The life goal: writing books

The author page in the back of The art of project management Making Things Happen has this photo.

Scott's bookshelf

This represents a life goal: to write enough good books to fill the shelf. I’ve measured its width and according to my calculations I need to write 20-25 books to fill it. Since the book took a year to write, working nearly full time at it, I expect to be working towards this goal for the rest of my life. I won’t publish anything I’m not proud of so I’m after quality too, not just volume. If I die with a half full shelf of good books, I’ll still be a happy man (as happy as a dead man can be).

I think this goal is as insane as you probably do – but when I quit Microsoft in 2003 I made a long list of possibilites: this was the least insane. Just like everything else, insanity is relative.

Writing forces many good things to happen for me: most interesting perhaps is that I have to confront my own bullshit. I can’t just complain about things I don’t like or handwave about how I’d make something better: instead I have to sit down and try to do it myself. And if I do it right, other people benefit from the effort.

I’ll be writing more on this blog about the goal and my approach. If this interests you let me know: if not I’ll keep most of it to myself :) Any encouragement is encouraged and thanks for reading so far.

7 Responses to “The life goal: writing books”

  1. Paulo


    It obviously interests me and many other readers, I’m sure. Otherwise you’d have no visitors in the first place ;)

    I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book myself, though I must confess I lean more towards writing novels/fiction than anything else (despite having written a couple of technical articles in the past too). Ideas pop up in my head every now and then but somehow I never felt up to it, for many different reasons, be it lack of time but mostly lack of confidence.

    Anyway, I’ve very interested in any prose coming from your camp. I’ve already learned valuable things from it and I’m sure that’s not going to change any time soon. :)

  2. Daniel Read

    I haven’t had a chance to read your book yet, Scott, but I recently started following your blog after reading “Why Software Sucks.” Good writing, good insights. Keep ’em coming.

    “Writing forces many good things to happen for me: most interesting perhaps is that I have to confront my own bullshit.”

    I can identify with that. Writing in general is this way, and in particular I think blogging has this effect.

    BTW, absolutely love the design of your book cover. A nice change for O’Reilly (whose books always have great covers).


  3. keith bohanna

    Hi Scott,

    The blogs that interest me are a mixture of the business strategy, the techology tools and the human(s) behind it all.

    The stuff that helps you as the person behind your blog focus, cope with the ups and downs and be happy in/with yourself is definitely of interest :-)




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