As a nonfiction book coach with over 25 years of experience, I admit that I didn’t get to where I am today on my own. I’ve learned from the best mentors early in my career and am fortunate to have wise teachers in my life still today. As an aspiring author, one of the best things you can do is to learn from other successful nonfiction authors. Their experience, style, successes, and failures are all worth studying as you work on your book.
Meet Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell is a nonfiction author who has written books to share his knowledge, experience, and expertise. Gladwell has written 5 books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Outliers: The Story of Success, What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.
Gladwell’s style proves that nonfiction authors can be just as entertaining and riveting as novelists. His well-researched books present information in an easy-to-digest manner so that readers can dive into a topic they may not have explored previously. When asked about his writing process, Gladwell said, “I have two parallel things I’m interested in. One is, I’m interested in collecting interesting stories, and the other is I’m interested in collecting interesting research. What I’m looking for is cases where they overlap” (Source)
Gladwell was born to a Jamaican-born psychotherapist (Joyce Gladwell) and English-born mathematician (Graham Gladwell). He spent his childhood hanging around his father’s office at the University of Waterloo and considers his mother his role model as a writer. However, his early love of reading and books did not lead to a particularly successful college career; his undergraduate grades were not high enough to get him into graduate school. Gladwell has no problem admitting his flaws and failures and talks openly about how his failures have given him the insight and material he needs to write.
Learn from an incredibly successful nonfiction author
It’s always great to see authors helping authors. Gladwell is not shy about discussing his writing methods, how he deals with writer’s block, and how he uses public speaking to promote himself and his books. In this podcast episode he discusses everything from his morning routine to the advice he would give his 30-year-old self. Set aside some time to listen to a bestselling nonfiction author share his wisdom and advice for aspiring authors!
“For every hour I spend writing, I spend three hours thinking about writing.”
This quote from Gladwell says so much about the writing process. Writing is not just about putting words on paper or a screen, it’s about putting serious thought into what it is you want to say and how you can communicate that message through the art of writing.