A Theory of the Universe of Nonfiction Books (And the Art of Creative Theft)

Most nonfiction books follow one of two predictable structures. When you know what these are, you can choose the one that works best for the information you want to present — and avoid having to re-write your book (a painful lesson Jeff learned recently).

The two main structures we cover in today’s episode are how most non-fiction books are written. The structures are “stolen,” whether the authors know it or not.

We all steal. We don’t mean to, but we pick up influences all around us like a sponge picks up soapy water. And that, dear listener, may be the secret to your success as an author. Absorbing ideas from your life is bound to influence your work — it should influence your work.

In this episode, Jeff and Pamela share their theories on ‘creative borrowing,’ and how choosing between the two main structures most nonfiction books follow can help you create a better, more cohesive presentation.

In this episode Jeff Goins and Pamela Wilson discuss:

  • Why creating in a vacuum is a really bad idea
  • Jeff’s obsession with structure, and what it taught him
  • Why art is richer when it’s composed with some familiar elements
  • Pamela’s LEGO analogy for the creative process

The Show Notes