#65: Whitney Johnson — bestselling author, executive coach, innovative thinker — gives tips on writing and launching a book

Brainstorming, researching, and writing are all parts of producing a successful book. But there are other things you could and should be doing — right now! — if you’re considering authoring a book. Get Whitney’s book-writing tips and learn about her most recent book in today’s episode.

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What was your biggest insight from this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @influencer_inc.


Whitney’s path led her from music major to secretary, to Wall Street, to volunteering and then co-founding a fund with Clayton Christensen, to becoming a researcher, author, and thought leader.

An ah-ha moment: While working as a secretary in the ‘80s, Whitney realized she was as smart as the people for whom she was working.

Whitney suspects that only half of those she works with are in a field for which they received formal training (university education).

Whitney is a member of Marshall Goldsmith’s Original Cohort of 15. Because coaching offers glimpses into other’s lives and organizations, providing coaching services has helped inform Whitney’s understanding of organizations and has influenced her writings.

Whitney’s previous book, Disrupt Yourself, is about how to know when it’s time to do something different in your life and how to make that change. It’s a book about personal change and development. Her most recent book, Building an A Team, is for managers or anyone who is managing people.

An insight from the book: Do you, as a manager of people, have too many people at the height of the learning curve?

Whitney’s first (non-business) book, Dare, Dream, Do, somewhat autobiographical, is about the importance of having a dream.

Advice on writing:

  • Write about what you know
  • Write about what you want to know
  • Start writing
  • Have a platform. Publishers care about how many followers you have and how big your list is
  • Build your email list

How Whitney builds her list:

  • Drives traffic from LinkedIn
  • Asks for email addresses at events, webinars, etc. and then invites them to opt in