On a post on LinkedIn (1 September 2023) which featured the image below, I said,
It has been a productive 20 years, don’t you agree?
Kathryn Belcher commented on the post. She said,
Most impressive! Now you know I’m curious… What has surprised you the most after authoring so many works?
That’s an interesting question! Here was my reply:
Hi Kathryn. Thank you. What surprised me most? That I authored so many books! When I write a book, I don’t think about how many others I have written or how many I should write. It’s just “one at a time” and then, over time one turns into many. Another surprise was how my interests are less aligned with mainstream Lean interests than I had thought, even starting with the Shingo award-winning book Better Thinking, Better Results. Many of my books focus on systems in one way or another, but the audience is less interested in that and much more interested in tools. Another surprise, a big surprise, actually, was how little overall interest there is in knowing, at a deep level, why Lean transformation is so difficult to achieve and why most leaders strongly prefer classical management. Those long-in-coming revelations have generated little community interest in finding new and creative countermeasures to try. Overall, I sought to answer questions that people had, but maybe the questions they had were more akin to musings than an actual desire for answers. Nevertheless, the books are there for people now or in the future if the locus of popular interest someday shifts in my direction.
To that I can add another couple of surprises, which was how easily I was able to write so much. Sure, it is partly the result of over 40 years of writing practice. But, additionally, I had always been good at writing essays in grade school. What I wrote came out pretty good and hardly needed any editing. Once I start writing, it is quick work for me, not long, frustrating, or laborious. That has remained true for all these years.
In hindsight, I’m surprised how curious I have been. But again, this goes way back to my childhood. So maybe it is my perseverance that is surprising, more than curiosity, or the combination of the two.
The final thing that really surprises me is that I get very little negative feedback on any of my books. It has always been overwhelmingly positive, even from career academics, which I find strange because, after so much writing, the odds are that I have gotten a few — perhaps many — things wrong. I suppose time will tell if my mistakes were few or many.