, , ,

Singapore motivational speakers, public speaking and writing books all seem to go hand-in-hand.

In Singapore, it is now fashionable for public speakers to write a book to add to their credentials, which go something like this: “John Tan, MA, BSc, Certified Masterclass Instructor, Published Author” In the old days, the credentials stopped at university qualifications but now, “Published Author” seems an imperative. It lends an aura of subject matter expertise.

The books are usually given away free to people who attend the talks/seminars conducted by these speakers. Most times, the books add value for participants. And they are a very welcomed bonus. I’ve received and read many such books and found them revealing.

However, like all great initiatives and innovations, there is a dark side to this trend.

I once received a private message from one of these “authors”, who is a self-styled “motivational speaker”.

Her message was, and I paraphrase, she is a “published author” and would like to give a “free talk” to my group of authors on “writing and book publishing” – writing and book publishing. Now, I’ve been in the game long enough to know that this is a ploy – free talk – to reach a target group. At the end of the “free talk” there will be a sales pitch to sign up for her paid “motivational talk”. I’ve no problems with this approach.

However, she stretched the truth, almost bordering on lies.

  1. True, she is a “published author” – she probably wrote one chapter in a 21 chapter book, a book that I’m familiar with in ways she probably did not suspect. Each chapter was written by a different author.
  1. The book publisher was one of the contributing authors who handled the A to Z of publishing and launching the book. I therefore wonder how much she knows about the “publishing” aspect of the business.
  1. And I said she “probably” wrote that chapter because, I’d ghost-written one of the chapters in the very same book for a client. That’s how I came to sit in the audience as each author came on during the book launch to make their spill. She had collected my card at the event and that’s how she contacted me.

Most business people have their works ghost written – no issues there. I enjoy ghost writing as it adds to my knowledge of new fascinating industries. I love especially public speakers who are genuine and reach out to help others. In ghostwriting and editing works, I’ve met many such generous souls. They are a gift to people struggling to do better in career, business and life.

However, after writing one chapter, to set oneself up as some expert in writing and book publishing – expert enough to give a talk to a group of aspiring writers – is questionable.

All it does is bring into ill repute the claimed mastery of her core business. How much does she really know about “motivation”? She might be an expert but I’m left to wonder.


Here is a video that would better expand on my reply to Ian Grice’s comment below. 15 July 2016