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What Legacy Are You Leaving Behind?

Jul

25

What Legacy Are You Leaving Behind?

What’s Your Motivation For Writing Your Book?

About a month ago I ordered a book called “Human Nature” by Thomas Boston. It’s a spiritual book and it was originally published in 1729, but I believe the version I have was published in 1800. 

Thomas Boston was a minister who spent most of his life in Scotland. He passed away in 1732 or 1733. 

Why did I buy the book and why am I sharing this with you?

A couple of reasons… Lately, I’ve been so intrigued by the power of documenting our own lives in a written manner. I’m interested in how we can document our stories, wisdom, and values in such a way that it can live on for literally hundreds of years, just like Thomas Boston’s “Human Nature.” 

His book is actually available on Amazon right now which kind of blew my mind that it’s still in print. I personally wanted a more original version so I can read it in a way that is similar to how it was originally published. 

I know I spend an enormous amount of time talking about how we can get media and PR, how we can profit from our books, etc., but today I want to talk about how one’s book can potentially make a difference for future generations. 

We’ve published over 500 books at Best Seller Publishing. I was talking to my team this morning about how 200 years from now someone could be holding one of those books and talking to their friends, family, audience, etc. about the wisdom they’ve found in it and what they’ve gained from reading it. 

I think that adds a sense of responsibility as well as this sense of power and encouragement to actually get our books done.

I received one other thing in the mail today, which I didn’t even know was coming… 

Two of my clients, Mark, and Chris, who are brothers, own a company called Coral Partners and they are literally two of the most renowned treasure hunters in the world. 

We did a book for them on treasure hunting and in that book, they shared a story from one of their finds in which they discovered a wreck from the Ming Dynasty, which existed between the 13th to early 17th centuries. 

I asked if I could purchase something from the wreck and they were kind enough to gift me a teacup. I have a teacup from the Ming Dynasty that is in perfect condition and actually still has the period stamp from over 600 years ago. 

To think that this teacup has this incredible legacy is so fascinating to me. It makes me think about the kind of impact we can have on people’s lives not only today but possibly for years to come. 

There’s a New York Times article that surveyed adult Americans and found that roughly eight out of ten people want to write a book, but less than 1% ever get it done. 

A client of mine called Stan Miller is an attorney and owns estateplanning.com. He helps other attorneys build their estate planning practices so they can transition their wealth. He’s had wonderful success. 

His latest book is about legacy and we sat down to have a conversation about that topic. He focuses on helping people prepare to transition their wealth from generation to the next. 

It made me think about my financial situation. As a parent, I’m not just saving for my retirement but I’m also saving and investing in the hopes that I’ll have something to pass on to my children. When the time comes, I want to be able to pass my wealth onto my children. 

In his book, Stan talks about how as estate planning attorneys, they’re helping people transfer their wealth, but often after a generation or so, that wealth is often squandered. It goes to pay for the college education of a grandchild, or to pay off the home of a family member, etc. 

Ideally, the wealth will be taken care of so it will grow, but after a couple of generations, those people who initially passed down their wealth can be forgotten. Their wisdom, story, and values are lost in time. 

So Stan came up with the idea that the purpose of his book is not only to help estate planners, but it could also help people understand the value in passing along the wealth of their wisdom and knowledge in addition to their financial wealth. 

I thought that was absolutely brilliant. 

He said he wanted to add a chapter in the book about the need for people to write and document their stories and wisdom in a book so it can be passed on to grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. 

At many of my events, I talk about a distant relative of mine: Simeon Kosberg. My family came to America from Russia at the turn of the 19th century. 

Simeon Kosberg was one of the prime people involved in the Russian space race. He was awarded a Russian Medal of Valor and there’s a statue of him at the aeronautical institute in Moscow. He died under kind of mysterious circumstances in his early 60’s, but he never wrote anything. Or if he did, it was never passed on. 

There are no stories from him, no bits of wisdom, but I wish there were. I would love to read something from him. I can only imagine what he had to say about his life and his experiences. 

I know I’ll never have a statue of myself, but I believe that we should take the opportunities we have to document our stories, values, and wisdom more seriously so we can pass it on. 

My challenge to anyone reading this is…

  1. If you haven’t written your book yet, write it.

This is your opportunity. There’s no better time to start than now. 

  1. When you do write your book, of course, you want to make sure it meets the needs of your audience, but it’s equally as important to interject your own stories and values because it’s your book. 

Sometimes we may feel the Kim Kardashian conundrum, which is that we don’t want to write our autobiography because no one knows who we are. No one wants to read the autobiography of someone who’s not famous, right? 

Wrong. 

Family, friends, children, grandchildren, and even someone who may come across your book 100 years from now would be interested in hearing your story, what you believe, and what you value. 

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