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It's in a book, so it must be true

I first came across this notion in a book called 'Winning Through Intimidation' that was first published back in 1973 by a guy called Robert J. Ringer.

Although the book covers many things [it's basically one of those rah, rah you-can-be-a-millionaire-by-the-end-of-the-week-type books], one concept is 'the leapfrog theory of success'. My adaptation of this idea also has an element of the king's new clothes about it, and it is this; when you have written the book - you are the expert. Yep - even if you have written rubbish, the fact that you have been published gives folk the perception that you know what you are talking about - you are a perceived expert.

I have seen this in a number of 'e-marketing' and 'e-commerce' texts, particularly from the early days of the web [1996 - 2000] when most authors of such titles were from a technical background, and so had no experience, training, qualifications - or in some cases - knowledge of marketing or business. [Note that I refer here to academic texts and not so much the more practical 'how-to type books']. But, and it is a big but, because they got their books to market first - and I doff my cap to them for that - they are now considered to be 'experts' in the field [to be fair subsequent editions of their books have improved in this regard].

Of course, I might be considered a poacher turned gamekeeper - having spent years trashing books I am now an author - and so I am an expert. Note that this is typed with a wry smile on my face - I'm still a poacher at heart ... and there is a big slice of 'in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king' in any expertise I might have.

But it is nice to have your 'ideas' legitimized by being in print. I have always kept electronic copies of powerpoint presentations, handouts, flyers, hint-sheets etc from my years of teaching, training and speaking - and I have stuff dating back to early 1997. On it I have my ideas, advice, philosophies - even concepts. And at the time they carried no weight in an academic context - though I hope they were useful to the various audiences. Now that some of those early beliefs are out there in book shops around the world they do carry a certain validity. Of course, they could still be rubbish ....

However, I am obliged to add that having gone through the trials and tribulations of writing a number of books that the task is far from easy. It is immensely time consuming and you earn next to nothing for your labours - if I end up with a pay-rate of more than 50 pence for each hour of work put in I will be [pleasantly] surprised. So if there are any 'poachers' out there who criticise anything I've written - where are your publications?

It is then with more than a hint of irony - and also with a nod of acknowledgement to Ringer's 'leapfrog theory' - that when you have published more than one book you can actually refer to yourself [in one book to another] - making you even more of an expert - hence your expertise leapfrogs ahead of peers or competitors!

How to cite this article:
Charlesworth, A. (2006). It's in a book, so it must be true. Retrieved [insert date] from

This page was first published around 2006 but may have been updated since then
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