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One lesson I’ve learned from writing and observation of survival of books…

One lesson I’ve learned from writing and observation of survival of books. As I am writing “Skin in the Game”: I keep being asked “what is it about?’ it should not be about what one expects “skin in the game” to be about, otherwise fughedaboudit. It should have more texture. The book is (vaguely) about belief, religion, opacity, survivorship, the inability to communicate the verbalistic without distortion, and, of course, on the manifestations of the difference between theory and practice. The only limitation is subtopics already covered in the INCERTO.

The lesson came from Fooled by Randomness, now entering its 15 years. But it was finished in 1998 and I could not find a publisher (not even an agent) and the unknown pub house who took it accepted my literary terms against reduced financial ones (the publisher went bust and I republished with RH). Most sent me a form: 1) “What is the book about?”, 2) “Who is it for?”, 3) List “other “similar” books”. In fact the form works very well for newspaper articles or short scientific monographs (at best), never what deserves to be called books.

Their rejections mentioned: 1) lacks in focus (not enough finance, too much philosophy and “stories”), 2) does not have “regressions” to support ideas, 3) author confuses reader with the mixing of true and fictional characters such as Nero Tulip, 4) digresses away from what they thought was “main topic”, 5) Talks too much about randomness and not enough about investment strategies, 6) “will never sell more than a few copies”, etc. One imbecile wanted a discussion of Alan Greespan’s policies. But mostly publishers could not crystallize the idea, which they perceived as a problem.

via One lesson I’ve learned from writing and… – Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

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