Would You Behave Like A Prick If You Knew That There’d Be A Book Written About You?

It was with great interest I read this post a few weeks ago. The blogger confronted me with the question: “Would people still behave like total pricks – or prickesses – if they knew that there would be a book written about them after they kick the bucket?”.

This question, however strange it is, is a very confronting one.  If you knew for sure that there’d be a book written about you, would you want it to tell how you wasted your life on stupid things and let others down and was basically a total prick – or prickess? And would you want it to say that you were a drunk, a slob or a slut, and lay on the couch all day watching trash on the box? So that the people, who would be reading the book about you, would think: what a jerk, a total waste of space. I wish I didn’t even bother to read this crap. Better tell the others to avoid it.

If you knew for sure that there’d be a book written about you, would you want it to tell how you wasted your life on stupid things?

Now imagine this question is not about you but about your company. What if someone started writing the book of your company, would it be a good, thrilling story? Is your company the best it could be? Truth is, the book on your company is being written as we speak. On the blogs your company is mentioned, your own blog/website, your Facebook fan- and hate-pages, fora… . This is frightening for most companies (honestly, there aren’t many companies coping well with social media). Only a few years ago, the CEO decided which parts of the story were told, nowadays, everyone writes what they want.

The book on your company is being written as we speak.

How could you turn this in your advantage? Instead of writing your own book (or trying to influence or manage those who write things about your company), encourage your employees and co-workers to write the book as honestly as possible. Make it open and visible for everyone. Read your own story every now and then, see where you failed and how you can fix that. See why others joined your quest (or company, they’re basically the same), what their struggles are, why they joined… .

Once your story is being written, you might feel more courage to take that one bold decision, employees could be more engaged and basically everyone involved somewhere in your story might feel more important (and therefore be more productive, positive,…). The constant reminder that someone’s writing your story might just give you (or your company) the push it needed.


About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.


  1. Pingback: Storytelling with Social Media « Bambusa Solutions

  2. Excellent post! I had been brewing a post about social media usage over the last couple of weeks. You inspired me to finish it.

  3. Pingback: On slow communication | Keep the game, change the rules

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