According to research, the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2023. Research focused on screen time, and, of course, numerous variables can explain this drop. However, the fact still remains that attention is a precious resource that can be hard to come by.
That’s why short books have emerged as a powerful tool for amplifying authority, increasing influence, driving thought leadership, and growing your business. These concise yet impactful books not only provide valuable insights and knowledge but also allow entrepreneurs to establish themselves as experts in their respective fields.
In this article, we will explore and analyze real-life case studies of short books that have successfully helped individuals become thought leaders and grow their businesses.
The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be by Joanna Gaines
32 pages: This #1 New York Times bestseller, intended for a young audience but also accessible to adults, celebrates each individual’s one-of-a-kind strengths and differences; teaches how teamwork can make everything more beautiful; and emphasizes the importance of kindness and taking care of one another.
Gaines, with her concise and visually appealing book, demonstrates the power of a strong personal brand in conveying a compelling message. This book not only enhances her reputation as a design expert but also resonates deeply with her audience, encouraging self-acceptance and creativity. Its success showcases how a short, well-targeted book can significantly impact readers and solidify an author’s authority in their field.
How to Be an Old Person: Everything to Know for the Newly Old, Retiring, Elderly, or Considering by Brian Boone
101 pages: Brian Boone’s humorous take on aging in How to Be an Old Person blends wit with wisdom, making a typically sensitive topic accessible and engaging.
This book serves as an excellent example of how authors can use humor to establish themselves as thought leaders in a niche area, creating a unique voice that resonates with a broad audience and fosters a deeper connection with readers. Check out the description on Amazon and you’ll also see an excellent example of how an effective book description mirrors the tone of the book.
The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity by Carlo M. Cipolla
96 pages: According to Amazon, historian Carlo M. Cipolla wrote this essay to “detect, know, and thus possibly neutralize one of the most powerful, dark forces that hinder the growth of human welfare and happiness. And if it then proves impossible to save ourselves from stupidity, at least we can take vengeance by laughing at it.”
Cipolla’s concise work captivates by turning a complex sociological observation into an accessible and universally relevant read. The book’s concise format and insightful content have not only established Cipolla as an authoritative figure in behavioral economics but also demonstrated the potential of short books to spark significant discussions in both academic and public spheres.
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
158 pages: Ray Bradbury’s short book comprised of a collection of essays on the craft of writing offers a masterclass in using personal experience to guide others. It is one of my favorite books on writing.
Part memoir, part masterclass, this thin book is both an inspirational and practical guide for aspiring writers, highlighting Bradbury’s role as a mentor figure in the literary world. Its success underscores the effectiveness of short books in sharing expertise and inspiring creative thought.
The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris
89 pages: Bestselling author Kathleen Norris explores the sanctifying possibilities of everyday work, as well as how God is present not only in worship and liturgy but also in ordinary life. Although targeted at women, this book applies to men as well.
Norris’s exploration of finding spirituality in everyday life has made The Quotidian Mysteries a quietly powerful guide for readers seeking meaning in the mundane. This book exemplifies how authors can use short, thoughtful works to connect with their audience on a deeply personal level, establishing themselves as compassionate and insightful thought leaders.
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott
102 pages: This New York Times bestseller bestseller focuses on three simple prayers that author Anne Lamott deems essential to coming through the hardships of daily life. This book unifies everything she knows about prayer to these basics: asking God for assistance, being thankful for the good we already have, and feeling awe at the world around us.
This concise approach not only makes spirituality more accessible but also reinforces Lamott’s reputation as a relatable and insightful spiritual guide. Her book demonstrates the power of brevity in reaching a wider audience while deepening her authority in the field of spiritual writing.
Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson
96 pages: This is probably the most successful of the short books discussed in this article for it is an international bestseller with more than 28 million copies in print. This timeless classic, which I remember running through my circle of colleagues at work in the late 1980s, uses a simple parable to reveal deep truths about how to deal with change. It shares advice for reducing stress and increasing success while managing the inevitable change that happens in both work and life.
Dr. Spencer Johnson’s book is a prime example of using a simple narrative to convey profound business and life lessons. This short parable about adapting to change has become a staple in business training programs worldwide, establishing Dr. Johnson as a key thought leader in change management. The book’s widespread appeal and practical insights underscore the effectiveness of short books in professional development and personal growth.
Each of these case studies illustrates how a well-crafted, concise book can be a powerful tool in establishing authority, driving thought leadership, and serving business growth. In each of these examples, the authors were able to distill complex ideas into easily digestible formats, making them accessible to a wide audience. Furthermore, the brevity of these books allowed for increased visibility and reach, as they were more likely to be read and shared from beginning to end.
Short books offer a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to share their expertise and influence others while maintaining a tight focus on their core message. By leveraging storytelling, research, and practical advice, these authors were able to establish themselves as trusted authorities in their respective fields and spark important conversations among readers.
If you are ready to write your lead-generating, authority-building short book, then check out my Launch Your Book in 90 Days program today!