Ep 226: How To Find Your Big Idea with Jeff Goins



Thanks to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, putting a book out into the world is easier than ever. But just because something is easy to do, doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it.

This week on The Influential Personal Brand Podcast we are joined by one of our favorite long-time partners Jeff Goins.

Jeff is the best-selling author of five books including Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age and The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do.

Jeff has spent over 15 years in the marketing and publishing space, and in that time has developed a masterful intuition for what works and what doesn’t, especially when it comes to choosing which ideas to pursue and how to implement them.

Tuning in you’ll hear Jeff explain why good ideas don’t necessarily result in good books, how to find the perfect balance between the familiar and the absurd, and why you can only subvert expectations once you’ve fulfilled them.

Our conversation with Jeff is filled with remarkable insights that will give you a renewed appreciation for the art of storytelling and the Olympian effort involved with writing a great book.

Make sure you tune in to hear it all!


  • Why good ideas don’t necessarily result in good books.
  • Why writing a book is an Olympic act.
  • How it has become easier to put a book out into the world.
  • Just because it’s become easier to publish doesn’t mean you should.
  • Why interesting ideas are what results in great books.
  • How to find the balance between the novel and the familiar.
  • Why you need to meet people’s expectations before you can subvert them.
  • People buy the idea of a book before they buy the book itself.
  • Why an idea doesn’t have to be true to be interesting.
  • Jeff’s approach to partnering with his clients.
  • The big idea type of books that Jeff enjoys working on.
  • Jeff shares what he wants listeners to remember: everybody thinks X, but what’s actually true is Y.


“The way you change the world is you change people’s minds. And the way that you change people’s minds is you introduce enough novelty to them that they remember it.” — @JeffGoins [0:06:18]

“How do you take an idea that’s already been done before and do it better? You take something old and you make it new.” — @JeffGoins [0:11:03]

“People buy the idea of the book before they buy the book itself” — @JeffGoins [0:12:31]

“Everybody thinks X. But what’s actually true is Y” — @JeffGoins [0:30:41]

About Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins is a writer, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur with a reputation for challenging the status quo.

He is the best-selling author of five books including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve.

His award-winning blog Goinswriter.com is visited by millions of people every year, and his work has been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Psychology Today, Business Insider, Time, and many others.

Through his online courses, events, and coaching programs, he helps thousands of creatives succeed every year.

A father of two and a guacamole aficionado, Jeff lives just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.


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Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age

Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

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Rory Vaden

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Take the Stairs

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RV (00:07): Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon. RV (00:54): Real artists don’t starve. That is a philosophy that I believe in that is the title of my good friend, Jeff Goins book. One of his books, he’s written five books. I believe he also wrote the art of work and he is a true writer, a pure love, amazing, talented, gifted writer, which I admire because I write because it’s necessary to speak and do the other things we do. But he is he [email protected]. He’s been featured in psychology today, entrepreneur Forbes. He lives here in Nashville, so I’ve known him for years now. At this point, we just kind of like grew up in the, in the business together. And he’s just one of the coolest dudes and he spends a lot of time with manuscripts, ones that he’s writing. He’s helping a lot of other people write their own manuscripts these days. And one of the things that he told me recently was we don’t let people write bad books and I love that. And that’s what we’re talking about. So we have Jeff Goins here, who I brought on for free consulting and writing advice for me. I’m going to take advantage of it. You’re welcome to listen in to the conversation. Jeff, welcome to the show, buddy. JG (02:11): Rory, happy to be here. I am looking at your backyard, which looks like a painting. And I’m remembering a time when you had a dinner party when I didn’t know where the door to your house was. And I came through that backdrop. I’m like, is this where we go anyway? Happy to be here. Love that house. Yeah. RV (02:30): You been to the real, you’ve been to the real Veda and Villa. You’ve been to the real. You’ve been to the real spot, man. Is that the name? Vaden Villa. Yeah. We call it Vaden Villa and that cause if we ever put it on the market in Nashville, it’s like, I think we could probably sell it for like 10 times over asking price, JG (02:48): Right? Yeah. Dave Ramsey’s house is on the market. You could probably get something similar. RV (02:52): Yeah. We can sell ours and buy one of Dave’s garage bays. Exactly. Well, buddy. So I want to talk about writing an awesome book. And first of all, like let’s talk about the, the, the, the ideation process. You said, you said something. We were G jibber, John, before we got started here. And you said that good ideas make bad books. Why do you say that? What does that mean? JG (03:28): Everybody’s got an idea for a book and they think that idea is pretty good and I wouldn’t disagree with them. And the problem is that a good idea is not good enough. Good ideas are average. They are taken for granted. What most people call a good idea is a somewhat obvious observation about something true in the world. That thing could be your story. This is where a lot of people get stuck. They have something significant happened to them. They beat cancer, they lost 200 pounds. They you know built a business, whatever. And, and they think the story in itself because it’s so significant to them. And they talk to a handful of friends. I go, yeah, like they can see that it’s significant to the person that it happened to. And so their friends often encourage them. Right? If you have friends who are not professional writers, encouraging you to write a book, which is what I hear, 90% of all my friends say, you know, I need to do this. JG (04:23): 90% of people are saying that they’ve got a good idea and their friends are telling them that’s not enough. And I’m not here to dissuade anybody. I’m here to challenge you to write something that people would pay attention to. And you can go do that. That this is what most people do is they have a good idea. Their friends were not professional writers, right? Who are unqualified. Right. Think about this for a second. Nobody thinks about this, but just because your friends. Yeah. All my friends, I’m pretty good at swimming. So I should become an Olympian Olympians. Do they know what it takes? Writing a book is as you know, Rory Vaden and a limpic act, it’s hard. Lots of people want to do it. Most people who start don’t finish it. And I want to help people finish their books. But I also have a commitment to the book itself, to the world of books, to the Pantheon of literature, that we’re not gonna let more bad books go out into the world because it’s easy to put a book into the world that is relatively easy. JG (05:17): I could write something on Microsoft word today, upload it to kdp.amazon.com and it would be published in a day or two. And so the fact that that opportunity exists is one amazing. And two, it should feel, we should feel a burden of responsibility. Any time something becomes dramatically easier. We should take a moment and stop and go. Just because I can do this doesn’t mean I should. And if I’m going to do this, I want to do it well. So everybody starts with a good idea and good ideas are average. They’re ordinary and ordinary ideas get forgotten. The book itself could be great. You know, they often are good books, but that is not enough to get people talking in the way that you so, like what makes that an idea? Yeah. RV (06:08): I thought I love this. Like what you just said, ordinary ideas get forgotten. Like that’s very sobering. And you know, like, I mean, you can see that just on any social media posts, right. You post it and it just immediately buried, like buried, gone disappears. So like if good ideas make bad books. Yes. What are the ideas that make great books? How the, how the heck do we find them or make them JG (06:32): The idea is not to be better than good it’s to find your interesting edge. So the opposite of good is not great. It’s interesting. Ordinary ideas, good ideas. What I call a good ideas, an ordinary idea, really the sky is blue. People should be nice. You know, littering causes pollution, right? These are obvious ideas. They’re not untrue. They’re not even bad ideas. They’re just boring. And the way that you change people’s minds that you change the world as you change people’s minds. And the way that you change people’s minds is you introduce enough novelty to them that they remember it. So consider a spectrum on one end of the spectrum, you have ordinary, that’s boring, ordinary ideas get forgotten. And the other end of the spectrum, you have absurd, absurd ideas, get rejected somewhere in between ordinary and absurd, as interesting and interesting is always more like towards absurd than you think it should be. JG (07:33): Right? And so one of the things that I experienced in my own writing and in working with other people on their book ideas, and we have to start at the idea because as Ryan holiday told me years ago, when I hired him to help me market real artists, don’t starve. He said, as soon he goes, I’ve got to work on the book while you’re writing it. I said, what? No, no, no marketing happens after you write the book. And he talks more about this in perennial seller. If you want, if those listening along what to read more about it, but he said something I never forgot. He said, once the book is written, the marketing is over. And there’s some truth to that. I would imagine in the work that you guys do where, you know, you can’t you can’t put lipstick on a pig, right? JG (08:12): There’s that’s Ogilvy quote, good marketing makes a bad product fail faster. You’ve got to be able to innovate the thing. So we want to do stuff that’s interesting and interesting. I define as 80%, same, 20% different, you know, this, this, that Don Miller StoryBrand same but different concepts. You want, you want it to be something that people go, oh yeah, a business book or a memoir. I know how those are, you know, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. But here’s the 20% difference. Here’s the thing, because we know it works like books are a 500 plus year old technology and they really haven’t changed that much. They they’re they’re words on a page, that’s it. Right. And instead of using paper, sometimes we use screens, but it’s still the same thing. Or you read it into a microphone, but it’s just words. Right. And so the technology hasn’t really changed that much. So you don’t want to mess with it too much. You know, I remember when people want to do like video books and all kinds of crazy, crazy multimedia things, and it didn’t really work. And here we are 30 plus years into the internet and books still are books. And so 80%, same, 20% different find something that everybody’s saying and then add some novelty to it, make it interesting. Change it up. RV (09:29): How do you do that? Right. Cause that’s like a, there’s like a delicate balance that you’re talking about here. There is. If it’s too unfamiliar, I can’t understand it. I can’t get my mind wrapped around it. I don’t know, word that JG (09:43): We call that absurd. RV (09:44): Okay. If it’s too much the same, it’s like, okay, I’ve already heard it. This is nothing new. This is same old thing, regurgitated. This sounds like this person or that person or whatever. So how do you, you know, I almost kind of visualize this as like, I’m, I’m looking for, I’m looking for the goldmine. Like where do I dig? Like where do I go on? This is the, this is the part where I can nuance it. JG (10:11): Yep. It’s like cooking and interesting newness. Novelty is like salt. And, and if you’ve ever cooked, insulted your own food or, or gotten a meal, you know, at a restaurant or that somebody cooked for you and, and, and added a little bit of salt, I was like, this is, this is kind of better. Right. And added a little intro. This is kind of better. And then he had too much in there. Like now, now all I taste is the salt. Novelty is like salt. As soon as you can taste, it there’s too much. Right. So it is like, it is kind of an intuitive feeling thing. It is a thing that as somebody who’s been doing online marketing for 20 plus years, it’s a thing that I have a knack for, which is why people hire me to do it. But anybody can do it. JG (10:59): If, if you can become aware enough of what that line is. And the way I do that is I start with category. What is this thing? Right. You have to start with category. If people tell me nobody’s ever written a book like this before I go, well, that’s a problem, right? Nobody, nobody can, we can’t wrap your head around it. Right. And, and so the phrase is, it’s like this, but different like that. Right. Same but different. So take the hunger games. For example, you know, the hunger games is like the running man which was a short story that Stephen King wrote in the eighties. And it was turned into a movie with Arnold Schwartzenegger classic, amazing, terrible eighties movie that you should definitely go watch. And it’s awesome. Yeah. The running man is a story about a bunch of convicts in the future who fight have a battle to the death on public television and people watch them do this. JG (11:59): And of course that’s a rehash of the gladiator story, not just the movie, but the actual, the people who lived in fought, you know, 2000 years ago in the, in the Roman Coliseum. Right? And so there’s a historian that says nothing is new will. Duran says nothing is new except arrangement and real artists. Don’t start by talking about the concept of borrowing ideas, stealing like an artist as Austin Kleon would say, how do you, how do you take an idea that’s already been done before and do it better? You take something old and you make it new. So you start with category. That’s 80%. If you’re going to write a business book, 80% of what you do is going to be kind of what everybody has done. It’s probably going to be about 200 to 250 pages. You’re going to have some success quotes in there. It’s going to have like easy approachable language, some illustrations these days that might have some science backed studies. Cause that’s really popular now that’s, that’s the boring, you’ve got to be boring before you can be interesting. Cause you’ve got to meet people’s expectations. Yeah. RV (13:04): As you, as you talk this out, like as I just think about myself, cause you know, one of the things that we tell our members all the time is this quote that I love from Larry Winget, which is find your uniqueness and exploited in the service of others. And we really love this concept of find your uniqueness. But then when I tell the story of take the stairs, I say, well, you know, the take the stairs book more or less as a book about hard work, which is like the most unoriginal on unique, it’s normal. I mean, classically right in the 80% now we call it discipline. We call it overcoming procrastination. So we, we, we try to take it through that lens. And then, you know, the metaphor of doing things you don’t want to do is a subtle distinction versus just doing something that’s hard. Is that kind of like what you’re talking about? JG (13:52): I was thinking to take the stairs and my my belief, my contention is that before someone buys the book, the idea has to spread people by the idea of the book before they buy the book itself, they have to, because they’re hearing people talk, you can’t read a book, you can’t test drive. You can’t really test drive a book, you read a sample or something, but most people hear enough. People talk about a book that they go, oh, well, I guess I’m going to check out that book everybody’s talking about. Right. and you had it baked into the title. Right? You’ve got the, that, that classic you know, success quote, is that your record? Is that somebody else’s quote, right? Like you know, you’ve got a, RV (14:39): About the rent is due every day. Yeah. I popularized it. It’s a, it’s a twist on something I heard in college, but I, I definitely popularized that made it public. JG (14:51): What’s the vote against I don’t, but RV (14:53): Success is never owned. It’s rented. And the rent is due every JG (14:56): Day. Yeah. And then you’ve got the metaphor of like, I’m going to go out of my way to do something hard every day I take the stairs versus the elevator. So the metaphor is baked into the title and that’s the obstacle is the way is another example of that. It doesn’t, it doesn’t always happen that way. But if you can bake the big idea, that’s, that’s an 80, 20 same, but different shifts people go. Wow. That’s amazing. And so you start with a category. So what I would recommend if, if you’re writing, take the stairs today. Okay. Right. Go find at least five best-selling popular business books. RV (15:32): Abbott’s yeah. Like just habits. There’s, there’s been, there’s been a bunch. In fact, there’s a bunch that is sell way better than take the stairs. And I’m like, crap. What is different is because they nailed, they nailed it. And somehow we missed JG (15:47): And it’s, and it’s basically the same idea, a different approach, right? Like atomic habits, once it’s that’s tiny habits, it’s one small change. A 1% change. Every single day is better than massive change, you know, infrequently. So read five popular business books, see what they all agree with too. What they all say, ah, they all say, you’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do that. Okay, cool. Got it. Say that. Cause that’s, that’s what works. So it’s not like you can say like we’re not going to work hard cause people won’t believe that that’ll seem absurd and then find a 20% difference. That’s your uniqueness, something unique, some flare that you can add to it. Ryan holiday has done this really well with the subject of stoicism. He’s taken something old and made it new again. JG (16:34): But he’s using modern stories, not just a bunch of like 2000 year old Roman dead guys. Right. And so that’s, that’s how it works. Category. Start with a category, find out what they all have in common, intentionally break, a rule or two to kind of stand out. Right. There’s a scene in Braveheart where the Nobles finally join William Wallace and, and he goes, all right, let’s go. You know? And he tells the, he tells the Nobles, cause they’re on horses. Nobody else on horses. Cause they have horses. Right. And he says, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to go. I want you to go, go hard. Right. Go out and like go into the, the, the, the forest over there. We’re gonna, we’re gonna go this way. And we’re gonna, we’re gonna meet the English and you go that way. And they don’t, they’re confused. JG (17:20): And then one of them goes, oh, they think we run away. And he goes, exactly. And then I want you to flank them. Right? Come in on the side, like a flank is when somebody comes out and then you come in on the side, you attack them on the side. Completely takes them off guard. So they do that and they win the battle. That’s what a big idea is. It’s going, you think I’m going here then fly, right? Like I hit your heart and you go, whoa. And the brain loves a little bit of cognitive dissonance, a little bit of like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. That can’t be true. Is true. That might be true. And there’s 80% safety. There’s like, yeah, it’s packaged in a lot of safety cause too much novelty. A friend of mine is a neuroscientist says, you know, you really throw anything more than a three to 5% daily change in terms of habits, attitudes, et cetera, is too much in your brain. Your soul, your whole nervous system actually shut down. If you try to change too quickly, which is a whole other conversation. But the point is enough change just like enough little change, enough knowledge. It’s like inception, right? Where you inject a little tiny idea that changes everything. That’s a big idea. RV (18:29): And then you’re finding that you’re you’re you’re so that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for that 20% twists, novelty change, adaptation, flank, whatever you want to call it, but does it have to be true? And is it making it better or is it just different or can it be JG (18:58): It’s different? It doesn’t have to be true. You know, have to be honest, you can lie and get a lot of people to believe you and you will be interesting for awhile and false ideas eventually get found out. So I don’t recommend it, but the truth is that I, that an idea doesn’t have to be true for it to be interesting. It just doesn’t, you know, there, there are plenty of memes and urban tales or been fables that spread that are not true. Right. But they spread for awhile. And, and so we liked them. I think it was that book by the Heath brothers made to stick with the opening story is about that like internet story of the like guy going on a date and waking up in a bathtub full of ice. And his liver has been removed. Remember that story forever ago. And they said, this story is not true, but it spread like crazy Y and they kind of break it down. So I would say it’s like a good idea as a true idea. And most people think like the truth will set you free and it may set you free, but it doesn’t necessarily make for great marketing. You know, if, if people can pardon my saying that what makes for great marketing and let’s just go to Jesus for a second, because Jesus said the truth will set you free is RV (20:12): For you to burst into flames right now. Just keep going. Well, Jesus, JG (20:16): He’s this, didn’t this and all great political religious and thought leaders do this. They go, everybody thinks X, but what I, but what’s actually true is Y you have heard this. Now I tell you this, you have heard eye for eye tooth for tooth. Now I tell you love your enemy. Those are big ideas. Those are interesting ideas. What does he do starts with the familiar, familiar, and then add some novelty to it. So if you don’t remember anything else, remember the phrase everybody thinks X, but what’s actually true is why everybody thinks that success is just something that happens to lucky people or everybody thinks that you know, like once you get to a certain level of success, you don’t have to keep trying. But the truth is it’s a daily battle or, you know, whatever that would be the big idea of take the stairs. And then the last thing that I would add is there are tropes that you can use to do this better. And that’s a trope. There’s a literary trope is like, bring it, RV (21:18): Bring it down and not a trope. Definitely. JG (21:23): Trope a trope is something that just works. It’s a, it’s a tactic. So for example writers talk about tropes in writing fiction telling stories because, because fiction stories are, are formulaic. You know, if you’ve ever read Robert McKee’s book story or save the cat that’s a trope, save the cat as a trope. And, and the, the trope is if you want people to like your hero, you have to get them to do something noble within the first 20 minutes of the movie. So, you know, Rocky is just kind of this, like, you know kind of dumb, you know, Italian guy in Philadelphia and you see him like doing nice things for his neighbors saying hello to the nice guy, et cetera. This works even with like antihero stories, like you know, the godfather or like breaking bad, Walter White in the first episode you see, he’s this hardworking science teacher, who’s got a disabled son and you like him. JG (22:29): Cause he’s, he’s kinda, he’s just trying really hard. And that’s the, that’s the excruciating thing about that show is this guy gets progressively worse and worse. He is a villain and there’s part of you that still rooting for him. So that’s a trope. And when we think about big ideas, things that just work there are, there are just the formulas. Everyone thinks X, but what’s actually true is Y and then some skins that you can put on that would be like old, as new, old is new is stoicism. Old is new, is any like I dunno, church that says Hey, we’re doing things the way they did in the new Testament 2000 years ago. And we assume that just because something’s old, it’s authoritative, right. But you see this all the time. Ah, th this is you know, I paleo, right? JG (23:18): Like this is how the caveman ate. Well, like didn’t, they live to like age 40. Why are we doing caveman? Did it? It’s good. Right. We just, it, it doesn’t make sense. And it doesn’t need to. It’s interesting. So oldest new, good is bad or bad is good. Would be another one. Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath, all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books do this, but David and Goliath is about why strength is weakness and weaknesses. Strength. That’s good as bad, bad as good. We think strength is good. Well, sometimes it’s not good. And the ketogenic diet would be an example of that. You know, you and I are roughly the same age, I think. And I remember growing up in the eighties and nineties being told that fat was bad, low fat diet, no fat. Like you were reading the labels, looking for fat, don’t eat fat. JG (24:00): Now you have, it’s actually old as new cause it’s, it’s a version of Atkins, right? But a different take on it. And it’s like, Hey, this thing that you were told was bad fat. We want you to eat as much of that as you possibly can. And so the ketogenic diet became popular, not just not because of the science, but because an entire generation of people were told something was bad. And now they’re being told it’s good. And this, the backing of it, this is, this is being predictably. Irrational. People are predictably irrational, the quote, Dan Arielli the, the, the rationale behind it, the science convinces you of something you already emotionally want to be true. So good is bad. Bad is good, biggest, small, smallest, big, anything that appears to be one way and as some. And there’s another way these are, these are tactics and books that work well. Another one would be chaos is organized, right? Chaos disorder. What appears to be frenetic and crazy and chaotic actually has a hidden organizational structure to it. That is the, that is the plot to every mystery movie. Every ocean’s 11 movie you know, like w what’s going to happen, what’s going to happen. There’s the plan that goes completely wrong. And by the end of it, you realize this was George Clooney’s plan all along. And so these are, these are tactics that, that work well. So, you know, RV (25:20): That’s how you’re digging in. And that’s what you’re looking for. You’re just kind of going like, okay, where is the, where is the repositioning or the, the re-imagining of the 80%? Yeah. Yeah. It’s almost like a punchline. I mean, in comedy, right? That’s how I teach to teach the psychology of laughter is your, you want to get the audience thinking something, and then you twist. And that’s where the that’s where the laugh happens. JG (25:46): That’s this, that’s the same thing. The science of comedy is interesting because it’s about surprising people, but when you delightfully surprised somebody, they laugh. When, when the surprise goes in another direction, they cry, right? So comedy and tragedy are the same thing. The result is just different. Ken Davis, a comedian, I think, you know, Ken told me one time, here’s how you tell a joke. You you get a table and you put a tablecloth on the table and, and you set the table, you put plates and some silverware and a napkin and a glass and another glass. And then you pull the table cloth. Right? That’s I tell a joke. That’s how you get an idea to spread a joke is actually just an idea. That’s, that’s a funny idea. That’s spreading, right? Like a really good joke. You remember, and you tell other people and they laugh too, if you told it. Right. And so a big idea is that you set the table, that’s 80%, and then you pull the tablecloth, you change the game. And so then one of the ways that you changed the game is you just say, what you think is big as actually small, or what you think is small is actually big. That’s the idea of the tipping point. People think that big things lead to big change. No, no, no little things lead to big change. Oh, wow. Right. Good. As bad, bad as good chaos has order orders, chaos and so on. RV (27:02): Yeah. Fascinating stuff. Okay. So so now that, so what I hear you saying here is that, you know, writing a great book, much of writing a great book is, is nailing this core premise, this, this big idea, this, this twist. And then after that, like, I guess once you’re clear about that, then you’re just kind of like extrapolating that out into a, like a fairly systematic presentation of that. JG (27:33): Yeah. And, and to be fair, I mean, this is probably not all books. It’s a lot of books, I think, but the kind of books that I’m interested in working on the kind of books that I want to write, and I want to work on with other people are big idea. Non-Fiction books that can be memoir, personal, develop business, whatever, but they’re going to change the way people think about something. Because if you change the way people think about a given topic, you, you change the world. I’m not trying to like change the world, but I want to add, you know, something good to it. And this is, this is where we’re trying to do that. So yeah, you would come up with the big idea because without the big idea your book dies, it just does. That’s, that’s, that’s the thing that we’re dealing with these days is nobody’s going to the library or Barnes and noble and pulling your book off of a shelf and buying it out of curiosity. JG (28:21): And if, and if they do, that’s like maybe one to 2% of your sales. And so you want it to have some backbone. You want it to have some gravitas and S and some umph to it. And so you’ve got to start with the idea, and then you, front-load the book with the big idea. You don’t, you don’t get to page 204 and go, oh, here’s the thing that I want everybody to remember. And I want you to write a good book, and I want the whole thing to be good, and I don’t want it to be fluff, but you front-load with the big idea. And then the rest of the book should illustrate that idea. And you can illustrate it narratively through an arc format. Meaning every idea is building on itself. And you’re telling a story, or even like a Malcolm Gladwell story. JG (29:01): These are or Malcolm Gladwell book. These are, there’s a narrative arc to the book itself. And there’s some big payoff at the end. There’s an initial big idea. Then there’s a bunch of little stories. And then there’s like, it feels like it feels theatrical, or it’s like a movie and you go, oh, wow. That’s, that’s what all this means. Or it’s modular start with the big idea and then module by module by module illustrate it. So if I, if I’m writing the tipping point you know, little things lead to big change and I’m writing it modularly, every chapter is a module in that as if you were almost like teaching a course on it. So, okay. Little thing, number one, looks this little thing. Number two, looks like this little thing. Number three, looks like that. And that’s how you would do that. RV (29:48): That’s fascinating. I, this is so cool and interesting. And like the formula that we used for my Ted talk you know, we did this big ordeal about why my second book title sucked. Cause we called it procrastinating on purpose, but we call it the Ted talk, how to multiply time. And my talk went viral. And is this twist that you, you know, you don’t manage time, you multiply that you multiply time. JG (30:19): Yeah. Yeah. That’s it. And can I pick on that idea from it? Yeah. So we’re everybody thinks X, but what’s actually true is Y so everybody thinks you manage time. And the truth is you blank time. This is where most people get stuck, because the way that you come up with an interesting idea is you don’t just come up with the opposite of the thing that you just said. So everybody thinks you manage time, but you don’t. Well that’s what do you mean you don’t? Why not? That’s, that’s an interesting enough. The interesting, the 20% has to sound absurd. Right. But it’s just a little piece of it. So it can sound absurd because it’s been in case in a lot of normalcy, if that makes sense. And so everybody actually managed time, but the truth is like, I’ve heard you manage energy, right? Like, I’ve heard that before, but you took that one step farther into the stratosphere and you go, you multiply time. Well, that’s absurd where you can’t multiply time. Time is time. And that’s what makes it so interesting is it’s absurd. RV (31:13): The next part is actually not that you manage time, the X is you think you can’t create time. Oh my God, actually you can multiply time. And the way that we say is that as you go, well, you can’t create time inside of one day, but that’s why the way you multiply time is by spending time on things today that create more time tomorrow. And it is possible to multiply time if you think out into the future. So it fits that for me. But anyways, it’s like JG (31:40): And I would say to your credit, cause I read that book you’re not just, it’s not just some vague esoteric idea that you’re trying to get people to agree with you. It’s, it’s a kind of absurd idea, at least in theory. And then you have all these. I remember still, like you said something, he said something like, you know, most people think it takes like, like twice as much time to train somebody to do something for you. And the fact is it takes how much RV (32:06): 30, 30 X, we call it the third, the 30 eggs. But if you spend, but even if you spend 30 times, the amount of time it took you to do at once is what you should spend training someone to do it. But then even over the course of a year, it’s like a 733% return on that JG (32:24): Time. So what I found interesting about the book is you had all these super practical research, like you’ve done all this stuff, research, backed ideas. You’re like, Hey, here’s how this works. That’s how that works. You start with an absurd idea and then it’s in case then a lot of practicality, like you have to prove your idea. And if you can’t prove your idea, then you just have some crazy idea. And what we want is a big idea that has some grounding to it. You go, no, no, no. See, this is how this works. Then you’ve got something that will spread. Hmm. RV (32:52): Yeah. well my friend where this is, this is so stimulated Jeff, like it’s so cool. And a fascinating and fun. Where should people go if they want to learn about you? You’re obviously one of our preferred vendors at brand builders group that we recommend for folks. And so if you’re one of our members, you can just go in your portal and request an introduction to Jeff. We’ll make it happen for you. But like in terms of people following you and staying connected, like what’s the best way to do that. JG (33:23): Sure. You mentioned my website, [inaudible] dot com. You can go there and find stuff about me if this is stimulating to you. And, and you think you have a big idea for a book feel free to email me and send me your big idea. And it shouldn’t be eight paragraphs long. It should be a sentence or two. And I would challenge you to think, what is the category? Where are you starting? How are you going to add some novelty? And if you’d like feedback on your idea, I do this on every podcast these days. Cause I really do care about better ideas going out into the world because better ideas make a better world. And I want the ideas to be true and good, but I also want them to be interesting because most good ideas die before they have the chance to make the impact that they want. JG (34:05): So if you want to share your idea, feel free to email me [email protected] and the formula that I would encourage you to use is everybody thinks X, but what’s actually true is Y and use Rory’s example of you know, everybody thinks that you can’t create time, but the truth is you can multiply it like you want to get like that’s what makes it such a good idea? Such an interesting idea is that the second part is surprising. Wait, like multiply, like you can’t just create time. You can actually multiply it. You can get more of this thing that we all kind of feel is a finite resource. That’s powerful. And I want everybody to have a big idea like that and to not start writing until they do, because otherwise it’s a slog and you need the energy of a powerful idea that you think is going to change the world in order to get, to get through the really difficult parts and process of writing a book. So feel free to email that to me, Jeff, at Goins writer.com, G O I N S writer.com. RV (35:04): I love that better ideas make a better world. I’m grateful that there’s people like you, that care about the quality of the ideas and the shaping them. And in a weird way, I feel like the more, no more noise that’s out there and the easier that it is, it’s, it’s starting to get a point where everything looks like noise. That if you have a really sharp idea, people are keen to notice it quickly. And so we appreciate your work. Brother we’ll stay connected. We wish you JG (35:31): All the best. Sounds good. Thanks for sharing.

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