Two days ago, I wrote the first part of "What authority do I have to write a wine blog - Part 1" which certainly positioned me with less authority both as a writer and an expert on wine than many others, but did provide some (self-proclaimed!) authority nonetheless.
I now want to review the humility and authority of two 'real' writers and their question of if they had authority to write or not. They are Professor Ian Harper, who has already written a great book on economics, called "Economics for Life", and Blake Stevens and his riveting and educational book on personal financial management entitled "Still Stupid at Sixty." Both in their humility questioned if they had a story worth telling or not.
Professor Harper has been asked by his publisher Acorn Press, to write another book, looking at what Australia would be like for future generations. I was privileged to be asked by Professor Harper to participate in a brain storming session with about a dozen other people over the weekend. For those of you who know Professor Harper, you know that he is a great public speaker, a great writer, participated or chaired major commissions on behalf of the Australian government, including the Wallis Commission and the Australia Fair Pay Commission (AFPC). He is a world renown economist. His first book "Economics for Life" was an outstanding success.
Yet, even with the encouragement of others and the proven success he has had professionally, and through his debut book, he still was questioning if he was capable and qualified to write on a topic somewhat tangential to his main area of expertise! If only more people would take that approach, challenge themselves as much and look as introspectfully as Professor Harper has, there would be a lot less 'garbage' in the printed and electronic domain. We can only hope that Professor Harper came away from the weekend with the confidence and passion required to write his next book - I hope and expect he has, but have not communicated directly with him on that yet.
Blake Stevens, a close personal friend of mine, is not a professional writer or much renown for anything. He is a very qualified and successful business person though who has made some serious personal financial management mistakes which almost ruined him and from which he is just now recovering. He also looked introspecfully at his decisions, his mistakes, and his need to deal with them. He sat down one day in February and 15 days later had written 75,000 words on the mistakes he made, why he made them, what he learned from them and what he did and was doing about them.
He was greatly remorse, frankly pissed off at himself, and astounded by how easy it would have been to avoid the problems without really any sacrifice at all. His writing was a cathartic experience for himself, but as he continued to organize and review his thoughts, he formed an outline which made his writing look very similar in structure to a book on personal financial management, even though it was not his intent to write a book in the first place.
I encouraged him that he had a great story to tell and that others would benefit from it. Like Professor Harper, he was questioning what authority he had that would allow him to produce something of merit. Frankly, he had a great set of lessons that others could and should learn from, openly, candidly, and passionately presented in a riveting manner that made for great reading, some (self deprecating) humor, and a real education for the potential reader. As one of the Fairfax editors who initially reviewed "Still Stupid at Sixty" said, "This is riveting and well written - and everyone loves learning from someone else train wreck!"
It took some convincing Stevens that he should publish the book, but as of a week ago, "Still Stupid at Sixty" has been published in electronic format in the Amazon Kindle store and is doing very well and getting great reviews.
Both Harper and Stevens have powerful messages to convey and that provides them the authority to publish their stories. I by comparison, enjoy a good glass of wine and enjoy talking about it, which for me, is authority enough! Therefore, I will continue blogging!