful, but I can definitely tell them some tips to use in pursuing success.

  5. Success is not a measure that starts at 0% and ends at 100%; rather, it is the act of moving forward and making progress. There is a lot to learn and I am still working through many challenges with my own data organization. I often reflect on the work I have done and realize that we have made progress…a ton of it and that is success to me.

Inspiration has also played a very big role in the completion of my book. A few of my leaders have been inspirational to me throughout my career. This has been the case in varying degrees, but it is true nonetheless. Their willingness to constantly learn, to have a sincere interest and investment in the people around them and to value the growth of their organization has been very inspiring. This is something many organizations aspire to in building their own culture.

Healthy culture unlocked something in me and drove me to complete this part of my life and for that I am thankful. I may not be an expert in business intelligence but I am an expert in my experiences in business intelligence. That is the takeaway of my book.  And just as I have imparted some wisdom of both my success and failure onto my reader, so too can you. Next time you are on Amazon, take a look at how many books have been written on the subject you work in, live in for that matter. There are many and I guarantee that while the theme may be consistent among them, the books are very, very different. You are reading the perspective and experience of the author, and that is the value their book brings. So give it a shot. Ask a question, tell a story then write a book.

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