This June, I signed a deal with Viking (Penguin) to publish my third book, on Onlyness. My son desperately wanted it shared with you, the Yes & Know community. Maybe he has picked up that everything become more real when you share them? When I said it seemed better to wait until the deal sheet was completed, he created a deal sheet for us.
But, first, some details. “Onlyness: Make Your Ideas Powerful Enough to Dent the World” will show how anyone can make a real dent in the world without the backing of powerful people or belonging to an organization… but by tapping into their deepest passions, enlisting allies, and galvanizing others to act as one. While it references social technologies, the point is not on the tools but on how people get things done. This book will be stories of real people making a dent and letting their story provide a guiding light for the rest of us. It’ll also include “car crash” stories because sometimes we can learn best by watching and seeing what not to do.
When Publishers Weekly announced the deal yesterday, they said Rick Kot nabbed my book. And I’ve never been so happy to be nabbed. Viking Executive Editor Kot has edited some epic works, including Give and Take by Adam Grant, Barbarians at the Gate, Getting to Yes, Andrew Sorkins’ Too Big To Fail, and Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start. And, also, Aretha Franklin’s autobiography. His span of works cover the venn diagram of Onlyness: economics/capitalism, operational art, and real-life stories. I’m grateful to have him and Viking behind this work. (Plus, there’s a whole hat / helmut thing that now has to be explored.)
In 2012, I wrote about wanting to dig deeper, being a Morgan Freeman voice in a Justin Beiber world. While probably too ambitious-stated, doing this book is that opportunity to sink deeply into the idea of Onlyness. I’ve already framed the thesis of how power is changing through Onlyness, in the 11 Rules of the Social Era. Now I’m going to focus on the stories of people embodying it. In some ways, I know exactly what it is I’m looking for, but I think the real joy of a big project like this is to follow curiosity and wonder to find and hear new stories, to figure things out anew. To, explore. To be a fellow explorer with you. Perhaps that’ll mean get lost, before finding the path back again.
There are so many challenges in the world (from saving our environment, to addressing patriarchy, to keeping the web open and free, to reforming education to be relevant for the 21st century, reinventing health care, and so on) and the stories of people around the world who have set their minds to addressing these seemingly impossible ideas are the ones I’m chasing. If you are interested in how the least powerful among us can earn a seat at the table, join in. I’m hoping you can help me to find the people, to learn from them, and with any luck tell their stories well so we can all learn, together. If we’re going to navigate and thrive in these modern times, the social era, we’re going to have to find the trailblazers amongst us.
So, that’s where you come in. You or someone you know – should they be in the book? Can you start thinking of people that I should know of that demonstrate the idea that “connected individuals are doing what once only large organizations could through the power of onlyness”? I’ll share more details of specifics to look for as I get into each chapter by sharing stories I’ve already discovered. But feel free to share ideas at this point in the comments. I won’t be blogging this book actively like I did the last one, but I’m hoping you’ll be up this journey and as excited by it as I am.
*Oh, and a p.s. re: rentrèe. I moved to Paris from Silicon Valley, over the summer with the family. Fall just arrived, immensely beautiful and untamed. Two weeks ago, people were wearing summer dresses and sandals…. basically, as little as possible because it was so darn hot and humid. And, what seems like the next day … the weather changed, and it’s boots and scarves, and the crunch of leaves underfoot in the Tuileries Garden. The rested, rejuvenated Parisians are a sight to see. Back from “les vacances”, they are wearing their new fall clothes, but still-bronzed from their time in the South of France on the plage (beaches). If you do get a chance to come to/through Paris, I am still doing regular walkntalks, but now along the Siene. (Just email back to the emails you get as a subscriber). And on the personal side of the living abroad, my son and I are periodically sharing about the experience on a site called: Chez-soi.us (which translates to ‘our place’) if you have any interest in following along.