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Friday, May 17, 2013

Author Interview – Michael Nir

7:00 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

How did you come up with the title? This is a story in itself. The original title was given to the book in Hebrew about three years ago and does not resemble at all the English title. You could imagine that books in Hebrew don’t have a very wide audience. Therefore I hired a book PR agent to help me with spreading the word and promoting the book. Unfortunately, the book didn’t do very well, and as it was a hard copy print I had several boxes lying around. When I decided to translate the book I thought that the direct translation of the title wouldn’t do justice to the book.

I was pondering what a good title should be like, as it so happened at the time I was training in Frankfurt Germany. I was sitting down for a beer at a very old and rustic beer garden with my good friend Ralf. Ralf was listening to my ideas of book titles which he trashed one by one and came up with the title: Silent Influencing. I really liked it and I thought it conveyed the essence of the book. That is how the title was born. In retrospect, while I really like this title, it is not lend itself to SEO optimization and Google searching, hey, we can’t have them all.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Yes, even writing business books, I include references to my life experiences and interactions with friends and colleagues in my case studies. As I was reading my children Karma Wilsons’ books about bears, I saw the opportunity to include references to these books to my keynote about influence without authority and later to the book. Silent Influencing – the book is based on my life experiences and interactions that I have been having ever since childhood. Actually, I don’t think it’s possible to write a self-help motivation book without first examining, exercising, and using it on oneself; in that sense silent influencing summarizes a lot of my beliefs, understanding and knowhow from my personal life experiences.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I travel much! As I’m traveling I usually have the peace of mind necessary to think about a book. I really like to write the table of contents and topics while flying. I find the constant hum of the engines, and the distance from daily interruptions useful to collect my thoughts and concentrate on the essence of the book.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Yes, definitely. Am planning to write a few more books this year and actually have declared this decade of my life as a decade of writing. My last book was somewhere between self-help, motivation and leadership. The next book will be a business book discussing project management and specifically agile project management. Usually I find an area of concern, challenge or a topic that has many issues around, and I base my book on that.

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I read a lot. Lately I’ve been reading novels. I’m reading the Scarlet Pimpernel, think it is over 100 years old, I also think that I had read it more than 20 years ago. It’s a very good novel about an interesting period of the French Revolution. For me, when reading novels that had been written many years ago, it is always interesting to witness the various cultural accepted behaviors at the time that the novel was written compared to what we are accepting today.

A while back I read Shackleton’s diary about his journey through the ice in Antarctica. It is an uplifting account of how Sir Ernst Shackleton saved his men after their ship – the Endurance – was crushed by the ice and they were left stranded floating on ice packs north of Antarctica. It is a mesmerizing tale of leadership facing insurmountable hardships and unfathomable circumstances.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? Amazon Amazon Amazon! Definitely the best tool there is out there to publish your books. I had been skeptical of success using the Internet to market books and have people buy them, I stand corrected. With Amazon and Kindle I am able to publish a book, market as well, collect payments and create an identity on the Internet. Once your book is out there, Fiverr is really helpful in creating covers, finding proofreaders, and receiving help to market your book. With Fiverr it is easy to find sellers who will for merely five dollars help you market using social networks, Twitter, specific book sites, and a plethora of other tools.

Do you have any advice for writers? Write on what is close to your heart, on topics in the region of your field of expertise, on things that you care about, on issues that upset you and that you like to mend and correct. Make a plan, accept that the plan changes and usually does. It seems that there is not much to invent in many Genres, rather innovative and contemporary writing is all about being able to synthesize data in a distinctive approach and present information clearly and in a structured manner to your readers.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? In the last 10 years we’ve been experiencing an explosion in computer-based human interactions. Computers are everywhere and they enable our interactive virtual life. Part of the sci-fi movies that we’ve been watching over the years has come to be; less face-to-face interaction, more usage of smart phones and portable interactive devices. Through them we have more virtual communities, social networks and the like. It is neither good nor bad, it just the reality, or rather the virtual reality.

However, we humans are social interactive animals, lest we forget: true collaboration and real interaction arises from a face-to-face, here and now, uninterrupted encounter. This is also true in business settings, trust is usually built in face-to-face communications, conflict is better managed this way, and commitment is better received when two individuals or team of individuals interacts in a real face-to-face environment. As we witness more virtual environment, those who know how to gain trust and build positive rapport in face-to-face collaborative interactions will have the upper hand.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Mountain biking, cooking, and sleeping, usually in that specific order. I started out mountain biking about 12 years ago and became hooked about two years ago, I am now cuckoo on mountain biking. Actually it has become a necessary fix about three or four times a week. This happened as we moved to a more hilly area where there are many trails specifically single trails, which are narrow, steep and rocky. I also enjoy cooking very much, I find it very innovative, the ability to imagine how something would taste and then creating that something and eating it, is loads of fun. Last but not least, sleeping is an all time favorite, especially afternoon naps which are invigorating and recharging. I like to work at night when it’s all quiet and I can focus, the afternoon naps enable me to stay sharp at night.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? Only one bit? Can we settle for three? Okay okay, I will go for only one: acceptance is probably the most important yet also the least recognized capacity for change. Acceptance of who we are and what we’re able to accomplish, acceptance of what we want here and now, acceptance of the situations we are in, acceptance of our families and friends, and general acceptance of our life. It is amazing to see that in order to change situations and predicaments we must first accept them.

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Genre – Self-Help

Rating – G

More details about the author & the book

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