The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight to Impact + Wealth

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This passionate expertise manifesto is intended to elevate the impact of advisors who sell insight as entrepreneurs. Three foundational chapters form the basis of the entire book: experts develop insight by isolating patterns in data; they convert those insights to wealth by crafting a unique positioning for which few available substitutes exist; and their confidence grows as the marketplace embraces their application of expertise. The next fifteen chapters–building on that foundation–each answer a single question, starting with the role of expertise in a developed society, how important it is for experts to love the hard work required to hone their expertise, and how to see all that in the context of their own purpose in the world. We pause to dig deeper by examining the very narrow overlap between expertise and entrepreneurship: the narrow slice of humanity for which this book was written, with a nod to how easy it is for those entrepreneurial experts to be pulled off mission to explore new things. What are the critical positioning mistakes to avoid? Are there helpful ways to keep your deep, narrow expertise from blinding you to a broader, wider relevance? How might you frame your expertise in horizontal or vertical terms or a combination of both? There are core principles for this and they start with distinguishing between strategy and implementation. What are the earlier and then later tests to validate your positioning? What are the most effective ways to demonstrate your expertise, and conversely the activities most important to avoid? If you are an entrepreneurial expert selling advice for a living, you ll absorb deeper and deeper insight each time you scour it. It emerges from the trenches, and is written for experts in the trenches. Following the three foundational chapters (A, B, C) that open the book, there are fifteen chapters that build on that: The Role of Expertise in a Developed Society; The Interplay Between Expertise and Fulfillment; The Why for Your Entrepreneurial Expertise; Combining Expertise and Entrepreneurship; The Relevance and Sustainability of Expertise; Positioning Mistakes and Why We Make Them; Practicing Expertise Within a Broader Context; Distinguishing Between Vertical and Horizontal Expertise; Principles for the Less Exchangeable Positioning of Expertise; Distinguishing Expertise from Implementation; Five Early Tests for the Positioning of Your Expertise; Demonstrating Expertise; Not Demonstrating Expertise; How Expertise Unfolds: A Recap; and The Long Game: Maintaining Relevant Expertise. The book is fully illustrated in color, is a hardback (case bound), and has a full-color dust jacket.


From the Publisher

The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight to Impact + Wealth

david c. bakerdavid c. baker

David C. Baker

David is an author, speaker, and advisor, helping entrepreneurial experts make better business decisions. He grew up with a tribe of Mayan Indians in the highlands of Guatemala, has worked in 30 countries, and visited many more. He lives in Nashville.

helicopter/airplane pilot

taught motorcycle riding/racing

adventure photographer

fine woodworker

Courage + Intelligence

…are unstoppable forces for experts

If you sell your thinking for a living, you’ll get engrossed in this manifesto about monetizing your ability to notice patterns in your client work and then guide clients to greater success:

Pattern-matching is the foundation of intelligence and you’re already good at it.

Effective pattern-matching comes from seeing similar situations with clients and comparing the results.

Courageous positioning is what puts you smack dab in the middle of those repeatable scenarios.

the business of expertise by david c. bakerthe business of expertise by david c. baker

by RockBench Publishing Corp.

released in July, 2017

Hardback | Kindle | Audible

Print: 978-1-60544-060-6

Kindle: 978-1-60544-062-0

Audible: 978-1-60544-064-4

Full-color

Illustrated throughout

Pages: 266

Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches

Here’s how the chapters unfold:

Foundation Chapter A, B, + C

Experts develop insight by capturing the data from the patterns that they notice. They convert that insight to wealth and impact by building it on a positioning for which few available substitutes exist. And their confidence grows as the marketplace embraces their application of expertise.

Chapters 1-16

The book looks at the role of expertise in a developed society, the interplay between expertise and fulfilment, and the ‘why’ for your entrepreneurial expertise. After looking at how to combine expertise and entrepreneurship, we look at the relevance and sustainability of expertise in the long run, how to avoid positioning mistakes, and how to practice expertise in a broader context. From there, vertical vs. horizontal expertise is explained, as well as the core principles for making your expertise less interchangeable–particularly by distinguishing it from implementation. Then five pre-tests and four post-tests of positioning are explained, along with some tips for how to act and not act like an expert.

Dan PinkDan Pink

Dan Pink, author of ‘Drive’ and ‘To Sell is Human’

Genuine expertise has become more valuable then ever–and in this smart and timely book, David talks frankly about how to leverage your own expertise into a sustainable business. This book is essential reading for entrepreneurs in any field.

Kirkus ReviewsKirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Baker (Managing (Right) for the First Time , 2010, etc.) targets an audience inhabiting the ‘narrow overlap between entrepreneurship and expertise,’ that is, individuals and firms providing insight and advice to others for pay.

He opens with three ‘foundational’ chapters that summarize how expertise flows from focus, how greater proficiency makes a consultant less interchangeable with others, and how precise positioning can achieve a ‘price premium.’

Sixteen short but information-packed chapters follow, fleshing out these themes in detail. Baker explores many issues that confront advisers, from self-confidence and work fulfillment to managing client relationships and maintaining relevance over the long term. Each chapter advances his argument that proper positioning is the key to success. He draws relevant illustrations from his decades of experience and offers pointed questions and concrete metrics that readers can use to assess their situations. Throughout, he urges consultants to make ‘courageous’ decisions to narrow and deepen their knowledge rather than holding themselves out as capable of tackling any assignment. He emphasizes the power of saying ‘no’ and recommends keeping a ‘getting to ‘know’ ‘ list of subject matter gaps to research and master.

Baker’s writing reflects the approach he counsels. His tone is confident and authoritative yet tempered with self-deprecating humor. He projects an insouciant command of numerous topics without sounding like a know-it-all. His deep thinking on the subject manifests in clear, succinct prose and measured wit that make the reading easy and enjoyable (‘Charge your batteries so that you can do the hard work…and put a hard hat on because some of this work is painful’). Chapters move briskly, and he is particularly nimble with transitions that orient the reader and enhance orderly flow.

Despite the book’s focus on consulting agencies, other professionals who provide expertise or whose livelihoods rely on it–physicians, scientists, writers, etc.–should find relevant and useful ideas.

Since ‘Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung’ appeared in 1964, numerous authors and designers have emulated its color and small format in hopes of becoming ‘the little red book’ in their categories. This compact, illustrated volume makes a strong bid to become the standard-bearer on selling expertise.

A must-read for entrepreneurial experts that also will have a broad appeal for other professionals.

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